Talent Management

Being a star kid is no guarantee of success as an actor

It's raining debutantes in the Indian film industry this season and most of them are kids of Bollywood biggies. Karan Johar's next release, Student of the Year, stars Alia Bhatt, daughter of Mahesh Bhatt and Soni Razdan, who'll be playing the lead opposite David Dhawan's son, Varun, while Jackie Shroff's son, Tiger, and Hema Malini's daughter, Ahana, will be seen in other films shortly. With the exception of Ranbir Kapoor, this is the next wave of star kids who have been launched after Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor over a decade ago.

Exactly how much of an advantage is it when you're trying to make it as an actor in movies, to be the offspring of a superstar actor-producer? Huge, of course. You have a foot well ensconced in the door without trying, access to heavyweights in the profession and ready-made celebrity status, just by being so-and-so's son or daughter. But if you look at some of the star kids in Bollywood right now, many of them are struggling to find an identity or have already fallen by the wayside.

Not all the might of Yashraj Studios could turn Uday Chopra into a sought-after hero. Esha Deol, Fardeen Khan and Vinod Khanna's son, Rahul, have remained on the fringes for years. One could argue, however, that they at least got this far because of their successful parents and some impact is better than none at all. Sonam Kapoor, despite being the daughter of Anil Kapoor, who has successfully straddled commercial, art and international cinema for over two decades, is moving closer to oblivion, with not a single hit to talk about after an unexceptional three years. While her contemporary, Deepika Padukone, who has no filmi connection, has a string of hits behind her. And despite her filmi pedigree, even the extremely talented Kareena Kapoor had a string of flops before establishing herself as an actress par excellence. Abhishek Bachchan, the best-known struggler in Bollywood, is still on shaky ground, hardly an appropriate situation for a man in his mid-30s.

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