Like father, like son — they say. And if it’s a cliché, trust Bollywood to hang on to it. First-gen heroes, who reigned in the glorious sixties and seventies, have now graduated to being glamour’s grand daddies. But there’s always the brat pack to carry bloodlines forward. Teamwork spells magic, and if the Bachchans could do it, so can the Deols — that was the signal when Original Adonis Dharmendra teamed with sons Sunny and Bobby in the recent
, which opened well all over. Presenting filmdom’s most active and prominent father-son teams.
Amitabh Bachchan & Abhishek Bachchan
Papa Phenomenon: He came. He saw. He ruled. For Amitabh Bachchan, survival has been all about redefining himself with age. The angry young man of yore smoothly metamorphosed into a lovable Big Daddy. The Big B doesn’t mind playing prop hero to Gen Now stars, including son Abhishek. And when he co-starred with Abhishek in Bunty Aur Babli, Sarkar and Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, it did work. The novelty is wearing off, though — this year’s Jhoom Barabar Jhoom was a turnip — but that’s showbiz. Remains to be seen if baap and beta strike gold with Sarkar 2, where Abhishek and bahu Ash have ‘stronger’ roles.
Play it again, sonny:
Oddly, Abhishek Bachchan’s graph parallels the Big B’s. Like daddy, Chhota B had to stomach consecutive flops in the early years before finding his groove with Mani Ratnam’s Yuva. The film received lukewarm response, but Aby’s Baby hit it with a fiery negative role. Unlike daddy at his peak, Abhishek refuses to
stick to an image. That itself has become a USP of sorts.
Dharmendra, Sunny Deol & Bobby Deol
My daddy strongest: Long before Salman’s shirtless wonder there was Dharmendra. The archetypal brawn, never quite replicated, was an outcome of the era — the seventies, when violence crept in. Kewal Krishan Deol started off as Dharmendra in romantic and social dramas in the sixties. He scored as an intense actor in early socials including Phool Aur Patthar and Anupama, and as a comedian in that cult Hrishikesh Mukherjee hit, Chupke Chupke, before Pratigya and Sholay in 1975 changed it all. Garam Dharam was born. Anil Sharma’s Apne brings him back, with his sons this time. Though the action focus has shifted to Deols junior, paaji’s intensity is still boiling.
Hot shots: Sunny’s ‘dhai kilo ka haath’ made him the most bankable action star of his era, and Bobby’s report card as a stunt hero isn’t bad either. Interestingly, both puttars started with softer roles, in papaji’s footsteps. Sunny’s debut Betaab was a hit, prompting him to sign mush routines as Sohni Mahiwal, Manzil Manzil and Sunny. The syrup trick failed and Sunny hit action mode with Arjun and, later, Ghayal.
For Bobby, Rajkumar Santoshi’s Barsaat was billed as the perfect romantic launchpad. It wasn’t. The thriller Gupt was an early hit, but Kajol walked away with the kudos. Consequent romantic duds, Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya and Kareeb, and the 1998 action hit, Soldier, proved that if you are a Deol, it pays to kick butt. Chhota puttar’s few hits have largely been dhishum dhishum fare (Badal, Bichhoo). With Apne, Bobby gets a new lease, this time as a boxer out to fulfill dad’s unfulfilled dreams.
Vinod Khanna, Akshaye Khanna & Rahul Khanna
Bad is good : The dashing star who started off as a villain and made his mark as a hero — that line sums up Vinod Khanna. Early shades of grey (Man Ka Meet, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Mere Apne, Parvarish), however, exuded raw glamour, and soon he had hero roles coming his way. A bankable hero in multistarrers (Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Hera Pheri, Amar Akbar Anthony, Khoon Pasina, Qurbani), till date he has done just one film that flaunts bloodline — younger son Akshaye’s debut feature, Himalay Putra (1997). The film bombed, and Khanna senior’s comeback bids of late have been rather erratic.
Good is bad: For Akshaye, the summing-up line contrasts that of dad — he’s the guy next door who started off as a hero and made his mark as a villain. Sinister gets a tweak when Akshaye dons his evil boots. Early ‘good guy’ roles (Mohabbat, Doli Sajaa Ke Rakhna, Kudrat, Love You Hamesha) bombed, the exception being JP Dutta’s multistarrer Border. And when Abbas-Mustan gave Akshaye a bad guy makeover in Humraaz, the world noticed. Akshaye, of course, is too intelligent to be typecast, and followed up Humraaz with comedies (Hungama, Hulchul) and thrillers (Deewangee, 36 China Town). He returns as a villain in Naqaab, five years after Humraaz. Like dad, Akshaye scores best in multistarrers (Border, Taal, Dil Chahta Hai).
Older bhai Rahul has stuck to crossover stuff (1947: Earth, Bawander, Bollywood Hollywood). Recent mainstream attempts were Elaan and Raqeeb, both flops. Looks like all three Khannas need to do an Apne to bring Rahul’s career on track.
Feroz Khan & Fardeen Khan
Style baap : B-lister from the sixties who hit it with the self-directed Apradh (1972). Feroz Khan really defined flamboyance for the Bollywood textbook. The actor-director cut a niche as a style icon with consecutive hits (Dharmatma, Qurbani, Janbaaz). His outings with son Fardeen (Janasheen, Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena) bombed, and Feroz will try to work the baap-beta magic in his forthcoming remake of Qurbani, spelt Kurbani.
Style beta : Son Fardeen is still grappling to wrest the Cool Khan tag. Dad’s big launchpad in 1998, Prem Aggan, flopped, as did most other Fardeen starrers. Khan junior has been high on style, low on impact.