At a time when film industry has become corporatised, Bollywood families are keeping a tight grip on the trade through home productions
The Deols are back again. Their forthcoming movie ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 2’ once again featuring Dharmendra and his two sons Sunny Deol and Bobby Deol, is getting ready to hit the theatres in early June.
As a run up the mega release, the family has unveiled the trailer to build up momentum.
This movie, a sequel to 2011 Dharm pajis super-hit film ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’ that brought the family into limelight again, is expected to deliver as it contains action sequences and amusing dialogues among others to keep movie goers spellbound.
The father-son trio will thus be appearing in a movie for the third time as they first shared the screen space in Apne.
A third generation Deol is also making his debut with ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 2’ as Sunny Deol has inducted his son Karan into Bollywood as an assistant director to help professional director Sangeeth Sivan on this movie.
So many family members featuring in one film may look unusual, but that is how aged stars are keeping themselves engaged and earning their crores by making the family to produce the movie where they have absolute control on the making of the movie and the star cast.
Now that the business of film distribution and screening has undergone a sea change with satellite distribution of movies raking in Rs 100 crore revenues in one week, families like the Deols are betting big to make big bucks.
Multiplex cinemas have brought a new phase in Indian film viewing experience and also minimizing the risk for producers. Now with more than 70 per cent of total theatrical revenue coming from multiplexes, the families are making movies appealing mostly to the multiplex film goers.
At a time when the Hindi Film industry has mostly become corporatized with organized players and companies producing movies, the Bollywood families are also trying to keep their tight grip over the trade in order to survive amidst new talent swarming the entertainment industry.
Scores of talented, contemporary, good looking boys and girls from across the country are joining Bollywood after successful stints in television serials and these actors are being preferred by the corporate film producers leaving the aged stars to fend for themselves.
Of course many senior actors and stars of yesteryears do get character roles in films produced by the corporates but these are not enough to keep everyone engaged.
This is why families are closing the ranks to keep them busy and that too in a hugely lucrative manner. There are risks, but this risk is worth taking.
In case of Dharmendra and family, there is no dearth of talent in-house and funds to make a movie. Bobby Deol’s father in law late Dev Ahuja was a top banker and he used to own 20th Century Finance before it was converted into Centurion Bank. Bobby’s wife Tanya Deol is believed to have inherited a portion of Ahuja’s assets and property.
Previously, Sunny Deol tried his best to resurrect his half sister Esha Deol whose film career had nosedived. Sunny came forward to promote Esha in the movie “Tell Me O Kkhuda” which was produced by Esha’s mother Hema Malini’s home production.
Not only the Doels but also the Roshans, the Khans, the Bhatts, the Kapoors and the Akhtars and now even the Oberois make movies for family members. In the process several other members of their clan also get engaged in production, direction, distribution and funding the movie. A win win for all.
The Khan brothers Salman, Arbaaz and Sohail are also working together for mutual benefit. Though Salmaan is a superstar, the other two sons of Saleem Khan are not that promising. It is well known how Salmaan has been supporting his brothers to excel in film production and direction.
The tremendous success of the recently family produced movie Dabangg by not so successful actor Arbaaz Khan is a clear testimony of to how a family together can make all the difference. The contribution of Arbaaz’s wife Malaika Arora Khan is also worth mentioning.
Now with Dabangg 2, Arbaaz has been regarded as one of the biggest producers of Bollywood, but there are many talents languishing due to lack of family connection.
Salman also helped his sister Alvira’s husband not so successful actor Atul Agnihotri by acting in his movie Bodyguard, a huge success.
On the other hand actor Akshay Kumar may be a one man army but he is known for producing all the movies acted by him. Whatever money he generates from one movie, he reinvests in another so as to maximize his wealth and keep him engaged. That is how he is the highest tax paying star among all Bollywood personalities.
Thought provoking star Aamir Khan has been helping his wife Kiron Rao to make it big in film making. Rao has a production house where Aamir prefers to work. Aamir had also launched his nephew Imran Khan in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na in 2008 and since then Imran has been doing well in the box office.
Mukesh Bhatt used to be the producer of movies directed by his brother Mahesh Bhatt. Pooja Bhatt started acting in films directed by father Mahesh Bhatt though she has now got into direction on her own. Mahesh Bhatt’s another daughter Alia recently acted in Karan Johar’s movie “Student of the Year’ along with director David Dhawan’s son Varun Dhawan. According to the grapevine Bhatt’s recommendation got Alia, the plum assignment in Johar’s firm. Alia is now the youngest actress in Bollywood and has long way to go.
Ajay Devgan features in home productions so was Anil Kapoor who used to act in movies produced by his brother Boney Kapoor.
Bollywood heartthrob Hrithik Roshan mostly acts in his father Rakesh Roshan’s movies. Here the family comes first. This is nothing new. Even Raj Kapoor used to launch all his sons through the RK banner. Even his brothers also featured in RK movies.
The new age actresses, mostly without a family legacy, have also taken pivotal role in shaping and reshaping the careers of their sisters.
Actress Shilpa Shetty is known to have helped her sister Shamita to get a foothold in Bollywood, though her career has not taken off as planned. Katrina Kaif is utilizing her contacts to help her sister Isabella to get into acting in Hindi Films and it is well known how Priyanka Chopra has been shaping the Bollywood career of her cousin Parineeti Chopra through recommendations and using contacts.
Even Kareena Kapoor helped her elder sister Karishma Kapoor to successfully re-enter Bollywood.
In the Hindi Film industry where over a 1000 movies are produced every year, the number of movies produced by the families may be miniscule, but these will remain a core of film making business in India. Long live the family.
By Jully Mishra from Mumbai