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Multi-talented UP lad aims for the skies 

Actor-writer Umesh Bhatia, from Varanasi, is all set to get a commercial break after a series of plays and short films.

lucknow Updated: May 02, 2019 13:29 IST
S Farah Rizvi
S Farah Rizvi
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Uttar Pradesh,Entertainment,Umesh Bhatia
Actor-writer Umesh Bhatia

If you hadn’t noticed, Uttar Pradesh has become the newest film-making hub. However that may translate economically for the state, young local artists – actors, writers, producers, music directors – are the ones who are reaping the immediate benefits of this new-found proximity.

Actor-writer Umesh Bhatia, from Varanasi, is all set to get a commercial break after a series of plays and short films. Talking about his early life, Bhatia said, “My grandfather had a cinema hall in Sindh and was hugely associated with films but after partition, he relocated to Varanasi.

“My father set up a business but I think my grandfather’s genes made me seek a career in films. I worked as an announcer with Vividh Bharti and it was in 2004 that I began doing theatre after completing my film-making and theatre diploma.”

Bhatia has done over 100 plays before films started happening, “I was the founder member of the Varanasi-based theatre group ‘Dasharoopak’ that gave me an opportunity to play many famous characters on stage like Dhritrashtra in ‘Andhayug’, Moiz in ‘Space’, Pt Madan Mohan Malviya in ‘Mahamana the Conscience keeper’ and Kailash in ‘Mantr.’ Then I moved to Mumbai and did a TV daily ‘Mere Angne Mein’.

“This was followed by a feature film called ‘Pinky Beauty Parlour’ (PBP), which was based on the bias with fair skin in our society. The film was critically acclaimed and went to many film festivals. It also received a special mention by then Goa chief minister at the closing ceremony of IFFI Goa 2016.”

After his much-acclaimed feature film, Bhatia also tried his hand at short films, “It was a co-incidence that two of my films were screened in the same edition of the IFFI, one was PBP and the other, a short film, ‘Manini’. It was indeed a memorable moment for me. ‘Manini’ was a social film based on Swachh Bharat campaign and the open defecation issue. The film got a special mention at the national award. This was followed by another short film ‘God Loves Pipe’ which again was based on relevant issues.”

The young actor is also a keen writer. “I love everything that is associated with film-making, be it writing, acting and producing as it is my favourite craft. So, writing is happening but at its own pace. But at present, I am occupied with films be it short or feature.”

Currently, Bhatia is busy with an untitled film being shot in Babatpur village near Varanasi. “Along with this film, I am doing a Canadian art film based on Benaras, as well as another film, ‘Unwoven Threads of Kashi’, by Abhishek Rathod. Then my first fully commercial film, ‘Setters’ with Shreyas Talpade and Aftab Shivdasani and directed by Ashwini Chaudhary, will release on May 3. I have a quite a substantial role in the film and I hope it helps me break through commercial cinema.”

First Published: May 02, 2019 13:29 IST