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A legacy lives on


FOR A long time, star daughters never joined films. It was the prerogative of star sons. Raj, Shammi and Shashi, Prithviraj Kapoor's flamboyant sons faced the arclights, while the sisters settled for domesticity. Decades later, it was Raj Kapoor's turn to launch his three sons, Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev in ``Kal Aaj Aur Kal,'' ``Mera Naam Joker'' and ``Ram Teri Ganga Maili'' respectively, while daughters Ritu and Reema got married when their time came. Raj Kapoor's contemporary, Dev Anand launched his son Suneil in his home production ``Anand Aur Anand'' and daughter Devina, for a while flirted with photography and later dabbled in production designing. Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar launched their sons Sanjay and Kumar Gaurav with great fanfare. Equally royal were weddings of their daughters' Namrata and Dimple. Manoj Kumar's older son Kunal Goswami made his debut in ``Kalaakar'' with Sridevi, while younger son Vishal opted for playback singing. Unfortunately, both failed to make an impact.

In the 1980s, Dharmendra gave ``Betaab'' to Sunny Deol on a platter. Followed by two weddings for his two daughters, a decade later came ``Barsaat'' for Bobby Deol. Vinod Khanna made ``Himalayaputra'' for Akshaye and assigned older son Rahul Khanna to Deepa Mehta in ``Earth- 1947''. Feroz Khan was sure nothing would go wrong for son Fardeen in ``Prem Aggan'', but it did. A few months later, after helping dad behind the scenes, daughter Laila got married to a business tycoon, Rakesh Roshan launched son Hrithik in ``Kaho Naa Pyar Hai''... while daughter Sunaina was busy with babies. Only two years apart from brother Abhishek, sister Shweta Bachchan opted for matrimony and is today mother of a bonny babby Navya Naveli, while Abhishek dons the grease paint and enjoys it. Says director Rakesh Roshan that Suniana even as a child, fought shy of the limelight, while Hrithik thrived on it. Jaya Bachchan reveals that Shweta resisted visiting papa on the sets because she hated the stuffy atmosphere in the studios.

They were signs of a dormant dream. Hrithik and Abhishek heard different drums... and followed the echoes! Most of the time, the parents were conscious of the signals. Tanuja recalls her daughter Kajol watching every film of hers passionately, while younger one Tanisha till the end remained uninvolved. Ditto with Hema Malini. Hema has an interesting story of how she conceived her first production ``Sharara'' when pregnant with first born Esha. ``I was reading Irving Wallace's ``The Second Lady'' and decided to turn it into a film. Perhaps, the obsession is in my daughter's genes. For a long time after that, Esha wouldn't eat her food until we played Govinda's ``Ilzaam'' on the video. In contrast, my younger daughter Aahana, at least as of now, shows no inclination towards showbiz.'' Sarika supports the theory. ``Shruti told us when she was a little girl that she wanted to be an actress. It's only natural for a child to pursue her parents' profession and we didn't discourage her. Just as we don't pursue my younger one Akshara who has very clearly stated that she isn't keen on acting.'' Often, resolutions changed with time. Or probably they were well-disguised to not trigger dissection in the house! Rinke Khanna daughter of Dimple and Rajesh Khanna, for a long time said that she wasn't keen on acting until the line slowly altered to, ``I'm not keen on commercial films,'' followed by Raj Kaushal's ``Pyaar Mein Kabhi Kabhi'' and later, Satyadev Dubey's play ``It Could Only Happen in London''. Probably, Rinke was demarcating sister Twinkle's territory and hers. Late actress Nutan was taken aback when a grown-up Monish Behl, on the surface nursing dreams of merchant navy, confessed that he was keen on showbiz. She was surprised, but also frightened that being an actress and reared on reading expressions, she had missed the signal.

Babita and Randhir Kapoor didn't worry on that score, for, even as a teenybopper, Karisma had announced to her parents and grandparents that when she grew up, she would become a star. And Kareena Kapoor to Karisma that once she joined showbiz, nobody, not even her sister, stood a chance!

It is difficult to say when exactly the equations changed. Begum Para's son Ayub Khan and old timers Mala Sinha and Usha Kiran came out of their exile and introduced daughters Tanvi Kher in ``Pyari Behna'' and Pratiba Sinha opposite Joy Mukherjee's son, Boy Mukherjee in ``Mehboob Mere Mehboob.'' Vyjayanthimala preferred home ground Chennai for son Suchindra Bali, for years ago, she too had begun her career in Tamil films before taking over the Hindi film industry by storm!

Sharmila Tagore had determined that she wasn't going to mollycoddle son Saif Khan. So he stumbled, made mistakes and found a place under the sun the hard way, just like his mother. After a wrong start with Rahul Rawail and debut ``Parampara'' with Yash Chopra, Saif Ali Khan is today every top banner's second choice. He is proud of his two beautiful sisters Saba and Soha, one studying abroad and the other working in the capital, who refused films despite persistent feelers. So do sisters of Salman (Alvira, Arpita), Aamir (Nikhat) and Shah Rukh Khan (Laila). Call it the genes, or the atmosphere they grew up in, but only some were able to resist the showbiz magic.

Old timer Sapru's children Reema, Tej and Preeti joined the father's profession. So did Ashok Kumar's daughter Preeti Ganguly (while son Arun stayed away), Pradeep Kumar's daughter Bina, Premnath's son Prem Kishen in ``Dulhan Wohi Jo Piya Man Bhaye'', and Shashi Kapoor's three children Kunal, ``Ahista Ahista,'' Karan ``Sultanat'' and Sanjna ``Jalwa''. Character actor Jagdish Raaj's daughter Anita joined acting, while son Bobby Raj took to direction. So did Ravi Tandon's two children Raj and Raveena, Surinder Kapoor's sons (Boney, Anil and Sanjay), Biswajit's son Prasenjeet, fight-master Veeru Devgan's son Ajay Devgan and ace- villain Ajit's son Shehzaad Khan and Amjad Khan's son Shaadab in ``Refugee''.

The bohemian Pooja Bhatt (Mahesh Bhatt's daughter) became an actress while younger brother Sunny preferred to join production with uncle Mukesh Bhatt. Glamour doll Moon Moon Sen who could never live up to her legendary mother Suchitra Sen, tagged along daughters Rima and Raima. Director Gulzar and wife Raakhee left the decision to Meghna, who found that papa's shoes (direction) fitted her better than mama's (acting). The sensational Pooja Bedi's (Protima and Kabir Bedi's daughter) solitary attempt ``Vishkanya'', died without a whimper, while younger brother Siddharth, stayed away from the arclights.

A bandwagon of chips-of-the-old-blocks are waiting in the wings. Honey Irani and Javed Akhtar's son Farhan Akhtar making his debut as a director with ``Dil Chahta Hai'', Ramesh Behl's son Goldie Behl currently shooting ``Bas Itna Sa Khwab Hain'', cousins Sunhil and Rohan Sippy's projects that are under production, besides Jeetendra's son Tushar Kapoor, Yogeeta Bali and Mithun Chakraborty's son Mimoh, Rishi Kapoor's son Ranbir, Yash Chopra's son Uday in ``Mohabbatein'' along with Shamita, Shilpa Shetty's sister, Shatrughan Sinha's twins Luv and Kush, Raj Babbar's daughter Juhi (brother Gorky shows inclination towards direction.) The list is endless and the opportunities are manifold. As they say, you cannot escape your genes!

BHAWANA SOMAAYA

Editor `g' Magazine

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