Smita Patil and Raj Babbar's son Prateik is taking a long introspective sabbatical from the public eye, until his next release Isaaq, a North Indian take on Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet which would be his do-or-die bid to consolidate his precarious position as an eclipsed star-son.
The decision we hear, has been taken by the producers Viacom 18 who saw Isaaq and immediately decided to buy its worldwide distribution rights, apparently on condition that Prateik undertake an immediate crash course in career and image reinvention.
Says a source close to the project, "It was felt by the entire that team that Prateik needed to completely re-invent himself. His recent films Dum Maaro Dum, My Friend Pinto, Aarakashan and especially Ekk Deewana Tha (which were being touted as Prateik's big-ticket films to stardom) brought the boy's fortunes crashing down. He has now been told to completely revamp his career and image."
Stage 2 in Prateik's career recuperation is his voice. A Hindi voice-coach Sushil Bouthiyal with a solid background as a theatre artiste at the National School Of Drama has been employed to modulate Prateik's shaky voice-quality.
On a more personal level the obscenely-overhyped relationship with his co-star Amy Jackson has been thrown out of the window. Apparently Prateik has been "strictly advised" to stay away from romantic involvements and focus on his career.
Apparently, Prakash Jha in whose Aarakshan Prateik's performance was patently panned, saw rushes of Isaaq and was jolted by the difference.
Says Manish Tiwari, "Maybe Prakashji wasn't able to focus as much on Prateik's performance as I have. Aarakshan had a huge cast. In my film Prateik is the solo hero. I had to work on him from scratch."