Power play in Bollywood
If you aren't a star kid already, power and money seem to be the only essential ingredients to earn your big filmi break these days
A few months ago, nobody really knew who Sachiin Joshi was.
But earlier this week, he stood flanked by Mallika Sherawat on one side and a shiny Porsche on the other, with the lady hailing him as the next superstar to watch out for. All this, at the exclusive and very expensive Dubai premiere of his debut film Azaan.
Kangna Ranaut and Chirag Paswan in Miley Naa Miley Hum
But it probably takes an instance like this to understand that a heavy bank account and a heavier surname can help get you all the headlines you've ever dreamed of.
From being the brutal space that doesn't really give 'outsiders' a chance, Bollywood now seems to be only too happy to throw its arms wide open to young names from rich and powerful families looking for their big break.
Sachiin Joshi, actor
Son of: Gutkha king
Bollywood debut: Azaan
When your father co-owns a gutkha company estimated to be over 800 crores, struggle is a word that doesn't exist in your dictionary. And newcomer Sachiin Joshi knows that pretty well. In the last few weeks, his publicity team managed to bag him headlines with everyone from Shahrukh Khan to Shakira. With two premieres, one graced by the who-is-who of Dubai and the other by King Khan in Mumbai, his red carpet entry into Bollywood couldn't have been bigger or better. Never mind the abysmal reviews his film has attracted, Mr Joshi's dream debut is everything any aspiring actor would ask for. "I want to be part of sensible cinema," he said at one of the press conferences.
Chirag Paswan, actor
Son of: Politician Ramvilas Paswan
Bollywood debut: Miley Naa Miley Hum
This seems like a classic case of politician father trying to make something of his only son's lavish life. But according to Chirag Paswan, cinema runs in his blood as much as any other star kids'. He says, "I wanted to join films ever since I was three. This has been my dream. Hailing from a powerful background definitely gives me a better platform, but eventually I think everyone needs to prove themselves." But Chirag obviously does not want to take a chance with politics. He adds, "I am not mature enough for politics," in a politically correct tone. So he's not mature for politics, but grown up enough for Bollywood!
Arunoday Singh, actor
Grandson of: Politician Arjun Singh
Bollywood debut: Sikandar
His debut in 2011 garnered many good reactions. Arunoday Singh's gangster act in Sudhir Mishra's Yeh Saali Zindagi had the critics clapping and the girls drooling. His debut may have been a dud, but apparently it was actor/producer Anil Kapoor who spotted this bright young talent in his film Aisha and hence recommended him to Sudhir Misra. For a change, he made sure to keep his rich political lineage under wraps for a bit, but obviously it wasn't something to stay hidden. "I'm here to prove myself as an actor and not use my family connections. And I don't mind struggling to get there," he was quoted in an interview to Mid-Day.
Sanjay Singh, producer
Son of: Politician Kripashankar Singh
Bollywood debut: Udaan
Politician Kripashankar Singh's son Sanjay Singh ventured into Bollywood with Udaan and Tanu Weds Manu, and is now coming up with his third film titled Gandhi Of The Month. However, for Singh, his background is just incidental. He says, "I am not here to make money. Most of my movies are art house films. I rely on my real estate business to make money. Also, just because you have power and money within your family, it doesn't mean you don't start from scratch in a new space." Interestingly his cousin Shailesh Singh is a Bollywood producer too.
Actor Riteish Deshmukh and producer Smita Thackeray who come from powerful political backgrounds have also ventured into Bollywood.
Inputs by Mauli Singh