Not many may be aware that it was none less than Shahrukh Khan who recommended newcomer Jackky Bhagnani for acting. It was his referral letter to Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute that allowed the Kal Kissne Dekha debutant to enrol himself in the school for honing up his acting skills.
Confirms Vashu Bhagnani, the proud father and producer of Kal Kissne Dekha which hit the screens over the Friday gone by, "It was Jackky who informed me that a letter of reference was a must for an admission to Lee Strasberg. I thought of Shahrukh Khan and he was gracious enough to oblige."
Even though Shahrukh Khan hasn't actively worked with any of the films produced by Vashu Bhagnani (except for being a 'sutradhar' in Silsiilay), he didn't have any hesitation in putting together a letter of reference.
"That's the beauty of this industry", gushes Vashu, "People always stand up for you based on your relationship. It could be professional or personal but industry has always been together. There could be some stray elements here or there that may bring in some negativity but by and large, Bollywood is indeed a family. Moreover, Shahrukh has been above all this."
Regarding Jackky's decision to join the film institute, Vashu was quite apprehensive to begin with. "First and foremost I was zapped by his very decision of working in films. Here I was changing his underpants till just a few years back and this boy suddenly comes to me and tells me that he wants to get into acting and that too as a leading hero", remembers Vashu.
For Vashu, it was a predicament of sorts since he had to not just think as a father but also as a producer.
"I couldn't let emotions take over my decision making. I had to see whether it was financially viable also to launch him as a hero. Did he have it in him to bring in the audience? Had he honed up his acting skills enough to be a quintessential Bollywood hero? He had to convince me for all of this and more and worked hard to showcase it to me that he was serious about a career in acting", details Vashu.
Once it was all set that Jackky would be eventually making his debut as an actor, the round of script searching began.
"I was sure that it didn't have to be the first ever script that came my way", says Jackky, "I was willing to wait for one, two, three years before I got that perfect story and script. I was in no hurry. This is why I requested dad to allow me enroll myself at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. After a brief hesitation he agreed and when I was back, there was Kal Kissne Dekha waiting for me."
Some of the notable alumni at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute are Alec Baldwin, Matt Damon, Matt Dillon, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Julianne Moore, Julia Roberts, Adam Sandler and Uma Thurman. Amongst Bollywood actors, Ranbir Kapoor, Riteish Deshmukh, Upen Patel and Shenaz Treasurywala have attended the institute.
Kal Kissne Dekha is also the launch pad of debutant Vaishali Desai and features Rishi Kapoor in the pivotal role of a college professor. The romantic thriller musical with Sajid and Wajid as the composers also stars Archana Puran Singh, Rachna Shah, Kunal Kumar and Nushrat Bharucha along with Akshay Kapoor.