Ananya Panday
Ananya Panday Image Credit: Social media

Bollywood actor Karan Kapadia, who makes his acting debut as an antagonist in Sunny Deol’s terrorism thriller ‘Blank’ on May 2, has an earnest plea.

Don’t club him with other ‘Bollywood star kids’, a bracket that’s tainted and has become synonymous with privilege, easy access and power.

Kapadia, whose aunt is Dimple Kapadia and cousins include Twinkle and Rinkie Khanna, claims that he nabbed his first acting role through merit. The 25-year-old acting hopeful has been averse to asking his family for help either.

“When people call me a star kid, I don’t necessarily agree with that... I had a normal childhood and I was never in the limelight... I never had a rapport with other filmmakers or never hung with the industry kids. I wanted to shape my career on my own,” said Kapadia in an interview with Gulf News tabloid!.

Not many are as stoic as Kapadia.

“There’s a certain amount of pride that comes with making it on your own... Failures and falling down is a part of our process as an actor. Every actor is the sum of his own personal experiences,” said Kapadia.

But does he not have it easy when compared to a rank outsider?

“I don’t blame you for thinking that... Sometimes they never write my name as Karan Kapadia, but as Dimple’s nephew or Akshay Kumar’s brother-in-law. There are certain privileges that come with being born in a certain family. I can’t help that. I have a lot of anxiety problems and being in front of the camera fills me with a certain kind of accomplishment... But this is an endless debate,” said Kapadia.

He adds that Alia Bhatt has managed to carve out an identity independent of her father, filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt.

“You cannot forget that many are interested in following the lives of star kids even before they make their debut. If you show a lot of interest in their lives, directors will want to cast them since they are popular,” said Kapadia. He also makes an interesting observation.

“If your brother opens a mithai [sweet] shop, won’t your brother tell his friends to buy from that store. I can’t help the fact that my relatives promote me. But please don’t judge anybody.”

As ‘Blank’ gears up to release, tabloid! takes a look at all the newcomers who are likely to crowd the Bollywood landscape soon...

Karan Deol

Star connection: Actor Sunny Deol’s son and Dharmendra’s grandson

It’s a family film production in every sense. Karan’s grandfather is producing his debut film ‘Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas’ and his father, Sunny, is directing it.

Just like any other proud dad, Sunny unveiled the first look of his film with a warm note.

“As a father I am nervous at the same time I am proud to present my sons first poster. Today Karan begins his cinematic journey, wishing him love, luck and success.”

‘Pal Pal’ is dubbed as an adventure comedy and is scheduled to release on July 18.

Ahan Shetty

Star connection: Actor Suniel Shetty’s son and Athiya Shetty’s brother

It’s not just his Instagram account filled with pictures of him sky-diving in Dubai or atop a yacht that are drool-worthy. Ahan, 22, will make his debut in a film that’s a Bollywood adaptation of Telugu blockbuster ‘RK100’. Directed by Milan Luthria and produced by Sajid Nadiadwala, the shoot is likely to begin in June this year.

Vardhan Puri

Star connection: Late actor Amrish Puri’s grandson

Vardhan, who has worked in more than 90 plays and assisted in films such as ‘Shudh Desi Romance’, will make his debut in ‘Paagal’. His debut, which is reportedly on the lines of David Fincher’s psychological thriller ‘Gone Girl’, is scheduled to release in the summer of 2019. The 26-year-old actor claims that his grandfather is his biggest matinee idol and that acting is his childhood dream.

“I have been an actor and entertainer in my home since the age of five. In my free time, I used to wear my grandfather’s wigs and roam around the house in his size 12 shoes, speaking out lines from his films at the top of my voice. That was when my family realised that I would be an actor. My sister Sachi, her friends and my domestic help were my audience back then. In terms of my debut, I was initially supposed to do something in the historical genre, but I fell in love with the story of ‘Paagal’ and my character, when I heard it,” said Puri in an interview with an English daily.

Anmol Thakeria

Star connection: Actress Poonam Dhillon and producer Ashok Thakeria’s son (produced films such as ‘Dil’, ‘Beta’ and ‘Dhamaal’)

Anmol is likely to make his debut in a romantic comedy produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and directed by Taranveer Singh. His debut is tentatively titled ‘Tuesdays and Saturdays’. Rumour has it that Anmol replaced Shahid Kapoor, who was offered the lead role initially.

“Anmol always wanted to be a movie star and now that he’s being launched by Sanjay Leela Bhansali in ‘Tuesdays and Saturdays’, he’s truly on cloud nine,” Dhillon was quoted as saying in an English daily in India.

Alizeh Agnihotri

Star connection: Salman Khan’s niece and Atul Agnihotri’s daughter

Details are just trickling in about Alizeh’s debut. But the word on the street remains that she is perched to make her debut under the tutelage of Khan. She’s being groomed rigorously — a year-long dance training under choreographer Saroj Khan and acting classes are all in day’s work for her. If all goes well, she may even make her debut in the Eid 2020 release ‘Dabangg 3’. The Khans are yet to confirm the reports.

Aalia Furniturewalla

Star connection: Pooja Bedi’s daughter

There’s a good chance that Aalia Furniturewalla will make her debut in Saif Ali Khan’s father-daughter comedy ‘Jawani Janeman’. According to reports, she will play Khan’s daughter in the Nitin Kakkar-directed film, which will be shot in London. As far as premises go, it’s an interesting one of an 40-something manchild (Khan) whose life is turned upside down when he realises that he has a teenage daughter.

Surilie Gautam

Star connection: Actress Yami Gautam’s sibling

Surilie will make her Bollywood debut with Randeep Hooda in director Rajkumar Santoshi’s war drama chronicling the Battle of Saragarhi. If that sounds familiar it’s because Akshay Kumar had touched upon the same topic in his jingoistic and simplistic drama ‘Kesari’ in which he played the stoic soldier Havildar Ishar Singh.

Rinzing Denzongpa

Star connection: Actor Danny Denzongpa’s son

Rinzing is all set to make his debut with ‘Squad’, a thriller directed by Jyoti Kapur Das. It’s a physically challenging role and Rinzing has been training hard to prepare his body for the action drama. Even before his debut, Rinzing is being hailed as India’s answer to Dwayne Johnson. Malvika Raaj, who played the younger version of Kareena Kapoor Khan’s character in ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’, will play the female lead. His father Danny, who’s thrilled about his son’s impending debut, claims he didn’t use his connection to bolster his son’s career.

Lulia Vantur

Star connection: Salman Khan’s alleged girlfriend

It was her relationship with Khan that was scrutinised more than her career. But reports claim that she had signed a film with Jimmy Shergill entitled ‘Radha Kyu Gori Main Kyu Kaala’. But the film’s production got delayed when its producer Prernaa Arora got arrested over financial dealings. But in the last few weeks, reports about the film being resuscitated is doing the rounds. If all goes well, the Romanian model will be begin shooting for the film, now directed by Prem Soni, in Mathura soon.

Ananya Panday

Star connection: Actor Chunkey Panday’s daughter

When you are cherry-picked by director-producer Karan Johar, Bollywood’s infamous “flag-bearer of nepotism”, for your debut, you will have to brace yourself against criticism. But Panday, who will make her Bollywood debut next week with the snazzy college drama Student Of The Year 2, is taking it all in with remarkable grace and wit. When asked on Johar’s catty chat show Koffee With Karan whether she agreed with a section of people questioning her credentials on being on his show, she sportingly said:

"I agree with this section of people. I haven't done anything. I don't deserve to be on the show." She went on to say that there were many Bollywood hopefuls who were better at acting and dancing, and that her family connections may have helped her to bag her debut role. Here’s a big shout for saying it as it is.

Whether she’s talented or not remains to be seen, but she’s already a big hit on the social media and boasts 1.9 million followers on Instagram.

Don’t miss it!

‘Blank’ is out in the UAE cinemas on May 2.