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Bollywood’s father-son combos: A great ingredient of box-office success?

The casting of actors Harshvardhan Kapoor and Anil Kapoor in the roles of shooter Abhinav Bindra and Bindra’s dad prompts us to explore how reel relationships work when they mirror real ones.

bollywood Updated: Oct 03, 2017 20:59 IST
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Monika Rawal Kukreja
Hindustan Times
Bollywood,Harshvardhan Kapoor,Anil kapoor
Actors Anil Kapoor and Harshvardhan Kapoor will portray on-screen father-son in Abhinav Bindra’s biopic.

Actor Hashvardhan Kapoor is set to portray the role of Abhinav Bindra in a biopic being made on the Olympic medal-winning shooter’s life. The icing on the cake was the announcement that his father, actor Anil Kapoor, will also play his on-screen father. Directed by Kannan Iyer, the film is reportedly based on Bindra’s autobiography, titled A Shot at History: My Obsessive Journey to Olympic Gold.

While congratulatory messages poured in from Bollywood for this father-son team, the casting promises a treat for fans, going by previous such instances. Think of other father-son actor pairs: Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan having the same relationship in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna (2006); Sunil Dutt and Sanjay Dutt in Munnabhai MBBS (2003); Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik Roshan in Koi Mil Gaya (2003); and sons Sunny and Bobby Deol with father Dharmendra in Yamla Pagla Deewana (2011).

Actors Abhishek and Amitabh Bachchan in a still from Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna.

All of these combinations have worked, as was evident in these films’ box-office success. Can the Kapoors cast the same spell on the audience? All praise for Anil and Harshvardhan, filmmaker Anubhav Sinha says, “I’ve known Anil for long now and he’s fantastic. And Harshvardhan is equally impressive. So, I’m convinced they will work [in this film]. More so, the film is about such a wonderful icon that everyone wants to know about.” However, he is quick to add that such casting combinations “can only add an impact if the story works”.

Film critic Omar Qureshi says in agreement, “A real-life father and son on screen bring their own natural magic and chemistry, but at the same time, these innovations are all good as long as the story is happening and not ‘off’. Despite the chemistry, any star needs script power to perform; otherwise, if the film is a lame duck, the audience ‘quacks’ up laughing.”

Actors Bobby Deol, Dharmendra and Sunny Deol in a still from Yamla Pagla Deewana.

Clearly, industry experts feel that more than the stars, it’s the total package (story, script, right casting) that decides the fate of a film. Trade analyst Atul Mohan explains, “It all depends on how the overall project has been executed and what’s the audience reaction to the final product. Every actor performs his (or her) part with dedication, so in the end, it’s the script and the director that matter.”

Mohan adds that the genre — biopic — is also a plus point for the Kapoors. “Biopics are doing very well nowadays,” he says, “particularly the ones based on sports personalities, [as they] have some very inspiring stories to tell. So, this one [on Bindra] has the scope to fare well at the box office.”

Filmmaker Rakesh Roshan with son, actor Hrithik Roshan on the set of Koi Mil Gaya.

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First Published: Oct 03, 2017 19:30 IST