By industry estimates, there are at least 50 star sons, daughters and relatives waiting to be launched in Mumbai movies. These include high-profile besties Suhana Khan, daughter of Shah Rukh Khan, and Shanaya Kapoor, daughter of Sanjay and Maheep Kapoor. But there are others as well in this long list of identity lifters who are related to those who were outsiders just a few years ago. Nupur Sanon, sister of Kriti, is one of them as are Isabelle Kaif, sister of Katrina, and Aman Preet Singh, brother of Rakul Preet. There is good reason for them to believe they can succeed where their siblings have. Take Aparshakti Khurana, brother of Ayushmann; Ishaan Khatter, stepbrother of Shahid Kapoor; Saqib Saleem, brother of Huma Qureshi. Nor is the trend restricted to actors. Imtiaz Ali is helping brothers Arif and Sajid to become directors. Is it any wonder there is such a public pushback against these entitled and titled inheritors in the industry at a time when the world is divided deeply between the haves and have-nots? And the conversation is about meritocracy and not inheritocracy?
Twenty-five years ago, Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das got the nation talking and the Shiv Sena stalking when they played sisters-in-law who fell in love in Deepa Mehta’s Fire (1996). Now, Ekta Kapoor has got TV actor Ridhi Dogra and actor-singer Monica Dogra (no relations) to play two married women who fall in love with each other in The Married Woman for ALTBalaji. The series, based on Manju Kapur’s intimate 2003 novel A Married Woman, is set in the 1990s and is fortunately not being treated like some of ALTBalaji’s made-for-the-masses entertainment like Gandii Baat. So expect the same sensitivity from the series as its literary progenitor.
Return of the Masoom Boy
He was all of nine when Shekhar Kapur chose him for the role of Naseeruddin Shah’s estranged son in Masoom (1983). One of the pretty boys in Mohabbatein (2000), Jugal Hansraj directed Yash Raj Films and Disney’s joint production Roadside Romeo (2008) and the Uday Chopra-Priyanka Chopra-starrer Pyaar Impossible! (2010). But Hansraj believes a rolling stone gathers no moss and has developed a healthy career as a novelist for children and young adults. His forthcoming second book, The Coward and the Sword, takes off from Nichiren Buddhism teacher Daisaku Ikeda’s aphorism that ‘a sword is useless in the hands of a coward’. Hansraj, who divides his time between Mumbai and New York now, where he lives with his banker wife Jasmine and their three-year-old son Sidak, was last seen as the menacing Mohit Dewan in Kahaani 2: Durga Rani Singh (2016).
Shah of Screen
Sohum Shah is one of a new breed of actors, like Vivek Gomber and Nikhil Dwivedi, who help manifest their own work. Now, after Ship of Theseus (2012) and Tumbbad (2018), critically acclaimed movies which he produced and acted in, he is getting to work with Reema Kagti. She is directing him in the Amazon Prime Video series Fallen, with Gulshan Devaiah, Sonakshi Sinha and Vijay Varma.
She’s distinguished herself in several movies in India and the West since 2003 and now seems set to build an eclectic career as a director. Having directed Roam Rome Mein in 2019 starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and herself, Tannishtha Chatterjee helmed ‘Rat-A-Tat’, one of the five short films in Amazon Prime Video’s lockdown-inspired anthology, Unpaused (2020), and is now in charge of the streaming platform’s popular Four More Shots Please! series. The all-girl series is fun, uninhibited in its display of sexuality and open in its exploration of women’s freedom. Where Chatterjee takes the third season of the show, produced by Rangita Pritish Nandy, will be interesting to see.
Did You Know?
The exodus of stars and their families to the Maldives since the lockdown was lifted is not accidental. The visits are being sponsored by the government of the island nation. All they want in return is a mention on social media tagging them. The bigger the social media presence of the star, the more lavish the treatment.