Family matters in Indian film but the cream also rises
An emerging generation of young Bollywood stars is showing they have talents that extend beyond their prodigious clan ties
There is a perception the children of Bollywood stars have it easy in India’s film industry. That may be true when it comes to getting a foot in the door but the history of the cinema is littered with the names of actors with brilliant connections.
Now the daughter of Saif Ali Khan, a Hindi film hero with family ties to the cinema, cricket and commerce, is rumored to be ready to make her debut in a film directed by Karan Johar, another Bollywood power broker who followed in his famous film family’s footsteps. Will Sara Ali Khan add her name to the lengthy list of Bollywood clans whose fame runs across generations, as these talented actors with ties to an A-grade star of the Indian cinema have done?
Being the daughter of ace director Mahesh Bhatt and acclaimed actress Soni Razdan has given Alia Bhatt the genes to be a legendary leading lady. But, as Shah Rukh Khan has pointed out, she stands out due to her decision-making ability.
Johar helped launch Bhatt’s career with a glamorous role in “Student of the Year”. Her second film, “Highway”, saw her in a performance-driven role that added another string to her bow. In the four years she has been in Bollywood, her roles have been a showcase for her skills and the awards have followed.
What gives her an edge? Pilates. In her spare time, she reads and catches up on her sleep. She is considered to be patient and circumspect while on set, but it is her charming personality that floors everyone.
Tiger Shroff is the son of star Jackie Shroff and producer Ayesha Shroff. The junior Shroff made his debut in “Heropanti” in 2014. The action-drama film did brisk business and earned him an award for best male debut, despite criticism of his delivery. His next film, “Baaghi”, was a hit, thanks to his improved dialogue, his action and dancing skills, and six-pack stomach.
What gives him the edge? Shroff is a black belt in Taekwondo, having begun learning the martial art at 14. He works out day and night, and does gymnastics. He is regarded as one of the best dancers in Bollywood and has previously mentioned that he would like to open a dance school.
The daughter of Shakti Kapoor, best known for his comedic talents and portrayal of villains, and popular 1980’s actress Padmini Kolhapure is an aunt. Kapoor dropped out from studying psychology at Boston University in the United States to make her film debut in “Teen Patti”. It performed poorly at the box office, as did her second film, “Luv Ka The End”. It was a leading role in the 2013 romantic drama “Aashiqui 2” that propelled her to fame.
What gives her the edge? Kapoor sings in many of her films, is a natural actor and is said to have a great sense of style. She was a school-aged athlete, playing volleyball and basketball, and hits the gym for exercise. She is equally serious about her work.
Producer David Dhawan and actor Govinda delivered hit movie after hit movie. Dhawan’s son, Varun, made his debut in another all-star combination. “Student of the Year” introduced Bhatt, Siddharth Malhotra and Dhawan to Indian audiences. In the dance-led drama “ABCD 2” Dhawan did his own dance and action sequences and in the 2015 drama “Badlapur” he was recognized for his actor’s chops.
What gives him the edge? Dhawan attended acting schools under an assumed name, keeping his family ties a secret, before gaining a job working as an assistant to Johar on the 2010 film “My Name Is Khan”. He works out, has the six-pack abs to match his dancer’s body, is highly motivated and has an abundance of energy.
The son of film producer Boney Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor never planned to work in front of the camera. He is tall but was once overweight, the byproduct of overeating, and had started earning credits in 2003 before being an associate producer on his father’s films “No Entry” and “Wanted”. Kapoor made his acting debut in the 2012 romance “Ishaqzaade”. It won rave reviews and he has not looked back.
What gives him the edge? Working as an assistant director and associate producer meant Kapoor knew the ropes before taking the plunge into acting. Losing 50 kilograms in four years means he has the stamina to work harder in the gym and on set.