As The Nepotism Debate Rages, An Honest Look At Some Star Kid Debuts

While I remember little else from Saawariya other than my struggle to stay awake while watching the film, I do remember wondering occasionally if Sonam Kapoor too had dozed off on screen.

As The Nepotism Debate Rages, An Honest Look At Some Star Kid Debuts
As The Nepotism Debate Rages, An Honest Look At Some Star Kid Debuts

The last few weeks have witnessed relentless debates on the circles of privilege that exist in Bollywood and how they cast out talented, young actors who don’t belong from film families.

While a sizeable section of the ‘industry kids’ — as they are referred to — have often showed a shocking lack of humility and empathy while talking about their privileges, some of them have evolved to show a nuanced take on the issue.

While the debate on how privilege insulates star kids in the industry rages, here’s a look at some famous debuts of children of actors and producers in Bollywood.

I suspect the script for Heropanti (2014) was written for a fashionable rubber band. And Shroff played the character to a fault, springing off things and onto humans like a rubber band left unsupervised in a fifth standard classroom.

Called Bablu in the film, Shroff was ‘vocal for local’ at a time male names were steadily moving away from shuddh desi Bablus and Pintus to Vivaans and Avocadyamans. However, his Hindi lines unfortunately sounded like they had been unwillingly tossed out of a peak-hour Bombay local at Bandra station. Every sentence was painfully punctuated and kind of dazed.

That Kriti Sanon could emote looking at Shroff’s face, which had all the emotions of the aforementioned rubber band, is a feat worth lauding. Or maybe, considering he is a privileged Indian man — a species whose favourite dance move is banging an imaginary hammer mid-air when the bass drops — Shroff’s fantastic dancing skills were truly romance-inducing.

While Shroff’s styling has evolved, he now delivers his lines like a laborious student who has his lessons by heart, and his face looks angry while he punches and kicks, seven films and six years since his debut, Shroff still has to learn nuance.

Why Saawariya (2007) came into being will remain a mystery as befuddling to me as why Delhi eats momos with mayonnaise. However, since it was the ‘launch vehicle’ for Sonam Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor, the film’s release was preceded by breathless media coverage like Bhansali had invented painless waxing or something.

While I remember little else from Saawariya other than my struggle to stay awake while watching the film, I do remember wondering occasionally if Sonam Kapoor too had dozed off on screen.

I mean, can you blame the girl? You put her in clothes that looked heavier than my Delhi winter blanket, dim the lights to that blue, play the lullaby music…unless her lunch reminded her how this opportunity was served to her on a platter, like her salad, and kept her up, there was no way she could have not dozed off on that set.

And the few times she looked awake, Kapoor’s stock expression was ‘stunned’, like she had been told that Arnab Goswami actually knew the difference between Shein and Siachen.

While Kapoor’s expression of anguish on screen, 13 years since her debut, still looks like someone has snatched her plate of quinoa biryani from her, she had helmed some important projects like Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga, which made a lot of difference to how queerness is represented in mainstream Bollywood.

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