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Utkarsh Sharma Takes On The Nepotism Debate

Subhash K . Jha

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Whether Kangna Ranaut likes it or not, Bollywood and the Hindi movie-going audience is all set to introduce another actor from a film family this week in Anil Sharma’s Genius.

24-year old Utkarsh Sharma is veteran producer-director Anil Sharma’s son. Sorted and sensible, the young wannabe star minces no words in defending his debut. “I really wanted to make my debut with a film outside my home production since the debate on nepotism rages on. But when this opportunity came my way it was too tempting to resist just because some people would throw the ‘N’ bomb at my father and me.”

The proud son has seen all of his father’s films. “Even those that were made before I was born. My favourite film directed by my dad is Hukumat. He is identified with rugged action films starring Dharmendraji and Sunny Deolji. But I was surprised to know he started his career with a sensitive film like Shradhanjali.”

Utkarsh is okay with being accused of falling into the nepotism debate as long as his debut as a leading man is accepted by the audience.

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“I play a RAW agent. My character’s life story stretched from age 17 to 24. And it is one of the most interesting characters I’ve come across for an actor my age,” Utkarsh says with sincerity.

Interestingly the role was written for a much older actor. “Yes, it was going to be played by an established actor, around 40 years old. Then it was changed and offered to me. I immediately accepted it.”

Not that it was a cakewalk on the sets of Genius for young Utkarsh. “It wasn’t as though I was given special treatment on the sets. In fact, I had to work doubly hard since it was my father’s film. But the hard work has all been worth it. I am happy I’m making my debut with Genius, and not any other film.”

To be pitched against a seasoned scene stealer like Nawazuddin Siddiqui in his very first film couldn’t be easy for a newcomer. But Utkarsh was fine with the challenge. “The whole idea of being in front of the camera is to work with people who can bring out the best in you. And Nawaz Sir and Mithun Sir (Chakraborty) with their experience wisdom and skills as an actor have already added some vibrant strokes to my performing abilities. I couldn’t have asked for better co-stars,” says Utkarsh who had Sunny Deol as his co-star in his first film.

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“That was so long ago. Yes, everyone knows I played Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel’s son in my father’s biggest hit Gadar. It was Amisha, on whom I had a crush, who suggested I play the role. My father couldn’t find another child who was the right fit. So I got the role by default. It wasn’t easy, believe me. I had to jump over trains and perform some very difficult action scenes. I guess I learned acting wasn’t easy when I was a child,” laughs the debutant just days away from his debut as a leading man.

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  Nawazuddin : “I Regret Only Those 5 Pages Of My Memoirs”

Subhash K . Jha

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui looks back on  the experience of writing his memoirs with some regret .

The  uproar caused by  the unflattering mention of two ladies with whom Nawazuddin was  allegedly involved, prompted Nawazuddin’s publishers  to withdraw his memoirs An Ordinary Life from the  book shelves.

Nawaz says he’s done with telling his story. “The entire motive  of  the  endeavour was turned  on  its head. I wanted  to put my story forward so that  others  from small towns with big dreams could follow in my footsteps. How was  I to know that 5 pages  of  the  book would  kill the  impact  of  my  entire effort? The  book had 209 pages. Only 5 of those pages were written about  over and over again.”

Nawaz  deeply regrets naming the women he  allegedly dated. “It was  not in good taste to  name the ladies. But I  didn’t know  any better. I was  only trying to tell the  truth.”

The actor par excellence  says he’s done  with telling his  story. “Now if I ever  write my memoirs, say  30-40 years from now, I will only tell lies in it.The truth is  not palatable to everybody.”

Nawaz  was also in  the  news earlier  this  year for allegedly  breaking into his  wife’s  Call Detail Record on her  phone.

In a rare moment of  candour he  finally opens up on the  issue. “It was never what  it was made out to be. There are  so many things  that are said and done to someone who becomes successful in life.I can’t explain any more . But all I’ll say is,my wife and I are very happy together.If that makes some people unhappy, what can I do?”

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Shahid Kapoor’s No Shirt Clause

SKJ News Bureau

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 If you’ve seen the pathbreaking Telugu film  Arjun Reddy you would know that the film’s rudderless out-of-control drugged and  zonked-out protagonist who will no longer be called  ‘Reddy’ in the Hindi version  (Kapoor?)  spends  a lot of time  in the film without his shirt .

 Apparently  Shahid Kapoor who is  playing the  titular role has now put an embargo on the  number  of  times he would go shirtless  in  the  film.

Says a  source, “Shahid feels going bare-backed distracts  from the performance. He  is looking at focusing  on his performance, and  ensuring  that the audience does the same.He has made it very clear that he wouldn’t be stripping down as often as  the original Arjun.”

A bigger problem  would be  how to create a difference between the  character he  plays in Arjun Reddy and  the one he played  in Abhishek  Choubey’s Udta Punjab. In both Shahid is drugged-out borderline psychotic likely to  trip over the edge at  any  given  moment.  Shahid is  now looking at playing ‘Arjun Reddy’ at a totally different pitch  from  Tommy Singh in Arjun Reddy. “At the moment  even the two characters’ beards are similar,” says  a  source .

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How Padmaavat ,0ctober and Raazi lost The Oscar Race to Village Rockstars the inside story

Subhash K . Jha

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Shoojit Sircar’s October nearly made it as India’s official entry to the Oscars and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat  “didn’t stand a chance in hell ,” reveals an insider .

Spilling the beans on the creative processes that underlined the Oscar selection the insider reveals that the four finalists shortlisted for the honour were Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi,Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmavat,Shoojit Sircar’s October and  Rima Das’ Assamese independent film Village Rockstars.
According to the insider here is why Village Rockstars beat the other 3  films in the Oscar race : “Rima Das’ film was the one which waa the most original fresh and moving. Raazi seemed somewhat pro-Pakistan by some jury members.As for Padmavat it was a fatally  flawed script and some more of the same period costume dramas Bhasali  has been doing ad nauseam. October came closest to Village Rockstars in making it to the Oscars.But the script has been charged with plagiarism and the Oscars committee did not want a replay of last year’s tamaasha”
Last year the Raj Kumar Rao starrer Newton made it to the Oscars but plagiarism allegations had surfaced thereafter.
Newton did not make it into the coveted Oscars nomination for Best Foreign Film.And it is unlikely that Village Rockstars would make it into the Oscars shortlist .Like the Newton team the Village Rockstars team has no financial resources for the heavy two month lobbying required for Oscar nomination in Los Angeles.

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