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How Do Star Kids Compare With Stars?

November 23, 2023 13:19 IST
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While the nepotism debate is eternal, there are all kinds of star kid debuts in Bollywood.

Prithviraj Kapoor had little to do with his son Raj Kapoor's debut except to pass on his artistic genes.

Showman Raj Kapoor launched his son Rishi in a youthful love story Bobby as a plan B following the disastrous box-office of Mera Naam Joker.

Although Rishi's son, too, followed his footsteps (as well as mom Neetu Singh), Ranbir's journey began as an assistant to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on Black followed by a lavish debut opposite another industry kid, Anil Kapoor's daughter Sonam Kapoor in the film-maker's Saawariya. The opulent musical bombed big time but RK found his place in the sun.

His cousin Karisma Kapoor started out as a gawky teenager in an over-the-top love story sans the pomp and show of a typical filmi kid launch, but Prem Qaidi went on to be a hit. When it was sister Kareena's turn to make a splash on the big screen, she had the best of banners and an equally premium star son for a co-star in Abhishek Bachchan and J P Dutta's Refugee. Unlike Lolo, Bebo won ample acclaim for her performance but the movie came to nothing.

Bollywood mai-baaps follow a simple rule, you're only as good as your success. But if you ARE good, you're unstoppable.

There's an obvious advantage to being born in a film family. Star kids know the highs and lows inside out. They have easy access to the who's who, attract the curiosity of media and paparazzi and receive the A-lister treatment even before they've proved themselves.

With an endless number of star kid debuts in the offing, we thought of looking at how this decade's brigade compares to their mums, dads, uncles or siblings.


Suhana Khan, Shah Rukh Khan's daughter

From small screen sensation in Fauji to self-made superstar of two of 2023's biggest blockbusters, Shah Rukh Khan's journey is stuff of fairy tales.

But in Deewana, his silver screen debut co-starring Rishi Kapoor and Divya Bharti, he is neither the main lead nor in the first half.

Yet SRK's dimpled charisma and nervous energy had no problem stealing the show or winning our hearts.

Like her dad, Suhana is starting out on the small screen with her OTT movie debut, The Archies.

Everybody knows the iconic teen comics and its glamorous snob Veronica, which makes Suhana's debut directed by Zoya Akhtar a lot bigger and better in scale.

Does she have her dad's charms, we'll soon find out.

But she sure has his dimples and dynamism.


Agastya Nanda, Amitabh Bachchan's grandson, Raj Kapoor's great grandson, Abhishek Bachchan's nephew

When Abhishek Bachchan made his debut in J P Dutta's Refugee, it was a big deal and expectations were huge from the country's biggest superstar's son.

The actor spent more than half of his career fulfilling them until he realised it's not his responsibility.

Bachchan's nephew is not making the same mistake as his uncle.

His first film, where he forefronts the Archies gang as its loveable titular hero, Archie Andrews, in no way reflects his famous Nana or Mamu's style or sensibilities.

What the twain do share in common is neither took the opportunity lightly and displayed a dedication to become the part.


Sara Ali Khan, Amrita Singh and Saif Ali Khan's daughter

Amrita Singh's raw but cute portrayal of the tantrum-throwing heiress rediscovering her childhood sweetheart in the scenic valleys of Kashmir put her (and co-star Sunny Deol) on the map.

Unlike Betaab;s 'classic' status, Saif Ali Khan's debut Parampara, despite Yash Chopra's direction and Aamir Khan's presence, didn't quite make the cut.

At best, the multistarrer is an awkward reminder of Saif's flaky charm and clueless presence in the good ol' days.

Cut to 2018's Kedarnath marking the debut of their super-duper confident daughter Sara, relegated to instant star status for her spunk and eloquence on screen and off it.

Unlike her cool, casual parents though, Sara worked hard to make her childhood dream come true.

Like battling serious weight issues triggered by her PCOS to appear fit and fabulous before the camera.


Khushi and Janhvi, Sridevi's daughters

One of the most accomplished Indian actors of all time, Sridevi started working as a child actor in Tamil cinema before going on to rule Bollywood as a leading lady for decades.

Until she struck gold in Himmatwala, Sri did supporting roles in movies like Julie while still a gauche teenager.

Neither Janhvi or Khushi have known that kind of struggle.

Janvhi, all groomed and graceful, made her beginning in an author-backed role under Karan Johar's banner in Sairat's remake, Dhadak.

Khushi, all groomed and graceful, is ready to roll as the angelic Betty Cooper in Zoya Akhtar's The Archies.


Rajveer Deol, Sunny Deol's son

Sunny Deol was launched by his dad Dharmendra in the Rahul Rawail directed rich-poor romance, Betaab.

The movie was a smash success and his dashing masculinity and action hero moves remain his calling card to this day.

Sunny continued the launching tradition with his eldest son, Karan, but Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas didn't click.

His second born Rajveer was picked by the Rajshri production house to star in Dono opposite another star kid, Poonam Dhillon's daughter, Paloma. Dono didn't click either.

Will he achieve his level of success we don't know but Rajveer does evoke the softer, shyer facet of his famously fuming father.


Ananya Panday, Chunky Pandey's daughter

Chunky Pandey's debut in Aag Hi Aag came at a time when the industry was looking for fresh blood to fit in the tall, handsome masala hero slot.

And for a while it looked like Chunky almost had the makings of one too. Almost.

Slick, stylish Ananya had dreamed of being in the movies for too long to get it wrong.

Neither her impressive debut in Student of the Year 2 nor her ambitious choices to follow since then have missed a beat.


Alizeh, Salman Khan's niece

But her uncle Salman Khan and the thriller's coproducer's own debut is hardly anything to write home about.

Best remembered for Rekha taming Bindu in Biwi Ho Toh Aisi, the social drama features Salman in a supporting role that has grey shades and someone else dubbing his voice.

Alizeh is a picture of poise and pluck as the campus genius excelling at cheating games in her debut, Farrey.


Ishaan Khatter, Shahid Kapoor's brother

Where Shahid Kapoor background danced his way in movies like Dil To Pagal Hai and Taal before procuring the part of a college cutie in Ishq Vishk.

His half-brother Ishaan was lucky to get his big break under Iranian master Majid Majidi as a slumdog drug dealer in Beyond the Clouds.

Both debuts are as different as cheese and chalk sharing a thumbs up response for their talent in common.


Ahaan Shetty, Suniel Shetty's son

From running a trendy fashion boutique in South Mumbai to starring as the brawny Balwaan of a B-grade action masala that did surprisingly decent business, Suniel Shetty's career is coloured in sweet surprises.

Back in the heyday of Bollywood action, Anna's dishoom dishoom prowess made sure his acting inexperience wouldn't matter.

Ahaan Shetty's toxic hero avatar in Tadap tries hard but cannot emulate the raw appeal of his muscleman daddy's fluke first hit.


Alaya F, Pooja Bedi's daughter

Despite Kabir Bedi's sophisticated imagery, daughter Pooja Bedi's entry in Hindi films was anything but.

Few will remember her sultry, silly avatar as the venomous diva in and as Vishkanya.

Beti Alaya F fares SO MUCH better.

Every single person took notice of Bedi's hugely talented kid as the pregnant teen showing up at her oblivious dad's door for help in Jawaani Jaaneman.

A star to watch out for, as we always say.


Abhimanyu Dassani, Bhagyashree's son

Bhagyashree chucked Bollywood stardom in favour of marital bliss with Himalaya Dassani.

But there's no denying the lasting impact of her sweetness and simplicity as the doe-eyed Suman on the audience following Maine Pyar Kiya's extraordinary success.

Preferring his work and not connections to do all the talking, her son Abhimanyu kicked off on a solidly independent note with the delightful Mard Ko Dard Nahi Hota, a quirky martial arts drama, making all the right noises within its discerning audience.


Tiger Shroff, Jackie Shroff's son

Jackie Shroff's bit roles led to him becoming one of Subhash Ghai's biggest discoveries in and as Hero.

There's something immensely likeable about Jaggu's lean bravado and straightforward spontaneity in the pre-gym grown heroes era.

As the champion of the latter, Tiger tries and cashes in on its nostalgia in an old wine, older bottle brand of Heropanti,


Harshvardhan Kapoor, Anil Kapoor's son

Everybody dreams of a long and prosperous career like Anil Kapoor's, but its start was hardly a bed of roses.

Blink-and-miss roles led to work down south until Ramesh Sippy cast him in a small but significant part as Amitabh Bachchan's son and Dilip Kumar's grandson in Shakti.

It wasn't until Woh Saat Din that things would finally pick up for the One Two Ka Four hero.

Son Harshvardhan isn't attracted to mainstream masala and prefers to do his own thing on his own terms.

After assisting Anurag Kashyap on Bombay Velvet, he bagged Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra's romantic musical Mirzya but it turned out to be unsuccessful at the BO.


Alia Bhatt, Pooja Bhatt's sister

Pooja Bhatt's TV film debut didn't carry any hype or hoopla but directed by her own Daddy Mahesh Bhatt, it showcased the teen actress at her heartfelt, level-headed best in a poignant father-daughter story.

Compared to that, Alia Bhatt's rich spoilt airhead Shanaya in Karan Johar's high school fantasy Student of the Year is another level of ritzy.

Newcomers dream of such a fancy first film and Alia has justified her grand launch over a career that just keeps getting better and better.

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