Family Matters – two takes


On the one hand, a story in the Washington Post about lower class/caste men and women trying to break into the film industry (go here):

Today, a trickle of actors, dancers and screenwriters from India’s lower and middle castes are trying to break into a formerly impenetrable star system, full of actors from Bollywood royalty and other insiders hailing from high-caste families. New drama schools are training Indians from all castes. And Bollywood is starting to tackle more serious plots that could potentially star low-caste actors.

“Will you get more attention if you have the right surname and are part of an entrenched star family? Of course,” said Anupama Chopra, a film critic and author of several best-selling books on Bollywood. “But there is increasing space now for a booming Bollywood film industry, and there’s a feeling that if you are talented enough, well, maybe you will get noticed, no matter what your family ties are.”

And on the other hand, Time Out Mumbai offers a map of the film industry to illustrate how important family ties are (subscription required, link):

Despite enormous changes in recent years, the Hindi film industry is still influenced tremendously by society’s most basic unit. A snap survey of today’s noteworthy actors reveals that many of them were either born into a film family or married into one. Hrithik Roshan? The son of actor-turned-filmmaker Rakesh Roshan and the grandson of filmmaker J Om Prakash. Salman Khan? The son of scriptwriter Salim Khan. Aamir Khan? The son of filmmaker Tahir Hussain, the nephew of producer Nasir Hussain, and the cousin of director Mansoor Khan. Abhishek Bachchan? The son of Amitabh Bachchan and Jaya Bhaduri. Saif Ali Khan? The son of Sharmila Tagore. Kareena Kapoor? A member of the Kapoor clan. Kajol? The daughter of actor Tanuja and director Shomu Mukherjee. Rani Mukerji? A member of the Mukherjee clan and the niece of Bengali actor Debashree Roy. The only outsider to have made it in recent times without family connections is Shah Rukh Khan. Akshay Kumar qualified too until he married Twinkle Khanna, herself an actor and the daughter of actors Dimple Kapadia and Rajesh Khanna.

Many more DNA matches can be found among directors, producers, and distributors as well as among second-rung actors. These include Karan Johar, Rohan Sippy, Goldie Behl, Aditya Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Sidharth Anand, Sajid Nadiadwala, Anil Thadani, Meghna Gulzar, Amrita Arora, Zayed Khan, Esha Deol, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Ravi Chopra, Shaad Ali, Pooja Bhatt, Bobby Deol, Farah Khan and Sanjay Leela Bhansali.


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