Rumours are rife that directors Vipul Shah and Suneel Darshan are at loggerheads over their protégé Upen Patel.
Darshan is said to have advised the young actor against doing Shah's Namaste London. Upen plays a lead role in Darshan's Shakalaka Boom Boom.
Darshan, however, denies the charge.
"I've better things to do than to involve myself with what films Upen is doing. Upen does come to me for advice. When he does, I tell what's right," Darshan said.
On the other hand, Shah is perturbed by the whole episode.
"I can't imagine why Suneel Darshan would warn Upen against doing my film. If Suneel wishes Upen well, as I'm sure he does, he'd see Namaste London as a big step ahead for Upen," said Shah.
Upen, currently shooting in South Africa for Darshan's Shakalaka Boom Boom, fumed at the so-called tug-of-war.
"This is sick. I'm being made out into this prized toy that two directors are fighting over. Both Vipul and Suneel are mature moviemakers. The last thing they'd do is to battle it out over a new actor. And for what?" asked Upen.
"Suneel does guide me. But so does Vipul. I look up to both the directors. Since they've been in the movie business long enough, I do seek their guidance. But finally I take my own decisions. I've been on my own in Mumbai - away from my family in London - for so many years. I can find my way, thanks."
The self-confidence is corroborated by the assignments.
"Both Suneel's and Vipul's films are on the verge of completion; I don't know which one will release first. I've strong roles in both with established actors like Bobby Deol and Akshay Kumar.
"I think for a newcomer like me to be noticed, I need to be seen with actors who have a track record. I've signed films with Venus, Tips and Ramesh Sippy. But for now Suneel and Vipul's films will decide my future," said Upen.
There were reports of Upen hero-worshipping Akshay.
"I don't hero-worship anyone. But if I've to single out one icon in this country, it'd have to be Mr. Amitabh Bachchan and no one else," Upen retorted.
Upen brightened up at the mention of his Shakalaka Boom Boom co-star Kangana Ranaut.
"She takes every scene to another level. Kangana is phenomenal. I get to learn so much from her. I'd definitely like to do more films with her."
In real life, Upen is single again, but not ready to mingle.
"I guess I'm unlucky in love. But my work is my support and therapy. I want no distractions. Nothing will come between me and my career."
After having his voice dubbed in his debut film 36 China Town, Upen is looking forward to dubbing his own lines in his next two films.
"Vipul has promised me that I can dub my own lines. I'm working on my Hindi and Urdu diction. Yeah, I think I'm doing well for myself."