Mumbai: There can be an endless debate on nepotism in Bollywood but the fact of the matter is that it gives star kids only the privilege of a launchpad. Of course, getting a break is also a huge privilege too. Star kids get to play lead roles solely on the basis of their background, while their acting skills are taken for granted, almost as if they were in the genes!
On the other hand, rank outsiders, who have oodles of talent struggle until their mid-thirties or so to prove their talent and survive on two-bit roles till then. The examples are legion.
However, at the end of the day, it is the audience that decides. An actor’s survival in the film industry depends solely on the acceptance of the audience, talent, or no talent.
Then, of course, there is lady luck.
There are several star kids who failed to carve a niche for themselves in the industry despite being born to legendary parents.
Here are some who couldn’t impress:
- Suneil Anand, son of Dev Anand: He was launched in 1984 with the movie ‘Anand Aur Anand’, which bombed at the box-office. Then, after giving a few more flop films, such as ‘Car Thief’ in 1986, ‘Main Tere Liye’ in 1988 and ‘Master’ in 2001, Suneil disappeared from the silver screen. Now, he is helming his father’s production company, Navketan Films.
- Riya Sen, daughter of popular actress Moon Moon Sen and granddaughter of Suchitra Sen: She stepped into the industry in 1991 as a child actress in the film ‘Vishkanya’. In 2001, she garnered attention for her low-budget comedy film ‘Style’. After that, she did several movies, most of them being low-budget, which didn’t fare well at the box-office. In addition to Hindi films, Riya has appeared in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and English films also. Even after featuring in several films, Riya is yet to achieve success like her mother Moon Moon Sen.
- Bobby and Esha Deol, children of Bollywood He-Man Dharmendra: Both couldn’t make as powerful an impact as their father. Esha Deol made her debut in 2002 with ‘Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe’. After her first film, she gave a series of flops and gradually gave up acting. Bobby made his debut in 1995 with ‘Barsaat’. He did a string of hit films like ‘Gupt’, ‘Soldier’ and ‘Badal’ initially in the 90s, but later failed to impress the audience. After giving some average and some flops at the box-office, Bobby took a break from acting in 2012 after starring in ‘Players’. He made a comeback in 2017 with ‘Poster Boys’. He was last seen in ‘Housefull 4’ in 2019.
- Tusshar Kapoor, son of Bollywood Jumping Jack Jeetendra: His acting skills failed to make a mark. He made his debut in 2001 with ‘Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai’. Then he did average films like ‘Kya Dil Ne Kaha’, ‘Jeena Sirf Merre Liye’ and ‘Gayab’. He did star in some hit multi-starrers such as ‘Khakee’, ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’ and ‘Golmaal’ series, but did not manage to sustain the audience’s interest in him.
- Akshaye and Rahul Khanna, sons of charismatic actor Vinod Khanna: They too failed to reach the pinnacle of success like their father. Akshaye Khanna made his Bollywood debut in 1997 with ‘Himalay Putra’, which failed at the box-office. He then gave a string of hits like ‘Border’, ‘Taal’ and ‘Dil Chahta Hai’. He gave some average and flop films till 2012. After his film ‘Gali Gali Mein Chor Hai’ failed at the box-office in 2012, he took a hiatus for 4 years. He returned to the silver screen in 2016 with ‘Dishoom’. Rahul Khanna made his debut with Deepa Mehta’s ‘1947 Earth’ in 1999. He did a few films namely ‘Wake Up Sid’, ‘Elaan’ and ‘Raqeeb’, but fizzled out soon after. He switched to modelling and is doing well.
- Twinkle and Rinke Khanna, daughters of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia: Both had short-lived careers in Bollywood. Unlike their parents, who were Bollywood legends, both the= sisters couldn’t make a mark in the industry as actresses. Twinkle made her acting debut in 1995 opposite Bobby Deol in ‘Barsaat’, which was a hit. Then she did ‘Jaan’ with Ajay Devgn, which was also a hit. But after that, her acting skills failed to impress the audience and critics as well. She was last seen on the big screen in 2001 opposite Fardeen Khan in ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’. Then she got married to Akshay Kumar and quit acting. Now, she is a well-known author, newspaper columnist, interior designer, and a film producer. Rinkie Khanna made her debut with ‘Pyar Mein Kabhi Kabhi’ in 1999. After that she did a couple of films namely ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Rehta Hain’ in 2000, ‘Yeh Hai Jalwa’ in 2002, ‘Jhankaar Beats’ and ‘Chameli’ in 2003. However, she couldn’t carve a niche for herself in the industry like her parents. In 2003, she married businessman Sameer Saran and now she lives in the United Kingdom with her family.
- Prateik Babbar, son of Raj Babbar and Smita Patil: He failed to create magic on the big screen. He made his debut with ‘Jaane Tu…..Ya Jaane Na’. In 2011, he appeared in four films, ‘Dhobi Ghat’, ‘Dum Maro Dum’, ‘Aarakshan’, and ‘My Friend Pinto’. Then he gave a few flops and in 2013, before going into rehab in Mumbai for substance abuse. He joined the acting school Jeff Goldberg Studio in 2016. In 2018, he made a comeback with ‘Baaghi 2’.
- Fardeen Khan, son of renowned actor Firoz Khan: He began his acting career in 1998 with ‘Prem Aggan’, which failed at the box-office. He went on to do films such as ‘Jungle’ in ‘Pyar Tune Kya Kiya’, ‘Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega’, ‘Hum Hogaye Aapke’ and many other average and poorly-rated films. In 2010, after his last film ‘Dulha Mil Gaya’, Fardeen took a hiatus from movies to focus on his family. However, there are reports that the actor is looking forward to making a comeback in Bollywood.
- Uday Chopra, younger son of renowned filmmaker Yash Chopra: He couldn’t attain stardom despite his father’s big bannered films. Yash Chopra gave a break to many stars and is known for his blockbuster movies, but his son Uday failed to impress movie buffs. He made his debut with ‘Mohabbatein’ in 2000, and after giving a few flops at the box office, Uday bid adieu to acting.
- Rajeev Kapoor, son of legend Raj Kapoor: He debuted in ‘Ek Jaan Hain Hum’ in 1983 and went on to do ‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’, which was a super hit. But he had to wrap up his journey in Bollywood very soon.
- Mimoh Chakravarty, son of Mithun Chakravarty: He debuted in ‘Jimmy’ in 2008. His first film was a disaster and after that, he hardly did a couple of films. He soon faded away from the silver screen.
- Tanishaa Mukherji, daughter of actress Tanuja and Kajol’s sister: She made her debut in 2005 with ‘Neal N Nikki’. She was seen doing smaller roles in films like ‘Sarkar’ and ‘Tango Charlie’. But none of her films could get her the fame which her mother and sister got.
There are many other star kids whose career did not take off or who could not match their parents’ success. Some of them are, Jubilee Star Rajendra Kumar’s son Gaurav Kumar, Sulakshna Padit’s sister Vijeta Pandit, Shilpa Shetty’s sister Shweta Shetty, Govinda’s daughter Narmada, Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor, Suneil Shetty’s daughter Athiya Shetty, Manoj Kumar’ son Kunal Goswami, Mala Sinha’s daughter Pratibha Sinha and many more.