Being an insider can be a great help when it comes to some kind of a trade. That's exactly the mindset with which star children are raised. But this is something that ends up working the most against star daughters. Boney Kapoor might not be the exact vision of a star but looking at the universe conspiring to deliver the latest star son Arjun Kapoor's dream I couldn't help but wonder how ill treated star daughters really are.
Instead of being launched with equal if not more fanfare these star daughters might feel cursed. To begin with many of these kids don't really have a choice to do anything else; Shammi Kapoor's son is in his mid 50s and is contemplating a launch, and they are panned the moment they take the plunge. Till Abhishek Bachchan wasn't acting he was always considered someone who could take over the baton from Mr. Bachchan but once we saw him on-screen we knew what we always feared- he was no good. To begin with the industry doesn't treat women at par. There aren't as good roles for them as their male counterparts, in spite of all the success in the world any film with them in a pivotal is labeled woman centric andlet's not even talk what happens when they cross 40 or tie the knot. This might come with the territory for most women actors but it begins right from the word go for star daughters.
Unlike her brothers or male cousins almost every star daughter is launched along with a star son. If she isn't lucky enough to have someone in the same age bracket then she ends up waiting. In 1987 following the success of Mr. India Boney Kapoor announced two films called Roop Ki Rani Aur Choron Ka Raja and Prem, which was to launch his brother Sanjay Kapoor and Farah's sister Tabassum. In real life eerily imitating reel, Tabu was practically stuck to Sanjay Kapoor much like the janam-janam ke premi they were portraying. After waiting for eight long years Prem released in 1995 and Tabassum finally became Tabu. Be it products or humans launches are all about the exact timing and great packaging. It's mostly the packaging that calls the shots when the subject is a star daughter. Imagine the son of Dharmendra and the daughter of Randhir Kapoor together…or okay…Raj Kapoor's granddaughter…doesn't that make good copy. That's exactly the sentiment with which Dharmendra planned a film called Jaan featuring Bobby Deol and Karishma Kapoor. The concept underwent so many changes that Karishma got tired of waiting and picked D. Rama Naidu's production called Prem Qaidi (1991) with Harish instead as a launch pad. Bobby had to wait four more years for Barsaat (1995) to be launched by which time Karishma was a rage. Even Kareena Kapoor was originally paired with Hrithik Roshan in Kaho Na…Pyaar Hai (2000) but her mother felt that Rakesh Roshan wouldn't be able to treat her daughter at par with his son and Hrithik's double-role wasn't helping the case.
Sometimes these launches have the capacity to do more harm than good. Look at Ranbir Kapoor and notice how wonderful his resume reads if you strike Saawariya off. Much like his grandfather Raj and his grand uncles Shammi and Shashi, Ranbir has done much without his father's direct help. Of course, it's not like the Kapoor name tag isn't helping him but the guy has what it takes to be a success in films. The problem with star launches is that many of them wouldn't make it on their own merit and that's makes people slightly angrier with star kids than rank outsiders. Consider both Tabu and Karishma who were treated as second citizens by their own even though they had greater talent than their more preferred co-stars.
Even today many star daughters wait their turn to for their lives to unfold like Tabu's or Karishma's. It is said that Govinda woed Salman Khan to no end for his daughter Narmada Ahuja to be featured in the role that ended up launching Sonakshi Sinha in Dabangg (2010). For the incestuous world of Hindi cinema this is perhaps one area where being an outsider helps more. Ask Anushka Sharma.
Gautam Chintamani is an award-winning writer/filmmaker with over a decade of experience across print and electronic mediums.