By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: Smita Patil and Raj Babbar’s son Prateik has taken a long introspective sabbatical from the public eye, until his next release Issaq, a North Indian Varanasi-based take on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet which would be Babbar Junior’s do-or-die bid to consolidate his precarious position as an eclipsed star-son.
The decision, we hear, has been taken by the producers Viacom 18 who saw Issaq and immediately decided to buy its worldwide distribution rights, apparently on condition that Prateik undertake an immediate crash course in career and image reinvention.
Says a source close to the project, “It was felt by the entire that team that Prateik needed to completely re-invent himself. His recent films Dum Maro Dum, My Friend Pinto, Aarkashan and specially Ekk Deewana Tha (which were being touted as Prateik’s big-ticket films to solo-stardom) brought the boy’s fortunes crashing down. He has now been told to completely revamp his career and image.”
Stage 2 in Prateik’s career recuperation is his voice. A Hindi voice-coach Sushil Bouthiyal with a solid background as a theatre artiste at the National School Of Drama has been employed to modulate Prateik’s shaky voice-quality.
On a more personal level, the obscenely-over hyped relationship with his co-star Amy Fernandez has been thrown out of the window. Apparently, Prateik has been “strictly advised” to stay away from romantic involvements and focus on his career.
Confirming these developments, Issaq director Manish Tiwari says, “I’d really not like to comment on whatever happened in Prateik’s life and career. It’s all in the past. And he is looking at a new career for himself. Hopefully, Isaaq will mark the rebirth of Prateik as an actor. He is working hard on himself, his voice,image, attitude … everything.”
Apparently, Prakash Jha in whose Aarakshan Prateik’s performance was patently panned, saw rushes of Issaq and was jolted by the difference.
Says Manish Tiwari, “Aarakshan had a huge cast. In my film Prateik is the solo hero. I had to work on him from scratch.”