Nepotism has been a matter strongly debated in Bollywood ever since Queen Kangana Ranaut stirred up the hornet’s nest. Since forever, tinsel town has been about the Kapoors and Khans and such other names that have almost come to be eponyms. Even with scathing criticism, Bollywood’s love saga with furthering personal ties continues unabated. There are actors and actresses who have emerged to be both the successes and failures of nepotism in Bollywood. Here are some of the biggest names that are not so honourable mentions when it comes to nepotism in Bollywood-
Arguably one of the most talented among the current crop of Bollywood stars, Alia Bhatt might be a product of nepotism but to good measure. She started out with Karan Johar’s fancy high school drama Student of the Year in a role defined more by glamour but moved on to significant essaying of her acting prowess with films like Highway, Raazi, Dear Zindagi and others.
The daughter of veteran film maker Mahesh Bhatt, Alia’s claim to fame rests not just on her roots in the never ending saga of nepotism in Bollywood. The Bhatt girl definitely knows how to portray every emotion with perfection and with her choice of roles that range from uptown funky to carefree spirited to even refined maturity, the young girl sure makes us thankful for once for the nepotism that runs high and dry through the land of Bollywood.
The son of director David Dhawan who is known for his many comedy films, Varun Dhawan also started his career alongside Alia Bhatt though not continuing in a vein as infectious as her. Sure, he is one of the new age heart throbs who has girls swooning over his decent looks, his dance moves and charisma but the flair sure does not extend as much to his histrionics. Yet, in his many entertaining outings like SOTY, Tu Mera Hero, ABCD2, Humpty Sharma ki Dulhaniya and critically acclaimed ones like Badlapur and October, Dhawan has managed to assert his charm when it comes to his screen presence emerging as one of the luckier products of nepotism in Bollywood.
Anil Kapoor might be the most proudly enthusiastic man in Bollywood yet even at 60 but his pride sadly cannot be carried off by daughter Sonam’s acting credibilities. Sure, she made her debut with Saawariya opposite Ranbir Kapoor, one of the finer products of Bollywood, but she failed to impress us then and she fails miserably every time now. The only impression she manages is with her sartorial choices that has labelled as the fashionista in Bollywood. Even at the risk of sounding sexist, we believe that Sonam should rather stick to style than to the stage.
With his Greek God like looks and his killer dance moves, Hrithik Roshan is one of those Bollywood stars who banks on his chiseled jaws and hard earned bod to drive fans crazy. In being the son of Rakesh Roshan, Hrithik sure is another flagbearer of nepotism in tinsel town. But his decent acting skills and droolworthy abs more than offsets his acceptably limited repertoire of privileging it out.
Arjun Kapoor has a whole lineage of a filmy family at his backing yet this star kid has failed every time he has ventured on screen. Be it his non existent dancing and acting skills or even a lack of charismatic presence, Arjun Kapoor is one of the duds that nepotism prevailing in the lanes of Bollywood has tortured us with. In fact Arjun is so bad that he makes cousin and Bollywood ‘actress’ Sonam Kapoor look good!
Just because he is talented does not mean we will not be calling out Farhan Akhtar as yet another product of nepotism. A director par excellence and a decent actor, son of the illustrious Javed Akhtar, Farhan is no doubt one among the better elites in Bollywood. He has churned out masterpieces like Dil Chahta Hai and his voice resonates with a depth that makes his brilliant ideas and his even more brilliant words rev everything up. Even when he started out on his own, we cannot overlook the privileges that Farhan has been entitled to as one of those star kids in town.
Daughter of actor Suniel Shetty, Athiya is just a couple of films old in Bollywood but in her limited appearance she has convinced us that she indeed cannot pass off as even a mediocre actor. She isn’t downright bad, but she somehow lacks what it takes to be a credible performer in Bollywood.
Ranbir Kapoor is the man carrying forward the legacy of the illustrious Kapoor clan, which has always been a name to be reckoned with in Bollywood. But even in his definite roots in the nepotism that clamours Bollywood, Kapoor is an actor par excellence. He has delivered hits and flops in equal measure but that does not take anything away from his fine acting skills and his versatility in adapting to each of his character portrayals. He does charisma and chaos, demure and debonair, stoic and sunny with equal ease. Perhaps it is the biggest testament of his histrionic abilities that even in his flops, Ranbir has delivered performances that cannot simply be written off.
Sara Ali Khan
She is perhaps one of the most elaborately discussed among new age Bollywood star kids even before she had made her big debut. And of course, with a legacy that boasts of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh as her parents, Sara has much to uplift and ’empower’ her.
Even her debut movie Kedarnath managed to project her as an actor with a flair, mostly living up to the buzz it had created pre- release. Her performance within the limited ambit of her character in an essentially Bollywood style dramatised romance speaks volumes about her potential as someone who can mesmerise with her histrionics. Naturally then, with her nuanced acting skills and undeniable grace and beauty, we hope Sara Ali Khan emerges to be among the successes of nepotism in Bollywood. Of course it’s too early to say anything about her credibility as a performer yet, but the fact that the Bollywood royalite already has our fancy sure holds her in good stead than many of her contemporaries!
The perfectionist of Bollywood, Aamir Khan might be one of the lesser known products of nepotism in Bollywood but he sure is one. And a good one at that! The son of film producer Tahir Hussain, Khan’s versatility and commendability when it comes to acting is second to none. If only all star kids were at least somewhat as good as him there wouldn’t have been anyone dissing about this whole nepotism saga overruling the many facets of Bollywood.
His stupendous martial art moves (extended to his dance style) and chiseled body are perhaps all we will ever have of action hero Tiger Shroff. He might be the son of actor Jackie Shroff who has time and again delivered quite ‘the’ performances but it doesn’t make things any better for the Baaghi actor. There really is nothing more to all of junior Shroff’s films than his jumping and running and sprinting and what not!
She might have inherited the energy of her legendary father Shatrughan Sinha’s Shotgun presence but she sure does not display any effectiveness as an actor. She started out with the successful Dabanng franchisee but her role wasn’t anything substantial enough to have made some impact. Almost a decade later, she has starred in quite some films that has been commercially viable but hasn’t validated her acting prowess yet.
He slips the public eye when it comes to the nepotism debate even when he has been continuously launching his favoured people in Bollywood. But not just in augmenting his own. Khan himself is a product of nepotism. The son of producer- screenwriter Salim Khan, Salman didn’t have the hero type physique when he debuted in tinsel town. Decades later, he has the body to deliver punches and kicks but still without the acting skill that would have made him the complete performer.
For someone who is the son of the legendary Amitabh Bachchan, expectations obviously were high from Junior Bachchan, Abhishek. But the latter did not only fail miserably at his every attempt at acting but also rose to become the butt of jokes courtesy his barely there expressions even when he’s supposed to inherit the genes of Big B and also of his equally acting proficient mother Jaya Bachchan. Abhishek did manage to do a few films every now and then, none of which has been remarkable enough to be etched in public memory. He continues to thrive though with such legacy at his backing and makes rare appearances on the silver screen.
Not many know but another Bollywood actor Emraan Hashmi is a ‘distant’ product of nepotism. Courtesy his uncle Mahesh Bhatt, the Murder actor managed to find a stronghold in Bollywood and has enjoyed moderate success in films. Hashmi himself has admitted to this connection but he still is a better actor than most other in Bollywood who owe their film journey to their lineage.
Among the worst faring of the new age star kids in Bollywood is Shraddha Kapoor, the daughter of yesteryear funnyman Shakti Kapoor. Be it her choice of half baked roles or her tendency to try and go overboard to the extent it messed things up, Shraddha has been a disappointment. Her films have tasted quite some commercial success with the sweeping love saga Aashiqui 2 and her dance performance in ABCD2 has been commendable. But apart from that, there hasn’t been anything substantial that can justify Shraddha Kapoor’s existence in Bollywood, if not for nepotism.
Shahid Kapoor is the son of Pankaj Kapoor, a veteran in the realm of Bollywood and Indian theater. And his tremendous acting exploits does stand testament to the genes he inherited. Ever since he made his Bollywood debut in 2003, Shahid has done roles as diverse as chalk and cheese. Be it being adorable in his chocolate boy image or as the romantic hero and the guy with a flair for humour or intensity and being downright forgettable in many of his outings, Shahid Kapoor has evolved and grown as an actor to be one of the worthiest products of nepotism in Bollywood.
The daughter of yesteryears Bollywood diva Sridevi, Janhvi Kapoor recently made her Bollywood debut with Karan Johar’s Dhadak that made headlines even before it was released. Just a film old in the industry, it would be inappropriate to laud the young actor as a success or brush her off as being a failure, but in her limited screen presence she had been okayish though not very convincing.
Boasting the Chopra surname does not seem to hold any worth for Uday Chopra whose Bollywood outings have been dismal to say the least. Even with the reputed production house Yash Raj Films at the fore, Uday’s hilarious Twitter jargon is the only laudable aspect of his otherwise barely there personality.
Sharing Uday Chopra’s fate when it comes to his Bollywood exploits is another ‘lineageally privileged but histrionically not’ star kid Tusshar Kapoor. The son of the illustrious Jeetendra and sibling of the telly- soap queen Ekta Kapoor, Tusshar hasn’t proved himself much in Bollywood even almost two decades after his debut. He does have the backing of a big production banner in Balaji Motion Picture but influence ceases to speak when there isn’t much talent to back that up.
A perfectionist mamu in Aamir Khan and yet actor Imran Khan could not make it matter in Bollywood even when he made his debut with the hugely successful coming of age rom- com film Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. But that was his only tryst with success and 10 years hence, it still remains his most successful film.
Saif Ali Khan
Another actor who very much owes his Bollywood presence to his illustrious legacy is Chote Nawab Saif Ali Khan. Even when he isn’t uttered in the same breath when nepotism in Bollywood is spoken about, Saif is very much a product of the same. The son of Sharmila Tagore, Saif’s choice of films has been interesting over the years in tinsel town and with a decent repertoire of acting skills Khan is very much a notable presence in Bollywood.
Daughter of Bollywood funnyman Chunky Pandey, Ananya is another star kid who has just barged into the horizon in Bollywood. Student of the Year 2, with which Ananya made her debut wasn’t exactly the dream debut as far as performances are concerned even when it was a KJo production. But the extent to which the young gun is raved about points to the rampant presence of nepotism in Bollywood.