I could never understand how successful producer’s son could claim that he had “struggled” to get his first movie. Reading this fact in most of Jackky Bhagnani’s interviews made absolutely no sense to me. But, little did I know that the son of ace producer Vashu Bhagnani has had to dance to a completely different beat altogether. His debut film, Kal Kisne Dekha, is coming close to release, and as I was going to find out, Bhagnani Jr. has had to face challenges in various forms before he was considered worthy of being displayed on the big screen. Sincerity reeks from the young man, but more importantly, gracious and film savvy, he is not afraid of hard work. He may be new to acting, but films run through his blood. This newcomer is about to be part of the contemporary actors brigade only to give them additional competition. BollySpice caught up with Jackky Bhagnani to talk struggles, acting and producing.
The promo’s are out and the movie looks top notch. What is your role like in Kal Kisne Dekha?
My role in Kal Kisne Dekha is of a middle class boy who comes from a small town in Chandigarh to the city of dreams which is Mumbai, to fulfill all his dream of studying at his dream college. He has a special power due to which he falls into a lot of problems and how he overcomes that and in the long run changes from a boy to a man. It’s the story of an underdog who is very innocent, middle class and how he faces challenges.
Great! How did you prepare for your role?
I prepared for two months with the director, Vivek Sharma. Obviously, I’m a guy from Mumbai and it was a little tough for me to sober and tone down in terms of dressing, in terms of behavior. So he told me how to behave because he comes from a small town. He explained to me how people are very innocent; believe in things and people at face value. They are not manipulative. That innocence should show. In other aspects, in terms of nature, he is very much like me, very full of life, hyper, bubbly, cannot sit in one place. That part was still me. So it was a combination of all that.
How was it working with the director, Vivek Sharma?
It was amazing working with him, he helped me a lot. His first movie was Bhootnath, and he made the kid act so well, so he must have done a good job with me at least (laughs). So it was good working with him, he gave me a lot of tips. And the good part about him is he still let me be natural and didn’t let me become methodical which I don’t believe in. So he gave me that free hand and was not stuck up. If I had any suggestions, he was always open to it. If I gave him wrong suggestions, he was open to that too and then made me realize that what I was saying didn’t make sense, not just shun me off completely. So it was nice and as a newcomer, you couldn’t ask for anyone better; my dad is the producer and my friend is a director.
Yeah, your dad is the producer. Is it hard being the producer’s son because expectations are a lot higher of you?
Yeah it is, it is. It is very hard to be a producer’s son. First of all, people think I’ve not struggled. I have struggled for four years to be where I am mentally and emotionally. Plus I have had to satisfy my father who is a producer and who has launched so many people: Abhishek Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor. Their first films were technically with him. So I had to convince him professionally, that I am worth it. Plus the pressure as you said. It is overwhelming and huge because people think, he is Vashu Bhagnani’s son, and have expectations. You have prove everyone wrong in a good way.
It’s interesting you’re saying that because Rishi Kapoor is very “impressed” with you and your performance.
That’s a big compliment. He’s the biggest romantic hero we’ve had. Shah Rukh is after him. So if he feels that way about me, then I am very happy.
I can imagine. How was it working with Vaishali Desai?
She’s amazing. She’s completely opposite to me. I am over hyper and mischievous. I keep on playing pranks on the set. She’s very docile, very calm. So the combination is perfect.
Were you always into acting? Or is it something you realized later on?
I was always interested in acting but obviously you must have read and heard that I was overweight. I was just shy of sharing my dream of acting to the world.
Right, this is something you constantly say, that you have “struggled” to become an actor. But I think people don’t understand that because you are a producer’s son, so what was the struggle exactly? Was it just the physicality?
For me the struggle was double. Firstly, I am the producer’s son. Second, I was physically unfit and I was overweight. So my battle was with my father, with myself, with the world. I feel like my struggle has been the toughest, you know the grass is always greener on the other side; we always think our problems are the worst. All I’m trying to say is that it was not easy for me, if that’s what people think.
But that said, you are being deemed as an actor to watch out for. The media and industry members who have seen rushes have said that the movie looks really good. They are literally calling you, “The star of tomorrow.” How does that feel?
It feels nice of course. I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel flattered because you work hard and if you get acknowledgement for your hard work, or praises for your hard work, it always feels good. And all I will say if I hope I don’t let people down in the future also. I’ll try to do my best and outdo myself with every film I do in the future.
How was it working with you father? He was the producer of the film too.
Oh it was wonderful. Professionally, it was amazing because he is one of the best producers we have. He gives you whatever you need. We have amazing production value, even today’s recession times. We’ve got a huge canvas. We’ve shot for songs in South Africa for 60 days, we’ve gone to Thailand for action, and we’ve gone to Chandigarh, Pune. We’ve shot all over the world. So I couldn’t have asked for anything better. The sad part is, he’s my boss and he’s my father, so when I’m home, I’m still at work so there is no pack up for me.
That’s true. How is the music of the film?
If you ask me, I would be biased. But apart from that also, I love the music, because Sajid-Wajid have done a great job. They’ve given the movie completely commercial music. All the tracks are amazing. Like you know how Kaho Naa Pyar Hai was? Every track has a different flavor. Some age groups would like some tracks, other age groups would like other tracks. So I can say that the movie’s album is like that.
Great! What are some of your favorite movies produced by your dad? And you can’t say all.
I would say Biwi No. 1, Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai, and I would say Om Jai Jagadish because it was emotionally touching.
Which of your father’s films would you have liked to played the lead part in?
I liked Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya. I really liked that and I would have liked to play the lead part in that. And I would have liked to have done Rehnaa Hai Tere Dil Mein. I think it was a very sweet film, and a lot of scope for performance. And obviously Biwi No. 1 but I wouldn’t want to do that because I don’t think anyone could have done it better than Salman. If he wouldn’t have been in the film, I don’t think it would have been so great.
What were you doing before you were acting? Were you helping your dad out?
I assisted my dad for six years. I was 16 when I started assisting him. I did Deewanapan. I was the associate producer and termed as the youngest producer in the world. I worked on Deewanapan, Rehna Hai Tere Dil Mein, Silsiilay, Out of Control, Vaada and Shaadi No. 1. I did six films with him. That was until two years back, when I was 22. For the past two years, I’ve just concentrated on my film, and acting.
Did you have to go to any acting schools?
I went to Lee Strasberg Theatre in New York. It was a nine months course and I received a diploma. Plus, I’ve done a couple of course in Mumbai. I’ve done Shiamak Davar’s dance classes for eight months. And worked with John Moyyo; he’s a stunt coordinator in L.A. So I worked with him for six weeks. So I’ve tried to do as much as I could to my maximum according to my capabilities. Everyone’s maximum is different. I did a little bit of everything, so at least I have an idea about everything. That’s where you begin, but it’s a long way to go.
Okay, so there is a big rumor that Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Juhi Chawla all have special appearances in the movie. True or false?
We’ve requested all of them to do guest appearances but we’ve not got confirmation as yet. Juhi Chawla, yes. Juhi ma’am has already done her guest appearance. We’ve shot so I can confirm about her. Sanjay Dutt has done an appearance in a song. So he’s also confirmed. I can only say yes to the people who have shot already. Who’ve not, the request is still pending. As you know everyone is very busy. We just wanted them as special appearances, just like in Om Shanti Om, just for blessings. No part playing, or no roles or anything of that sort.
Editors note: Jackky later confirmed that Sanjay Dutt, Juhi Chawla, Rajpal Yadav and the Slumdog Kids all have special appearances in the film.
If you weren’t a producer’s son, would you have still ventured into acting?
Yes! I think I was born to act.
What are some of your other upcoming projects after Kal Kissne Dekha?
As of now, I’m not looking at anything else. I’m just concentrating on this movie because I believe that the harder I work on this, the better my future will be.
Who are some actors or directors you want to work with?
That’s a long list. I can’t name them. (laughs)
Okay, top three.
If I have to name some of them, Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra, Raj Kumar Hirani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Siddharth Anand…
So you can go on.
Yeah. I’m not going to say Vivek Sharma, because I am already working with him. There are so many more. It’s a never-ending list.
Your favorite actors from the industry?
Mr. Bachchan, Abhishek, because I am very attached to him. I would say Hrithik Roshan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan. There are just too many! I’ve grown up here so I like everyone for various reasons.
Have any other actors given you any advice?
A lot of them. Abhishek is very close to me, he keeps on giving me advice. Same with Zayed Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh the same, Diya Mirza, Esha Deol. They all are my friends. I’ve grown up in front of them so they’re really fond of me, and they look out for me, and yes they keep on giving me lots of advice. So what took them five years, or eight years, or ten years to achieve and understand, I get it right away. So I’m grateful. When I say I’m lucky to be a producer’s son, I would say for these reasons I am lucky. I have straight approach to these people but other than that, the struggle and the hard work is the same or even much more.
What is your advice for any upcoming actors or anyone who wants to be an actor?
My advice would be that nothing hides from the camera, so be honest, and be hardworking. And my take is that you need to be a good human being to be a good actor. You cannot be a manipulative person because you can’t hide anything from the camera. And that is the only way to connect with your audiences. You have to be pure at heart.
And any message for everyone who will eventually watch your movie?
I would just say, I’ve made an honest effort. Try to like me at least, if not love me.
Just in case anyone wondered how hard star kids have it, you heard it straight from the debutant producer’s son. However, Jackky is a child of a newer generation who isn’t afraid to walk solo and prove himself to the filmy world and the audiences. We wish him the best of luck for his debut film and his endeavors ahead. Catch Kal Kissne Dekha in theaters this Friday June 12th!