William Shakespeare once said, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose/by any other name would smell as sweet.” While this may hold true for the flower that symbolises love and beauty, it is not the case when it comes to successors of political or corporate dynasties. Type the name Abhishek in Google and all you’ll get will be about 37,300,000 hits, but if you look for Abhishek Bachchan you’ll end up with about 10,800,000 results — more than a quarter of the total and all because the last name is Bachchan. This is but one instance. Today some of the most influential families in the country are passing on the baton to the next generation, as these trailblazers, whether heads of state, Bollywood stars or captains of industry, ensure their legacies remain alive and vibrant.
Sachin Pilot: 34, Politician
Claim to fame: Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information Technology
Famous connection: Born to politician Rajesh and Rama Pilot. Married to Sarah Abdullah, daughter of Farooq Abdullah, ex-Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir
He’s handsome enough to be a Bollywood star, but this son of a high-profile politician chose to shine on another stage. On May 13, 2004, Sachin Pilot was elected to the Lok Sabha (Lower House) from the Dausa Parliamentary Constituency of Rajasthan, and at the age of 26, became the youngest Member of Parliament in the country. This is not surprising, for the man is known for his charm, congeniality and affable personality. Pilot started work with the BBC’s Delhi Bureau, then moved on to General Motors after which he got his MBA Degree from Wharton Business School. He has a passion for travelling and flying and got his private pilot’s licence (PPL) from New York in 1995. Also a sports lover, he has represented Delhi in a number of national shooting championships. Politically, he has a soft spot for farmers and labourers. Pilot likes to visit the interior areas of the country, spreading the message of communal harmony, social justice and empowerment to the farming community.
Dhanush: 28, Actor/Singer/Lyricist
Claim to fame: Film actor,occasional playback singer and lyricist
Famous connection: Son of Kasthuri Raja and the brother of Selvaraghavan, both directors in Tamil cinema. Married to acting icon Rajinikanth’s daughter Aishwarya
He is the man responsible for making sure that the latest hit, Why This Kolaveri Di became the first song from Tamil cinema to be played on London’s BBC radio. The track, sung by Dhanush for his forthcoming venture 3, a film directed
by his wife Aishwarya Rajinikanth, and featuring another star child, Shruti Haasan, has gone viral, forcing Sony Music India to put a video to the track. The song has garnered more than 23 million views worldwide and has spawned versions in a variety of different languages.
While this may have put Dhanush on the international map, the world woke up to him through his brother Selvaraghavan’s first directorial venture, Kadhal Kondein, where he essayed the role of a mentally disturbed youth. The film won critical acclaim and became a commercial success, catapulting Dhanush into the spotlight. He cemented the success with Thiruda Thirudi, released in 2003. What followed was a spate of flops, until his biggest film to date, 2006’s Pudhupettai.
Shruti Haasan: 25, Actor/Singer
Claim to fame: Singer, music composer and actor
Famous connection: Daughter of noted actors Kamal Haasan and Sarika
Shruti Haasan sang her first song at the age of six in the hit Tamil film Thevar Magan, starred her father in a lead role. The song was composed by Ilayaraja. She made her singing debut in the Hindi film Chachi 420 that again featured her father in the lead role. This was followed by Hey Ram, for which she rendered the bilingual versions of the title theme, Rama Rama with her father, in Hindi and in Tamil. The critically acclaimed album by Ilayaraja won Shruti accolades for her efforts. After pursuing a career in singing, Shruti branched out into modelling and in 2000, made her cinematic debut in the Tamil and Hindi bilingual film, Hey Ram. Her first mainstream lead role was
in Soham Shah’s Luck opposite Imran Khan. She is now paired opposite Dhanush in the much hyped 3, directed by Aishwarya Rajinikanth.
Rahul Gandhi: 41, Politician
Claim to fame: General Secretary of the Indian National Congress and Member of Parliament representing Amethi constituency
Famous connection: Son of India’s late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, grandson of India’s first and only woman prime minister Indira Gandhi, and great-grandson of the country’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru
Continuing the Gandhi saga in politics, this dynamic young man is often compared to everyone from his father to his great-grandfather. He created headlines when he won a landslide victory against his rivals to secure the Congress seat in his father’s Amethi constituency. The scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, the family that has provided India with its prime minister for 37 of its 64 years as an independent nation, is destined to follow his antecedents to the highest political office. It’s only a matter of time before this man gets into the hot seat.
Megha Mittal: 35, Entrepreneur
Claim to fame: Chairman and Managing Director of the German fashion luxury brand Escada
Famous connection: Married to Aditya Mittal, son of business tycoon Lakshmi Mittal
At 33, this Indian-born, Wharton School of Business graduate bought the iconic global fashion house of Escada, beating a bevy of other contenders. Since then Mittal has redirected the brand, making it more relevant to new customers by modernising its outlook and adding what is best described as an edgy cool elegance to its already sophisticated essence. With a strong pull towards fashion, maybe because she comes from a family that has been involved in textiles for three generations, the lady is as ingenious as she is elegant. After obtaining her degree from Wharton, Mittal joined the investment bank Goldman Sachs as an analyst in the research department and in 2003,
received her postgraduate Diploma in Architectural Interior Design at the Inchbald School of Design. She lives in London with her husband and two daughters.
Siddarth Mallya: 24, Industrialist
Claim to fame: Director of the Royal Challengers cricket team in the Twenty20 version of the game and General Manager, Marketing, for United Spirits
Famous connection: Son of industrialist Vijay Mallya
Often called the Prince of Good Times, Siddharth ‘Sid’ Mallya was born in the US, completed his studies in London and Dubai and worked at Diageo in London as an Assistant Brand Manager for Guinness beer. In 2005, he was appointed
director on the board of his father’s holding company United Breweries and serves on the board of Mohun Bagan, the oldest football club in India. He is also the director of Royal Challengers Sports, which owns the Indian Premier League franchise Royal Challengers Bangalore. Unlike his father who is extremely fond of Formula One racing, Mallya Jr. is showing a distinct preference towards cricket. Apart from his legacy, the younger Mallya is often in the limelight because of his Bollywood actress girlfriend, Deepika Padukone.
Prateik Babbar: 25, Actor
Claim to fame: Potential superstar and actor who refuses to get stereotyped
Famous connection: Son of actor-politician Raj Babbar and the late actress Smita Patil
This new kid on the block has a distinct quirky charm that is disarmingly appealing. The youngster also comes equipped with heaps of talent that will someday take him to the heights of Bollywood superstardom. Before venturing into mainstream cinema, Babbar worked in the advertising industry and it was in the Aamir Khan production Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na that the world noticed him, although he only had a cameo role. After that he was seen in Khan’s wife Kiran Rao’s directorial debut, Dhobi Ghat. Although the movie was not as much of a commercial success as Jaane Tu..., it received some positive response from fans and critics alike. Of course, Babbar’s performance in the film was greatly appreciated. Despite some misses, the star continues to show immense promise.
Staurt Binny: 27, Sportsman
Claim to fame: Rising cricket star
Famous connection: The son of 1983 World Cup winning all-rounder Roger Binny
He considers himself a limited-overs bowling specialist and is definitely someone to watch out for. Binny Jr. made his Karnataka debut in the 2003-04 season and his performances for the Hyderabad Heroes in the Indian Premier League (IPL) won him a place with the Mumbai Indians. After completing two full seasons with the IPL and gaining valuable Twenty20 experience, he made his way back to Karnataka to play in the Ranji Trophy. It was during his IPL stint in 2007 that he made a name for himself as one of the tournament’s premier all-rounders. The young cricketer relies more on a stump to stump line and taking the pace off the ball, making him a formidable player. In the 2011 IPL, Binny was bought by the Rajasthan Royals.
Sonakshi Sinha: 24, Actor
Claim to fame: Debuted opposite Salman Khan in Dabangg, one of last year’s biggest crowd pullers and with the highest opening week gross
Famous connection: Daughter of actor/politician Shatrughan Sinha and Poonam Sinha
Contrary to the size zero craze, Dabangg girl Sonakshi Sinha came on screen like a breath of fresh air with her voluptuous figure and wearing slinky sarees. Although the movie belonged to her costar Salman Khan, the actress received impressive accolades. With a passion for fashion, Sinha has helped leading Indian designers backstage during the Mumbai Fashion Week and has walked the ramp at the Lakme Fashion Week 2008 and 2009. She also loves reading and cites Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code as some of her preferred reads. Her other favourites include designers such as Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Narendra Kumar, Manish Malhotra and Vikram Phadnis, and Hrithik Roshan and Rani Mukherjee from Bollywood.
Beti B: Three months, Star daughter
Claim to fame: Most awaited baby (not named at the time of going to press)
Famous connection: Born to actors Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and granddaughter of yesteryear superstars Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan
With a last name like Bachchan you just can’t go wrong. Born into Bollywood’s first family, it’s natural that this baby girl will be the most-watched child in India. Of course, it’s not just her last name. With a mother who has often been voted the most beautiful woman in the world, the latest addition to the Bachchan clan may give Suri Cruise a run for her money at the style stakes. After all, looking gorgeous is in the genes. Whether she grows up to be Bollywood’s biggest diva or the coolest fashionista, we predict that this little angel will have a glamourous life and will garner more paparazzi attention than perhaps Princess Diana.