In the fourth of our six-part series on lesser known star kids, actor Bhagyashree’s son Abhimanyu talks about the pressure on him to prove himself.
Meet the family
Abhimanyu is the son of actor Bhagyashree, 43, and entrepreneur Himalaya Dassani. Bhagyashree, who shot to fame with her debut blockbuster Maine Pyar Kiya (1989), hails from the royal family of Sangli in Maharashtra.
After her marriage to Himalaya, she decided that she will only act in films that also star her husband. Since then, she has acted in three Hindi films — Qaid Main Hai Bulbul, Tyagi, and Payal — all starring Himalaya. The couple also has an 18-year old daughter named Avantika.
He is 22-year-old and has his eyes set on the world of films. And so, Abhimanyu Dassani is doing everything possible to groom himself. “I’m taking dance, acting and action classes to prepare myself well for films,” says the young lad, who knows that people have high expectations from star kids.
Abhimanyu, however, isn’t new to the film world. He assisted director Rohan Sippy for Dum Maaro Dum (2011) and for the upcoming film, Nautanki Salla.
Here, he talks about his ‘normal’ childhood, mom Bhagyashree, and more.
Did your mom’s star status influence you during the growing up years?
It did not influence me at all. During my growing up years, mom was extremely strict and wanted both my younger sister Avantika and me to have the most normal childhood, without any pampering and frills. She deliberately kept us away from all that. Bollywood’s influence came from all the Govinda and Salman (Khan) movies I watched as a teenager.
What equation do you share with your mother?
She is what a parent should be: friendly but not a friend. I can share anything under the sun with her but I know where to draw the line of respect. I can’t fool around with her. We enjoy watching films together. In fact, doing that twice a week is a must. Both my parents have been very supportive about my decision to join Bollywood. They’ve always encouraged me to follow my passion, but without compromising on my education.
Tell us about your Bollywood aspirations.
Since the boundaries between Bollywood and world cinema are gradually getting smudged, I hope to make a mark not just in Hindi cinema but films worldwide.
Are you a film buff?
I’m a huge fan of movies but it’s not because my mother belongs to the film industry. I enjoy watching a variety of cinema.
Reports suggest that your mother is planning to launch you soon. Is that true?
No way! It’s my focus, dedication, determination and destiny that will carve my future.
Many believe that star kids get an easy entry in the world of films. Do you agree?
Easy? Seriously? (laughs) Ask us... There’s a lot of pressure on us to prove ourselves. People have high expectations from star kids.
Who has been your biggest role model?
I’ve grown up with a mantra that whatever you do, make sure you give it your all. Mark Wahlberg has been my inspiration. He rose to the highest level in each field he chose to be in: as a rapper, a movie star, a director.
Are you friends with other star kids?
Ya Ya! Almost everyone, be it Priyank (Padmini Kolhapure’s son), Sana (Aditya Pancholi’s daughter) or Tiger (Jackie Shroff’s son).
Are you dating anyone?
I’m single at the moment.
Travelling and football. I follow football with a passion and have been a top player in school.
Would you like to work with your mother?
Sure I would.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Amitabh Bachchan and Denzel Washington
I loved Remember the Titans, The Departed, and A Wednesday
Favourite holiday destination
Education: Major in finance followed by courses from New York Film Academy and The Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute. Abhimanyu has also done an acting course from Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares
Currently busy with: Grooming himself for his foray in acting