Not always in the family

2013-10-31 00:00

THERE are several film family dynasties in Indian cinema, the most renowned of which is, of course, the Kapoor clan started by Prithviraj Kapoor, one of the biggest stars of the silent-film era.

Prithviraj’s sons, Shammi, Shashi and Raj Kapoor, all became big stars as well, with Raj achieving international fame as a director too.

Then came Raj’s sons, Randhir and Rishi Kapoor, still active in cameo roles these days.

Randhir’s daughters broke the family tradition of the women not working in films — first Karisma and then Kareena Kapoor, now married to Saif Ali Khan.

The latest entrant from the Kapoor clan is Rishi’s son Ranbhir, who was rapidly shooting his way to the top spot until the release of his latest film Besharam, which was rejected at the box office and by critics as a comedy flop.

A second high-profile cinema dynasty is that of veteran actor Dharmendra, who took his co-star in some of the most famous films of the seventies, Hema Malini, as his second wife.

Their daughter, Esha Deol, tried hard in several movies but never quite made the same grade. Dharmendra’s sons from his first wife, Sunny and Bobby Deol, have both gained some measure of success, though.

Clearly, being part of a family dynasty does not necessarily guarantee a career as a movie star, as reflected in Esha’s attempts.

There have been many other tales of stars’ sons and daughters launched with great pomp and fanfare by their highly successful parents, who failed miserably. Even in the Kapoor clan, Shammi Kapoor’s daughter, Sanjana, was lured into playing the leading lady in a film, but she quickly dropped a film career for her first love, theatre.

Other sons and daughters who have failed are children of some of the best-known stars of their parents’ generation. They include Tanisha, younger daughter of sixties’ leading lady Tanuja, who tried but failed to emulate the stupendous success of her elder sister Kajol.

Soha Ali Khan, despite having acclaimed veteran actress Sharmila Tagore as a mother and Saif Ali Khan as a brother, also has not had much success.

Even the muscle that producers have in the industry cannot guarantee success for their children. Despite putting a lot of money and effort into their launch films, failures here include that of Jackky Bhagnani, son of producer Vashu Bhagnani, and Harman Baweja, son of Harry Baweja.

Even being the son of probably the most famous director in Bollywood, the legendary late Yash Chopra, could not rescue Uday Chopra.

Feroze Khan achieved great fame with his films, but attempts to launch his son as a successor failed dismally. So, too, with one-time disco king Mithun Chakraborty, who tried to launch his son Mimmo, who has all but faded away, while his father continues to appear on TV as a judge in dance contests.

For every successful star’s son or daughter in Bollywood, there is another who has tried but failed to achieve stardom. Perhaps it is not necessarily in the genes after all, except for the Kapoor clan.

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