Next year, a slew of newbie actors — kids of veteran actors, as well as those new to the industry — will try their luck in Bollywood. We speak to two directors who have worked with either category and ask them to list the pros and cons of working with star and non-star kids
‘A star kid is usually well-known and pre-accepted’
Says Sabbir Khan, who is directing Tiger Shroff (son of Jackie Shroff)
Launching a star kid has its pros and cons. The biggest advantage of working with a star kid is that they are usually already well-known and slightly pre-accepted. having grown up in the shadow of illustrious parents. Also, they are usually extremely cinema-literate, what with movies being the central topic of discussion at the dinner table. But Tiger is radically opposite to that stereotype; he’s a recluse and has always stayed away from the limelight. He had no particular fondness for cinema and always wanted to be a sportsman.
On the flip side, the disadvantage of working with a star kid is that you fear that maybe they’d come with airs or preconceived notions about cinema. Another one is that there is a certain amount of expectation from them. That is inevitable. It is futile to lose sleep over it. I feel that irrespective of whether you launch a star kid or someone else, you can never work less hard or take anything for granted. That’s because when the lights dim in the theatre, nothing else matters; it’s all about the story and how well the actor plays the character.
Surprisingly, Tiger came without any advantages or disadvantages. In him, I’ve had a blank page to work on.
‘Non-star kids are ready to give everything for their films’
Says Shoojit Sircar, who directed Ayushmann Khurrana in Vicky Donor last year
For me, it all boils down to how comfortable I am with a particular actor — star kid or not. Apart from Ayushmann (Khurrana), I went through the same process with Yami (Gautam, who was also launched with Vicky Donor) and Raashi (Khanna, who debuted with John Abraham in Madras Cafe). The greatest advantage of working with a non-star kid is that since they don’t have a ‘godfather’, they are comparatively hungrier.
Plus, they are ready to give everything for their films. In a lot of cases, they are also more dedicated. Having said that, I still feel that the ball lies in the director’s court. Regardless of their background, he ought to have control over his actors. I have heard stories about star kids’ famous parents trying to interfere in their films. But I feel it’s up to directors whether they want to allow such things or not. At the same time, I am not against star kids at all. For example, I feel Ranbir Kapoor is the future of our cinema. Today, even star kids know that the audience wouldn’t be awed by their famous background. With Ayushmann, my experience was great, simply because the film’s story was out of the box, and I am sure not many would have agreed to do it.