His debut film, the Abbas-Mustan directed ‘Machine’ failed to set the cash registers ringing but Eshan Shanker, who has trained extensively as an actor in some of the most reputed film institutes across the globe, is determined to make his mark in tinsel town and is confident about the fact that he will shine as a star one day. In this interview, he talks about training as an actor, being side-lined during the marketing of his debut film, dealing with failure, nepotism and living his father’s dream.
You have studied acting at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and also attended New York Film Academy. Then, you worked as an assistant director on two Dharma Productions’ films, namely, ‘Gippi’ and ‘2 States’. That is a lot of qualification for an actor.
Not really. I am not from the industry. So, I was trying out different things and making use of every opportunity that was coming my way at that point of time. While studying at Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute, I got to know about the various programmes and courses being offered at New York Film Academy. They help you collaborate with filmmakers and work on short films. I thought it would help me gain some good practical knowledge and hence, I decided to join the academy. After I came back to Mumbai, I did not know how to approach people for work. I worked as an assistant director as I thought that would help me build contacts with people working in the industry and make understand how an actor works on a film set. All these things helped me grow as a professional and made me what I am today.
When I saw ‘Machine’, I realized that your role was as important as that of Mustafa or Kiara but we did not get too see much of you in the promos or during the promotions. Do you feel you missed out on pre-release publicity of your debut film?
Yes, I was expecting a lot more in terms of publicity and marketing. When I signed the film, I was told by the makers that Mustafa, Kiara and me would be equally promoted. I do not know what kind of marketing strategy they were trying to incorporate but I was not called for most of the promotional events before the release of the film. It was my first film and I did not have much of an experience in the industry. I wondered whether I should hire a PR team for myself or wait for the makers to ask me to be a part of the promotions. I guess Abbas-Mustan would be the right person to answer as to why I was not given prominence in the marketing of the film.