Priyaank Sharma is one of the most down-to-earth, dedicated and talented individuals you will ever come across.
Despite being the son of renowned Indian actress Padmini Kolhapure, Priyaank’s approach to life has been grounded and pursued his passion from scratch.
After graduation, he did a diploma for acting and filmmaking from Lee Strasberg in New York.
He underwent numerous workshops and gained organic experience from assisting Rajkumar Santoshi on Phata Poster Nikla Hero and was even with him on scripting for a year.
It seems like his hard-work and endeavours have finally paid off as he will soon be making his Bollywood debut in Karan Vishwanath Kashyap’s Sab Kushal Mangal.
In an exclusive interview with Filme Shilmy, Priyaank talks about his first film and his sentiments of joining Bollywood.
You’re set to make your Bollywood debut with Sab Kushal Mangal. How are you feeling about this?
Oh man, I’ve been wanting to become an actor since the fifth grade.
Leading up to this – doing dramatics in school, doing a couple of workshops, learning filmmaking with Rajkumar Santoshi sir, then doing some more workshops until I met people and got a script.
So, it’s a dream come true for sure.
Ravi Kishan’s daughter Riva is also making her Bollywood debut with the film. What has the synergy been like between you both?
It’s been amazing.
We both really understand each other as we’ve been working with each other and help each other in terms of the characterisations.
The journey has been very similar as we both are making our Bollywood debuts.
Also, the incredible part is that we’ve been surrounded by such great actors around us.
There is Akshaye Khanna, Satish Kaushik, Supriya Pathak ma’am (who plays my mother) and Ananya Khare ma’am.
Then there are a couple of actors from the TV industry – Mrunal Jain and Jaya Ojha ma’am. There was about 16/17 of us.
On set, there was so much to learn which was amazing.
Tell us a bit about your character in the movie?
I can’t say much but my character is a confident lad who comes from a very small town.
He comes to Delhi and is a reporter.
Other than that, I can say that the movie is a complete family entertainer.
You’re going to be smiling, laughing out loud and having a great time whilst seeing it.
What was the audition process like to get the film?
I never really auditioned for it. The makers of the film came, spoke to me and I told them about my experience.
The director was like “instead of an audition process, let’s just start meeting each other.
I’m going to bounce some scenes of you and will judge you according to that and then we will go ahead.”
I guess he liked what he saw and felt confident in giving me the role.
We just worked as a team rather than putting me on the spot and judging me from that audition perspective.
I really liked that approach because otherwise (in an audition) you put someone on the spot, give them a couple of lines and then a judgement is made on the whole film.
However, if you work with someone, give them that confidence and work as a team with that person, you can bring out their true potential as an actor.
That was his approach and it was very different.
Did being Padmini Kolhapure’s son open more doors for you?
Of course, I’m not going to lie. That definitely does open a lot of doors and people see it from a different perspective, no doubt.
Going by my experience, it’s all about the individual.
If one is good and capable, then you will rise.
Coming from the industry, what I feel is that people expect a lot from you.
So even if you’re at a 60-70%, people are going to be very particular about you as opposed to people who come from the outside, if they give about 10-15%, people are positive about that.
The ‘Nepotism’ word often carries negative connotations. What is your view on it? Is it necessarily a bad thing?
I don’t think it’s a bad thing at all and it is everywhere. Who wouldn’t help a family member open doors for them in an industry?
I would say it is negative if one takes it negatively or if one has a negative attitude about it.
I’ve heard stories where people say, “I’m meant to be here. This is my space. I’m a born actor because I’m (so and so) son.”
When someone talks like that, it is a bit negative.
But ultimately, it is what it is.
Whoever is born, wherever they are and whatever they have, they are going to make the most of it?
That’s what you do as a human being.
Has (or not) your filmy lineage added pressure on you as an actor?
I wouldn’t say it’s too much of pressure but yes internally there’s pressure, from my personal perspective.
But I have never felt pressure from any of my family members because they have never pushed me into this space, ever.
They always told me to follow my dreams and they have always backed whatever I’ve wanted.
There was no pressure from the family at all but there is an internal pressure because of Mum, dad and Shakti papa (Shakti Kapoor), all of these greats are there so there definitely is pressure.
Especially because you’re going to be compared and talked about.
For my internal processing, I give it my all (when it comes to acting) and then leave it to god and the universe.
Your cousins Shraddha and Siddhanth Kapoor are well-established actors. What advice have they given to you?
We always have these roundtable conference meetings at my house (laughs). So I stay down and they’re up in their apartments.
Every week, Shraddha and Siddhanth will come to my bungalow and we talk about everything… We’re pretty close-knit like that.
The only advice that I’ve got from everyone is to just be natural, spontaneous and just surrender to the director.
These are the basic tips that I’ve got and I have been following it since day one.
Being the only child, the close-knit relationship with Shraddha and Siddhanth really helped whilst growing up.
I never felt that lack of having a sibling… Until date, I don’t because they’ve always been there and we’ve grown up with each other.
We used to stay at each other’s houses and they were very close to my grandparents who stayed with me.
I’ve kind of had my own space as well as having my brother and sister.
I have the best of both worlds!
There are a plethora of actors who have or will make their debuts in Bollywood. How do you feel about the word ‘competition’ being thrown around?
The amount of new actors making their debuts is increasing and I think it’s amazing.
This ‘competition’ word I’ve not really related to it ever but yes I would say that it’s good if it is healthy.
However, I personally feel that it is important to remember that you’re running alone and you don’t have anyone running around you because your competition is with yourself.
Today, you just have to be better than you were yesterday and tomorrow, you have to strive to be even better.
If you get involved in this ‘competition’ aspect, you’re going to keep going under and will never be happy.
Yes, the media definitely does compare and all that is going to happen but there’s nothing new.
It has happened and will continue to happen but you can’t let that impact you.
These things are hard to consider and it’s better said than done.
What do you hope to achieve throughout the course of your career?
While I was shooting for Sab Kushal Mangal, there were times where I used to just start smiling and laughing because I was doing my first film.
My director would be like “what’s wrong with you? Don’t be messing around” and then I would just apologise (laughs).
But if you don’t enjoy what you do, you can’t survive.
If you’re doing it for fame and people to like you, that’s a big downfall for an individual as a person.
If you don’t like the craft, then that doesn’t give you joy ever.
I’m a person who really likes to maintain a balance in life. I can’t just work continuously and chilling a lot.
In the future, I am not going to be the person who goes nuts when it comes to working.
I rather give my best in one film, rather than do multiple projects and work on them.
I just want to do more films and do it for the rest of my life.
Filme Shilmy warmly welcomes Priyaank into the industry and wishes him all the very best for Sab Kushal Mangal.