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Shanaya Kapoor is the latest star kid to get a launch into Bollywood courtesy filmmaker Karan Johar. His talent company, Dharma Cornerstone Agency, has signed on actor Sanjay Kapoor and jewellery designer Maheep Kapoor’s daughter for a new film project that is expected to launch in July.
Image Credit: Twitter.com/karanjohar
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Shanaya comes from a long lineage of Bollywood celebrities in her family, including uncles Anil Kapoor and Boney Kapoor, along with cousins Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Janhvi Kapoor and Arjun Kapoor.
Image Credit: Iinstagram.com/sonamkapoor/
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Cries of nepotism have already taken to social media shortly after the announcement was made, with Johar once again under the scanner for launching another son or daughter who has Bollywood connections. The debate has been a long-standing one ever since actress Kangana Ranaut appeared on his talk show ‘Koffee With Karan’ and called him the ‘flagbearer of nepotism’.
Image Credit: Instagram/karanjohar
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Talking about nepotism in an interview with India Today earlier, Johar addressed the constant criticism by saying he has also launched non-nepotistic actors and directors in the industry but no one is talking about that. “We have introduced 21 debut directors. Out of which, I can say, 16-17 are not ‘nepotistic’ young filmmakers. They are not from the fraternity or the industry. They are completely from outside,” Johar was quoted as saying.
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He added: “Why don’t I get the benefit of that; my production house is launching kids who are directors/filmmakers. They are making major motion pictures and leading the game. They are not from the industry. Why don’t I get credit for that? Why do they discredit some of the actors who are from (the industry)? Why do I have to justify it at first? I think they are talented enough to face the camera and maybe, one thing can say is that they get easy access, but after that, they have got a journey ahead.”
Image Credit: AFP
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Just how many star kids has Johar launched in Bollywood and where are they now? Here’s a look:
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Alia Bhatt, daughter to prolific filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt, is perhaps the most successful of his finds, who was launched into Bollywood through his 2012 film, ‘Student of the Year’. While the film didn’t do much for her career in terms of acting, it was her second film, ‘Highway’, with Imtiaz Ali that really won Bhatt accolades and gave her a standing in the industry. Since, Bhatt has gone on to star in films such as ‘Udta Punjab’, ‘Raazi’, ‘Dear Zindagi’, ‘Gully Boy’ and his plum projects in the works, including Ayan Mukerji’s ‘Brahmastra’, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’, Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘Darlings’ and Johar’s ‘Takht’.
Image Credit: Instagram.com/aliabhatt
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Varun Dhawan, son of filmmaker David Dhawan, worked up the ranks in Johar’s Dharma Productions before getting his big screen debut with ‘Student of the Year’ as well in 2012. Dhawan had worked as assistant director on Shah Rukh Khan’s ‘My Name is Khan’ before stepping in front of the camera. The actor hasn’t done too bad for himself as well, appearing in films such as ‘Badlapur’, ‘ABCD 2’, ‘Sui Dhaaga’, among others. His next film is ‘Jug Jugg Jeeyo’ with Kiara Advani, followed by ‘Bhediya’.
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Ishaan Khattar, who is Shahid Kapoor’s half-brother, didn’t exactly make his debut in the Johar backed ‘Dhadak’ in 2018, but the film did serve as his stepping stone into commercial cinema after having starred in Majid Majidi’s ‘Beyond The Clouds’ a year earlier. Khattar has had limited releases since his debut, with ‘Khaali Peeli’ that is streaming on Zee5. His next is ‘Phone Bhoot’s alongside Katrina Kaif and Siddhant Chaturvedi.
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Getting her big break in Bollywood with Johar’s ‘Dhadak’ was Sridevi and Boney Kapoor’s daughter Janhvi Kapoor, who played the lead in the Bollywood film that was a remake of the Marathi hit, ‘Sairaat’. The actress has had several releases since, two of which were on Netflix, including ‘Ghost Stories’ and ‘Gunjan Saxena: The Kargil Girl’. Her second big screen release was this month’s ‘Roohi’, a horror-comedy that has opened to lukewarm reviews.
Image Credit: Instagram.com/janhvikapoor
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Ananya Panday, daughter of actor Chunky Pandey and Bhavana Pandey, also entered Bollywood thanks to Johar and his ‘Student of the Year 2’, which released in 2019. Shortly after the release of the film, Bollywood went into lockdown in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and Panday has had the Zee5 release, ‘Khaali Peeli’ and ‘Pati Patni Aur Woh’. The actress does have a few plum projects in hand, including ‘Liger’ and Shakun Batra’s next project.
Image Credit: Instagram.com/ananyapanday
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Aside from Shanaya, cousin Khushi Kapoor is also waiting in the wings to be launched into Bollywood. Janhvi’s younger sister is currently attending film school in New York. Her father has confirmed his second daughter will be launched into the film industry next year and there has been talk that Johar will do the honours.
Image Credit: instagram.com/khushi05k
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Meanwhile, Suhana Khan, who is Shah Rukh Khan and Gauri Khan’s daughter, is also at film school and also could be launched into Bollywood next year as well. With Shah Rukh Khan often referred to as an older brother by Johar, it won’t be surprising that Suhana turns to Uncle Johar for her big Bollywood debut.
Image Credit: Instagram.com/suhanakhan2/