Suneel Darshan whose Shaka Laka Boom Boom is ready for release, feels there's a concerted effort to pull down his new protégé Upen Patel.
He feels Upen is all set to become a big star. "I'm so confident about him.
His body language is amazing. And my presentation of Upen shows what magic an actor can create if the director has faith in him. I don't want to compare him with Akshay
But they're very similar....Except that Upen is fifteen years younger. That difference is bound to show. Also Upen is naturally urbane and chic. ...I'm not
trying to take away from Akshay's hard work and success."
Suneel is vocal about Upen being sidelined in the promos of Vipul Shah's Namaste London. "I really don't want to comment on Akshay and his loyal friends. I'm happy that
Upen is so prominently projected in my trailers.
All I'll say is casting a newcomer is a far bigger responsibility than casting an established actor. A filmmaker must
not let a newcomer down.
I remember when Upen had been taken to Vipul Shah by Akshay's secretary Upen has excitedly told me he was a leading man in
Namaste London. I felt he was lucky to get a lead role with a star like Akshay Kumar. I don't know what happened !
The trailer of Namaste London hasn't given him
the respect of a leading man. Upen's character is prominent, so he's prominently projected in my trailers. All I'll say is, Upen deserves much better. I've gone through a lot of
trauma at a time when Upen came into the industry.
So I couldn't guide him properly. I wish I had. There's an effort by a certain section of the people to paint him
as a bad boy. He isn't that. He's a boy who came in alone from London and made it on his own.
His detractors have spread the rumour that he has financed his
films. Rubbish.! Let Shaka Laka Boom Boom come and everyone will fall in love with his character."
As for Kangana, "I feel the girl holds great potential. She isn't conventionally glamorous. But she has the body language of today's woman and I've given her a role that
matches her personality. We had cast another girl in the role. But Kangana was ideal.
Somewhere the personal trauma she's undergoing and the overnight success
could turm her head. I hope it doesn't happen to her. I feel emotionally for her. She's a girl from a small town making it on her own in our cinema."
Suneel is excited about the changes in the industry. "So much technique has changed. And I wanted to be part of the change. Today making a film is a big responsibility.
I've been very careful with the quality and content in Shaka Laka Boom Boom....It isn't as though I'm apologetic about my style of filmmaking.
But yes, while my
earlier films were targeted at family audiences, Shaka Laka Boom Boom is for the youth. Everyone is young in Shaka....Bobby is just a couple of years older than Hrithik.
And Bobby is the oldest protagonist."
Suneel lashes at some of the over-hyped films in recent times. "You can't write reams and reams about films, comparing our directors with David Lean and what-not. I felt
happy when Munnabhai worked...But Eklavya?
It was well shot....But I wish the content matched the form. I've been a Vinod Chopra fan since Parinda. ....My film
is a young film but not a juvenile film. My cinema is my cinema. I have made unsuccessful films. But not bad films. I'm comfortable working with people who're happy working
Never mind if they move on. I'd say I've been privileged to work with the likes of Akshay Kumar, Priyanka Chopra, Lara Dutt and Bipasha Basu. Some of
these became big stars in front of my eyes. I'm very proud of them. I'd like to think I made a contribution to their careers."