Though he isn’t a star kid, Aayush Sharma finds himself fighting off allegations of nepotism as he prepares to be launched by his brother-in-law Salman Khan in Love Yatri. Ahead of his debut, the actor sits down for a candid chat with us.
When did you think of becoming an actor?
It was Arpita who suggested that I should go and audition for a role. And when I was about to audition for the part of the lead actor’s friend in a film, she called and said that I should either play the lead role or nothing at all.
Then, when I met Salman bhai, he also thought that I could be an actor, and he told me to start training, which is what I did.
Everyone knows you as Salman Khan’s brother-in-law. Does that bother you?
When I got married to Arpita, there was a lot of conjecture about my intentions and what I did for a living. But I didn’t feel the need to explain myself then, and I still don’t feel the need to explain myself. When people refer to me as Salman’s brother-in-law, why should I be ashamed? He’s an iconic personality, and only Atul bhai and I can call ourselves his brothers-in-law.
Are people right when they say you’ve got your first film so easily because of your connection with Salman Khan?
I agree that there are a lot of people out there who are struggling and deserve a platform. I also admit that I’ve been lucky, but I’m not going to be ashamed of that. I’m not rattled when people call me a product of nepotism, and I’m not going to defend myself either. It would be wrong of me to say that I am not a product of nepotism.
But though I may have gotten a platform easily, when you watch the film, you won’t care whose brother-in-law I am. It will be a victory for me when people watch my film and say that I deserve to be on screen.
I hope there will be a day when Salman bhai can say that he’s proud to be my brother-in-law.
How seriously do you take Arpita’s inputs?
Arpita knows me inside out, she knows my strengths and weaknesses. And she has always been very supportive of me — she’s taken care of my styling and grooming, she’s introduced me to fashion, taken me shopping. All this time, she’s also defended me, but I hope she won’t have to do that anymore. She wants the world to see what she saw in me four years ago.
Being an actor is very demanding. Are you able to make time for your son, Ahil?
When I was young, my father was very busy with his work, and he didn’t have much time for me. I learnt my lesson then and decided that I didn’t want my son to feel that way. These days, it’s easy to stay connected with your kids through the phone. I missed out on Ahil’s first few words, though.
But I try my best to spend time with him, I get him with me on set. Arpita grew up on film sets, and that’s something I want Ahil to experience as well. I want him to know what his father does for a living.
There was a time when actors would hide their marital status. But you’re entering the film industry after getting married and having a child. Has it been different?
Why hide your marital status? It has nothing to do with your on-screen image, after all. Today, there’s only one superstar who’s not married, and that’s Salman bhai.
I am proud of my family, and I am who I am because of them. Even today, Arpita handles all my back-end work, and I’m not ashamed to admit that. She is an intelligent, educated woman and she is my backbone. I want my family to enjoy my success with me....