Superstar Salman Khan might not have launched director Anil Sharma's son Utkarsh Sharma in Bollywood, but the youngster says that while being on the set of the Salman-starrer "Veer: An Epic Love Story of a Warrior", he witnessed "this magical thing" that helped him take up acting as a career.
Utkarsh started his acting journey as a child actor with "Gadar: Ek Prem Katha". He didn't take up any other acting project after that, but he chose to assist his father on "Veer...".
So when did he decide to be an actor?
"Around the time when I was assisting dad in 'Veer...'. Salman Khan was performing. I used to see this magical thing. He was super calm and relaxed. But when the camera got turned on, he would transform into someone else... almost like a personality shift. That used to fascinate me a lot.
"Around that time, I decided that I wanted to do this. The idea of living many lives in one life can only happen through acting. That's when I decided (to be an actor)," Utkarsh, now 24, told IANS in a telephonic interview from Mumbai.
His first film was helmed by his father and so is his forthcoming movie "Genius". Didn't he fear that people would say that he got a chance to be an actor because of nepotism?
"I had anticipated that much earlier. Even when I was in 'Gadar...', people used to comment that I might have got the role because I am from a film family. So I always knew that this thing will stick with me, no matter what.
"I know so many people that my father had launched, apart from me. Be it Urvashi Rautela or Priyanka Chopra, there was one thing common in all of them. They had put in a lot of hard work, determination and perseverance which is why they are successful today.
"So, I knew that if I had come prepared and if I come in as an actor and not as a hero, that will help me gain respect. This is my passion and I am just following that. I happen to be from this family," said the actor, who studied filmmaking and acting in Los Angeles.
During his stay in the US, he got to work in plays and short films.
"I tried to work in a different culture before pursuing my career here. I wanted to learn technical stuff there. I don't just love acting, but also every aspect of filmmaking," he said.
"Sometimes we wonder why Indian filmmakers are not able to match up to Hollywood standards. I wanted to see if there was a cultural difference that actually played a role. What I understood was that emotions are universal. There is nothing like my acting is too 'Bollywoody' or Indian.
"If my emotion was truthful, they connected with it. If it was fake, they didn't connect. It was like my playground. I wanted to explore myself there."
And now, he is eagerly waiting how the audience would respond to "Genius", which is slated to release on August 24.
Is he planning to feature in all his father's films?
"No. That's not the plan. I want to work with as many filmmakers as possible. Every director has a unique way of expressing himself or herself. I hope I can be their voice," said Utkarsh.