Mumbai, June 22 -- She is veteran film-maker Mahesh Bhatt's daughter, but last year, Alia Bhatt made an interesting statement when she said that she "prefers calling Karan (Johar; film-maker) for advice" on her films.
"I even go to him for concerns related to relationships," she had added. Alia is not alone. A number of young actors are being mentored by popular Bollywood producers, who are not just giving them a platform with the films they make, but are also guiding them in terms of their career choices.
More the merrier
"The idea is not to 'own' them, but to add to the pool of saleable stars. As an industry, we need to introduce new talent. When you want to make more films and different kinds of films, you need more saleable stars of different kinds," says Sajid Nadiadwala, who launched Tiger Shroff and Kriti Sanon in director Sabbir Khan's Heropanti (2014).
On the other hand, Karan introduced Varun Dhawan, Sidharth Malhotra and Alia in Student Of The Year (2012). Interestingly, Karan reveals, "Many people were apprehensive about why I was launching newcomers."
He adds, "My equation with Alia, Varun and Sidharth is not of a director or mentor, but of a parent, who is also parenting their careers. I want to ensure that all three of them have different graphs and journeys. But I never impose my opinion on them; I give them suggestions and leave it to them."
Film-maker Aditya Chopra, too, has a long list of young talents he has introduced, and continues to mentor. The list includes Ranveer Singh, Sushant Singh Rajput, Parineeti Chopra, Arjun Kapoor, Ayushmann Khurrana and Anushka Sharma.
Similarly, producers Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani are backing Pulkit Samrat, who starred in their 2013 hit, Fukrey. "Young talent comes with great zeal and carries a fresh thought process, which in turn, helps us, as a team, enhance various film projects," says Ritesh.
Not just once
Besides, of course, guiding them through the industry, the mentors are also teaming up with these respective actors repeatedly. So, while Sajid is working with Tiger again in Baaghi, Karan is collaborating with Varun, Sidharth and Alia in multiple upcoming films, with the latest one being Shuddhi.
The same goes for Aditya and his pool of actors. Even Farhan and Ritesh are back with Pulkit in their next production, Bangistan. "It is a natural progression after you have introduced someone in the industry. It has been happening for a long time," says Sajid. In the same vein, Ritesh adds, "Suggestions and advice (for new talents) are important because one needs an experienced point of view."