The A to Z of Nepotism in 2023
Will 2023 vindicate nepotism within the film industry? Youngsters or young actor combinations, in theory, are supposed to bring in big success in cinema: from Sawan Bhadon (1970)’s Navin Nischol and Rekha to Bobby (1973)’s Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia downwards, new star pairs or even debutant heroes and heroines have often given us hits. Yes, no actor alone brings success—the script, direction and overall content decides that!—but new talent has always been known to enhance the success quotient.
Bobby, Love Story, Hero, Betaab, Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak, Maine Pyar Kiya, Phool Aur Kaante, Kaho Naa…Pyaar Hai et al have been among the biggest hits of their respective years, and, interestingly, most of them have had heroes and heroines from within the industry.
Over the last four years over so, however, feverish debates and controversies have been stirred against nepotism in the film industry, as if it is some social evil that prevents deserving breaks to outsiders—never mind if Akshay Kumar, Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone or Kriti Sanon among many other outsiders have made it big.
Like the boycott brigade (which also ‘takes up cudgels’ against nepotism and its resultant faces sometimes!), this is a blind yet fomenting alley of hate and dislike that has no logical base. For had nepotism been the be-all and end-all of success, we would not have had a Zayed Khan, a Soha Ali Khan, a Rinke Khanna or an Arya Babbar—among dozens of others!
As a phenomenon across professions, nepotism is time-honored and definitely not always successful for very obvious reasons, obviously led by competence in the respective fields. R.D. Burman and lyricist Sameer (in terms of sheer quantum and commerce), Anu Malik, Hrithik Roshan, Kajol. Karisma and Kareena Kapoor (Khan) or Shahid Kapoor, Amjad Khan, lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar and a few more are among those rare names that went beyond their parents in fame, success or caliber.
In the anti-nepotism phase, Karan Johar (himself the son of producer Yash Johar) has been majorly “accused” of pandering to this with a bevy of film industry-based protégés (Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt, Ananya Panday, Ishaan Khatter, Janhvi Kapoor, directors Abhishek Verman, Karan Malhotra and Ayan Mukerji et al), but it is left to be seen if nepotism can help save the Hindi film industry’s sagging fortunes in 2023.
Here then is the A to Z list of the latest newcomers that will arrive in 2023 and whose roots lie within the film industry. An opening has been made by Aasman Bhardwaj, son of director-composer Vishal Bhardwaj, as director of Kuttey, but the film is an unmitigated disaster that has collected less than Rs. 3.5 crore across the opening weekend and has since collapsed despite a cast toplined by Tabu, Arjun Kapoor, Konkona Sensharma and Naseeruddin Shah! It’s one down, but so many more to go, especially on-screen.
How we know him: Grandson to Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan.
First film: His OTT debut, Zoya Akhtar (herself the daughter of Javed Akhtar and Honey Irani!)’s film The Archies. His big-screen debut will follow with Sriram Raghavan’s Ikkis, a biopic on Param Vir Chakra-winning soldier Arun Khetarpal, which will co-star Dharmendra.
How we know her: Daughter of actor-filmmaker Atul Agnihotri and fashion designer-producer Alvira Khan. She is niece, therefore, to Rati Agnihotri (Virwani) and Salman Khan.
First film: Netflix’s next directed by Soumendra Padhi of Jamtara fame.
How we know him: Shah Rukh Khan’s and Gauri’s Khan son, who was accused but later acquitted in a drug racket. Brother to Suhana Khan, who will also debut this year.
First work: He is writing and directing a web series for his parents’ banner of Red Chillies Entertainment. He has graduated from University of Southern California in Fine Arts, Cinematic Arts, Film and Television Production.
Ibrahim Ali Khan
How we know him: Son to Saif Ali Khan (himself Sharmila Tagore’s offspring) and Amrita Singh and also Sara Ali Khan’s brother.
First film: Ibraham Ali Khan will make his debut with the remake of the 2022 Malayalam hit Hridayam. Karan Johar, again, is the producer along with Star Studios. Kajol (Tanuja’s daughter) co-stars and Kayoze Irani (son to Boman Irani) directs this thriller.
How we know him: Aamir Khan (himself the son of filmmaker Tahir Husain) and his ex-wife Reena’s son.
First film: His Maharaja is reportedly based on the infamous 1862 Maharaja libel case, and is produced by Yash Raj Films. Shalini Pandey, Sharvari Wagh and Jaideep Ahlawat are also in the cast. The film is directed by Siddharth P. Malhotra, who directed Hichki. Junaid has had considerable stage experience and is playing a lawyer in this film.
How we know her: Daughter to Boney Kapoor (son of producer Surinder Kapoor) and Sridevi.
First film: A student of the New York Film Academy, she co-stars also in Zoya Akhtar’s The Archies.
How we know her: Daughter to composer Rajesh Roshan and cousin to Hrithik Roshan.
First film: She plays one of the four leads in Tips Films’ Ishq Vishq Rebound. Jibraan Khan, Rohit Saraf and Naila Grewal co-star and Nipun Dharmadhikari directs.
How we know her: Sanjay Kapoor’s and Maheep Kapoor’s daughter.
First film: Having done Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl as assistant director, she moves on to star in Karan Johar’s Bedhadak, which, however, may not release in 2023. Lakshya Lalwani and Gurfateh Pirzada, two more newcomers, co-star. Shashank Khaitan directs.
How we know her: Daughter to Shah Rukh Khan and producer-wide Gauri Khan.
First film: Her first film will be The Archies on Netflix, directed by Zoya Akhtar. Based on the famous comic series and set in 1960s India, she is cast, obviously, either as Betty or Veronica. Mihir Ahuja, Dot, Yuvraj Menda and Vedang Raina form the ensemble apart from Agastya Nanda and Khushi Kapoor from the ‘nepotistic’ lot!
How we know him: Shashi Kapoor’s grandson and son to actor-ad filmmaker Kunal Kapoor and his ex-wife, photographer Sheena Sippy, who is Ramesh Sippy’s daughter.
First film: Having made his debut with the Prithvi Theatre’s play, Pitaji Please, Zahaan Kapoor will now appear in Hansal Mehta’s Faraaz, the story about a terrorist attack on a Dhaka café. This will be the next release among the newbies here, with February 3 as the release date.