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Film Dynasty: Menace of the Star Kids

Courtesy: IndiaFM
Monday, September 04, 2006

I think our Indian Film Industry should really be called a Film Dynasty. I would like to clarify at the very outset that I am not a budding actor trying to make it big nor am I remotely related to any would be actor who is. This is my attempt to fight the corner for all those talented newcomers who are struggling to make it big as actors in the face of mindless dominance of screen space by some undeserving star kids.

Every generation of selfish actors spawns a new breed of wannabes from its own kith and kin. Illustrious ex-stars shamelessly provide launch pads for every Tom, Dick & Harry, who is even remotely related to them, roping in the best in the business and leaving no stone unturned to ensure that their wards makes it big. Even if their first attempt fails, so what? They keep coming back, again and again, like a plague, imposing themselves on a hapless audience. In such a self-centred situation, can any newcomer or 'struggler,' as he or she is referred to, with no filmy background, achieve lasting success in this big bad world?

Consider the following:

  1. What chance does a newcomer have in getting the first break if he is not proficient in Hindi, just like Saif Ali Khan wasn't, when he first started?

  2. Which new bloke can make it big with the dancing skills of Sunny Deol?

  3. What chance does a newcomer have in making it as a leading man if he is balding, just like Akshaye Khanna is?

  4. What chance does a new girl have in making it big if she is as average looking and bereft of acting skills as Tanisha is?

  5. And which newcomer can be cast as a villain-bashing leading man in any movie if he looks like a pre-pubescent schoolboy like Shahid Kapoor does?

Barring a few handful such as Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt and Konkana Sen, the rest should thank their doting godfathers for sustaining their run this far. The list is endless. Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Esha Deol, Abhay Deol, Tanisha, Saif Ali Khan, Soha Ali Khan, Tusshar Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Fardeen Khan, Zayed Khan, Uday Chopra, Akshaye Khanna, Ashmit Patel, Shamita Shetty, Pratibha Sinha, Riya Sen, Twinkle Khanna, Vivek Oberoi, Ritesh Deshmukh (no prizes for guessing how he made it!), Karan Sharma, Aryaman, etc, etc. All these people have no business being where they are today.

I know it is commonplace for a child to follow in its parent's footsteps. I have no problem with that, but it is the ready-made fame, fortune and recognition that the star kids get on a golden platter with not a drop of sweat lost, often at the cost of somebody more deserving, which irritates me no end. I do not buy the argument that they have to toil harder than their parents to live up to the expectations. If that were to be the case, they would have accepted their failure and quit trying long back, instead of pulling strings and sneaking back time and again. Nor do I subscribe to Rajesh Khanna's view that they have their parents' acting genes in them, therefore giving them an advantage over others. If that were to be the case, then Mr. Khanna himself and other great actors such as Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra, whose parents, as far as I know, were not actors, would have never made it big in the first place! Truly, in politics and filmdom, familiarity, favoritism and influence hold sway like in no other profession, destroying true talent, dedication and honesty. Thank goodness for a Ram Gopal Verma who atleast gives unknowns a whiff of a chance.

Is there no way we can stem this rot? Can't there be a more objective way of selecting those who deserve to get a break, based on looks, talent and skills? Can't the others take a leaf out of Mr. Verma's book and provide the newcomers a forum where they could exhibit their talents in front of those in the know how, instead of having to resort to becoming beauty queens or taking recourse to the dreaded casting couch?

Finally, just to finish off, here's that oft repeated Bollywood one-liner, which aptly sums up this issue: Allah meherbaan to gadha pehelwaan!

(Deepak Pawar is a Bollywood buff).

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