Wednesday, November 10, 2010

5 Star Children in Bollywood (with more to come): A Filmi Girl List

In cast you missed the last list, this is just something a little different I’m trying out... Lists in the style of The Onion AV Club and i09. Do let me know what you think!

Since Abhishek Bachchan just zung me on Twitter for saying that Bollywood is full of remakes and human remakes (aka star children) these days, I thought I would zing him back with a list of FIVE star children kicking around Bollywood (believe me, there is enough for another list in the future)! Some launches were successful and some... well, some star children were relauched right on into careers in interior design.

This isn’t to say that star children
can’t be amazingly talented and wonderful - Sonakshi Sinha (daughter of Shotgun) seems set to be the next big thing, and y'all know I love Hrithik Roshan, Ranbir Kapoor, Rani, and Tabu. And nobody can argue that star children Konkona Sen Sharma, Abhay Deol, and Aamir Khan are some of the best actors in Bollywood today. Star children can be talented directors - and I am grateful that Farah Khan and Zoya Akhtar had a chance to make successful films. Something that might not have happened otherwise because women fight a tough rode in the industry. And star children can be talented producers - we can thank Arbaaz Khan (son of writer Salim Khan) for Dabangg

But for every Farhan Akhtar there is a Fardeen Khan... let’s take a look!

1. Harman Baweja launched in
Love Story 2050 (2008)

In perhaps the most spectacular star child flame out of recent years, Harman Baweja was launched directly into the dung heap with
Love Story 2050. The son of producer Harry Baweja, Harman was hyped so much and so high that there was nowhere to go but down. Love Story 2050 (which I am slowly recapping here) was going to be INDIA’S FIRST SCIENCE FICTION FILM with HOLLYWOOD-STYLE SPECIAL EFFECTS and ZOMG PRIYANKA CHOPRA DIED HER OWN HAIR RED FOR THIS.

Once the film was released and Harman’s main skill of looking kind of like Hrithik Roshan proved unable to support the weight of an entire film, his career turned ice cold. Projects that he had signed before the release were quietly dropped and his relationship with notorious co-star dater Priyanka Chopra fizzled soon after.

Where is he now: After two more middling films -
What’s Your Rashee? and Victory - and a numerologically inspired name change (to Hurman) and then back, Harman is set to be re-launched in a remake of Bommarillu called It’s My Life. The release is currently unscheduled. Still, don't count Harman out just yet... at least he is still getting cast.

2. Uday Chopra launched in
Mohabbatein (2000)

My favorite punching bag, Uday Chopra, is son of director/producer Yash Chopra - the “Yash” of Yash Raj Studios, with whom Uday has worked with almost exclusively. In the ten years that Uday has been floating around Bollywood, he has had only a few real hits, all of which were really somebody else’s film. Shahrukh for
Mohabbatein and then Hrithik for Dhoom 2. But what Uday lacks in good looks, charm, dancing ability, and humility, he makes up for in well-connected relatives.

After the minor success of
Dhoom, Uday got his big launch as a solo hero in Neal’N’Nikki, an unfortunate romantic comedy co-starring Tanisha (Kajol’s sister) set in exotic British Columbia. Despite the racy USP of PREMARITAL SEX, audiences and critics alike refused the film.

While any actor who didn’t call Yash Chopra “Daddy” would have been given the old heave ho after this, Uday was given the chance to, yes, write, direct, and
star in another big budget romantic comedy - Pyaar Impossible. (Because he had proved that he knew what audiences wanted?) This embarrassingly personal film had Uday Chopra playing a role that seemed way too close to how he saw himself - a misunderstood genius that everybody makes fun of but is secretly the greatest person on Earth. It had the USP of Priyanka Chopra in short-shorts.

Pyaar Impossible proved impossible for audiences and critics to love at the box office.

Where is he now: Uday is currently licking his wounds over the reception of
Pyaar Impossible and haunting Twitter as his own evil twin: Daya Prochu.

3. Esha Deol launched in
Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe (2002)

(image from

As Esha’s wiki page proudly states, she won
3 awards (all touting her as the most promising newcomer) for Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe, a film in which the perpetually relauched daughter of Hema Malini and Dharmendra starred with Sanjay Kapoor (Anil Kapoor’s brother) and former child star Aftab Shivdasani. Despite that auspicious start, her display case seems destined to remain only partially filled.

Alas, Esha’s good looks and ability to wear skimpy outfits could only carry her so far and Esha has gone from top-billed heroine roles to secondary heroine roles to racy “guest appearences” to (allegedly) rehab.

Still, that doesn’t stop her name from popping up in the news every few months with a new plan for yet another relaunch. (Will she have a new sexy avatar? Another villainous avatar? A new
seedhi-saadhi avatar? WHO KNOWS?)

Where is she now: Apparently, according to today’s paper, she is currently taking career advice from cousin Abhay Deol. I can only hope that advice is: “See if Twinkle Khanna has any openings in her design firm.” She is also finishing up work on
Tell Me O Khuda - a film that is noteworthy for being a Hema Malini vanity project. One from which she fired the original director for mysterious reasons... and one which stars Esha as a girl looking for her father - her father being played her actual father, Superstar Garam Dharam.

4. Zayed Khan launched in
Chura Liyaa Hai Tumne (2003)

(Kisses, Zayed, you’re one of the good ones!)

(ETA - Because people are getting outraged. I don' t mean good actor, I mean he seems like a nice guy!)

Just so that you know I’m being fair - I actually have a soft spot for Zayed Khan, nephew of Superstar Feroz Khan. While some star sons sleepwalk through their roles, nobody could ever accuse Zayed of not trying. And nobody could accuse Zayed of not seeing where the chips lie. He had a massive hit as part of Shahrukh Khan starrer
Main Hoon Na in 2004 and has mostly stuck to multi-starrers after that, as part of the rotating collection of aging stars and star children who make up the casts of B-grade films like Mission Istanbul (Suniel Shetty, Abhishek, Vivek) and Cash (Suniel Shetty, Ajay Devgn, Esha, Riteish).

Zayed’s one big solo outing was a film that I know
only from the uber-annoying promotional trailer that plays in front of EVERY Eros Entertainment DVD released after 2006. (“Junoon, junoon, junoon, ju-nooooo-ooon!”) And despite an admittedly catchy soundtrack from the one and only Himesh Reshemmiya, the film swiftly tanked.

Where is he now: Zayed’s lone 2010 outing was a “friendly appearence” in
Anjaana Anjaani but you can catch him in 2011 in a film that is right in his wheelhouse... Tezz (with Tusshar Kapoor, Ajay Devgn, Anil Kapoor).

5. Abhishek Bachchan launched in
Refugee (2000)

Come on! I had to include him, right? While I know that many of you enjoy his style of acting and/or his gawky charms, you have to admit that Abhishek (son of the one and only BIG B - AMITABH BACHCHAN) has only been able to hang around in Bollywood for as long as he has because he is the Big B’s son.

The young “B” had a
record number of 17 flops before finally getting a hit in 2004’s Dhoom. I recommend checking out the link, since it lists all his flops and hits - 5 at the time (2008), to which we can add... Dostana (with help from John Abraham’s butt) and Paa (with huge amounts of help from Daddy).

Abhishek Bachchan is, at best, a B-grade star at the same level of Ajay Devgn or John Abraham, except much lazier. What separates Abhi from the pack is that he has what Hollywood blind items call “A-list name recognition.” One gets the sense that when Abhi actually
tries at a role, we’re all so surprised that we immediately jump to praise him for his performance. What other actor gets such a pass from both production houses and critics? He may not pull in money or a performance but casting him will get people talking - of course, if you are Mani Ratnam and the movie is Raavan, which hinges on his performance, your ploy may backfire. If you are Balki and the film is Paa, which hinges on the great Amitabh Bachchan, then you win the publicity war.

Perhaps Abhishek’s greatest performance - outside of
Dostana - has been that of “Bollywood Celebrity.” There is nobody else quite like him on the interview circuit or on Twitter. He is laid back, charming, and completely unfazed by the trappings of celebrity. And he may not give great performances but you can always count on his “cool dude” persona to lend some cachet to songs like “Dus” or “Sabse Bada Rupiya” or to talk really confidently about whatever artsy film he’s currently working on. And in the end, that will probably be what we remember him best for.

Where is he now: Besides zinging me on Twitter, the Junior B is going to be seen in
Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey. Directed by Ashutosh Gowarikar, this seems set to be another Umrao Jaan, only minus the pretty costumes and dancing. (But it will see the re-launch of Sikander Kher, son of Kirron Kher). We are almost guaranteed a bloated run time and overly pedantic dialogue delivery from Abhi. If Ashutosh couldn’t get a decent performance out of Hrithik in Jodhaa-Akbar what chance does Abhi have? He’s also got Dum Maro Dum - an allegedly “realistic” film about drugs in Goa (blurgh) - and is possibly doing a cameo in Jackky Bhagnani’s (son of Vashu Bhagnani) relaunch film F.A.L.T.U..

(Ah... good times, video! I had fun making this!)

There are SO MANY MORE and I will get to them - I promise!


eliza bennet said...

Come on yaar, you put Abhi together with Zayed, Harman and Uday? I object! Unlike those three Abhi can actually act. He also has comic timing.

I also object that he is lazy. I think sometimes he tries too hard :) And he sure got better at dancing.

And I really hope that his films make money and good box office.

Bombay Talkies said...

Abhi is hilarious, and honestly I think he's one of the better actors in the biz nowadays. Certainly he's better than Salman, SRK, Akki, etc. I know you don't like him but give him some credit. You've seen Yuva haven't you? I'm pretty sure that came out just before Dhoom and he was fantastic in it. In fact I can't think of an Abhishek Bachchan film I haven't enjoyed, and I've seen them all (except for Naach--you couldn't pay me to watch that one!).

(Hope you include Sanjay Dutt in a future Star Kids post!)

Sami Saayer said...

i kinda agree with the above two comments.
but first i need to get to zayed. you ruined this post for me when you said he is better than the others in the list. i think he is the worst of them all (i havent seen any of harman's or HURMAN's movies). Uday at least has a better dialoge delivery than his.
abhishek, on the other hand, i think is a better actor but needs a very good director to handle him. guru, for example. i happen to like sarkar too. im not a bug dhoom fan though and i dont know what jp dutta was trying to do in umrao jan.
future star kids posts need to have sanjoo baba of course but should do with farhan akhtar (the actor), fardeen khan, tushhaar kapoor (which to me is just as good as harman or hurman), karan johar!

PS: is riteish desmukh a star kid? his father was a mumbai star wasnt he?

Filmi Girl said...

Maybe I should go back and clarify that I don't think Zayed is a GOOD actor - I just think he seems like a nice guy. ;P

And absolutely I can include Farhan the actor - oh, I've seen Karthik Calling Karthik - and Sanju-baba, who is another lazy actor...

I know Abhi has fans and some people enjoy his talent but my point was that there is no way that he would have lasted so long and gotten so many plum roles if he didn't have that A-list name recognition... (the rest was just me starting trouble because I was cranky... but I still don't like him. ;DDD)

eliza bennet said...

"is riteish desmukh a star kid? his father was a mumbai star wasnt he?"

Riteish is worse, his father is some state official or municipal authority in Mumbai. And that and his sycophancy to 'fraternity' are the only things why we watch him in films. Seriously

Filmi girl, I think Abhi would not be in the films if it was not his father who insisted that he should. He didn't think cinema as a career option. But now that he is here I think he'd be just as liked. (Actually you forgot to mention that he is son of Jaya Bachachan :) )

Filmi Girl said...

@eliza You are correct about Riteish but I actually LOVE watching him in films. I think he is a fabulous actor - and perpetually underrated. (IMHO, obviously) He was the only thing I liked in Bluffmaster... ;P

That's almost worse that he didn't want to do films... I resent every time I have to watch him on screen and I don't care who knows it!

I try not to pick on him too much but every once in a while I can't help it! It all comes out... but then at this point, I think everybody knows I'm not always nice. ;DDD

eliza bennet said...

It is cool yaar, I don't like Riteish (he has nothing going for him afaic) and you state your reasons in a civilised manner and have no objection to hear counter arguments and it would be really boring if everyone likes the same actor no?

I truly enjoy standing up for Abhi every chance I got and it is good to do so against a sane and rational individual.

Filmi Girl said...

@eliza Life would be SO boring if everybody thought the same thing! :DDD

I like a good debate! I feel like everybody in Bollywood is always trying to avoid sounding controversial and praising every actor but I don't think it's that much fun to read (or write). :)

Amaluu said...

I would stand up for Abhi, who I've always liked and is one of the few actors I would watch a film specifically for ... but then I just consider the list of actors you like Kara (Kareena, Akki, Kat) and chalk it up to us being on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Also, just a thought. I find star kids less annoying that totally untalented, seemingly brainless actor/models that only exist in B'wood for looks/skinshow.

But there HAVE been some pretty awful star kids in the past ... luckily the truly awful ones fade out on their own. I'm waiting for certain other ones to do so (cough cough ... Tusshar) ...

Filmi Girl said...

@amaluu We are totally on opposite side of the spectrum!! :D Vive la difference!

You make a good point about models - I can't stand some of the Miss Universes cluttering up Bollywood. I'd rather see an "unusual-looking" star child than a perfect swimsuit model in a film anytime.

Maybe Twinkle has room in her design firm for Tusshar! He is, I'm almost 100% sure, a "Friend of Dorothy" and would probably enjoy it!

Shell said...

Yes, just how far does the apple fall from the tree?
I agree with your choices for sure, though I feel a little bad for Zayed Khan - he had potential once he cut his hair in MHN!

I have to admit that my admiration for baby b is beginning to waver, especially after watching the horrendous Naach. I'm pretty sure he sleepwalked through that role (though I still did him when he smiles).

I would for sure put Fardeen Khan and Bobby Deol on this list as well. I can hardly stomach either of them! It's a wonder some people keep trying, though you have to at least give them credit for being persistent.

Sami Saayer said...

i think i understand what you feel about ab junior. its similar to what i feel about tushaar and fardeen. bobby deol is a relatively more successful star son. soldier, gupt etc.
who was that actor who starred against mandakini in a movie called loha. i think it was a kapoor.

eliza bennet said...

Ok stop me before I even try to defend Naach. The thing is I liked the film (despite RGV's pervy shots - I think of them as one nasty side effect of something otherwise very good).

Aside from the perviness and that weird costumes and that little unnecessary digs (to KJo and Farah) I think Naach told a decent story and I totally believed that Abhi in the film was a struggling actor. I bought his character arc and think it is actually one of his good performances imho.

Now Bobby Deol, ok I just wrote two paraghraphs about how I dislike that guy but then thought he is not even worth of discussion.

Shell said...

Eliza - I think Naach had the potential to be a good movie. The story is there. I think that RGV just focused his attention on the wrong things. Literally.

I will have to visit that Bobby Deol post!

Also, I realize I made a spelling error in my previous comment. I "dig" Abhi's smile. Not did! NOT DID!!

Fabulous buys said...

while i agree with most on the above list.. ABHI does not belong there.
yes he is having some rough phase.. but he has proven himself as good actor from his first movie. i do know how u feel about him as well...and it being your blog & all.

Note from Filmi Girl:

I love Bollywood - and all the ridiculous things that happen in Bollywood - but it doesn't mean that I can't occasionally make fun of various celebrities and films.

If you don't like my sense of humor, please just move on by - Trolls are not appreciated and nasty comments will be deleted.

xoxo Filmi Girl
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