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Posted at: Apr 15, 2018, 1:54 AM; last updated: Apr 15, 2018, 1:54 AM (IST)

Debuting high on love

Steering clear of explosive issues, filmmakers are using the time-tested formula to launch star kids into Bollywood

Nonika Singh

Love makes the world go round. In Bollywood, of course, it is a universe by itself. Boy meets girl in a picture perfect setting; they romance, run around trees, these days in exotic foreign and local locales, and sing songs till eternity. Love has never seemed more perfect than what our Bollywood has mastered the art of. Any wonder it is considered the safest ground on which to paradrop star kids.

Look around, ahead or back in time, love stories are staple; an ideal launch-pad if stardom runs in your blood. Nepotism debate can take a break; the jury on this is almost settled. A star son or daughter will invariably be showcased in a romantic avatar. As the countdown begins, 2018 will see the debut of Sridevi’s daughter Janhvi Kapoor (Dhadak) Saif Ali Khan’s daughter Sara Ali Khan (Kedarnath) and Sunny Deol’s son Karan Deol (Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas). And no prizes for guessing: All three will be seen in love tales. Even Salman Khan’s brother-in-law Aayush Sharma starts his journey in films with Loveratri.

Award-winning director Rahul Dahiya is not surprised. “See love is a universal emotion, its tug on our heart strings can neither be denied nor undermined; it cuts across generations,” he says. 

Dhadak, for instance, is a remake of award-winning Marathi hit Sairat that delved into the volatile caste issue. Back in time Arjun Kapoor’s Ishaqzaade set against political backdrop explored love across religious divide.

However, by and large, love stories, especially those tailormade for star sons and daughters, steer clear of explosive issues. In today’s world where tempers run high who knows what might offend viewers and the fate of the film could be sealed forever, a chance no star dares to take least of all for their precious progeny. Dhayia reasons, “Filmmakers prefer the no-conflict zone right in the centre, neither left nor right. When it comes to their own ilk, they prefer the line of least resistance.”

According to producer and studio head Rahul Mitrra, “Romance never goes out of fashion.” Moreover, he observes that it gels well with a heroic image, “What is heroism without romance? Even when a debutant is cast in an action hero mould, romance is a given; else who is he going to fight for.” Nafisa Ali’s son Ajit Sodhi is all set to make his mark but obviously in a love story. The beautiful actress of films like Junoon says, “Love is always in the air and in divisive times we are living in what better message than love which conquers all.”

Indeed, intentions behind the making of love sagas are not always all that noble. The producer in Mittra decodes the marketing strategy behind it; “When it’s a love story, promos and trailers work better and the ultimate USP of Hindi cinema, the naach gaana is a match too.”

A win-win situation? Not that all high-on-love debut performances work magic at the boxoffice. Director and writer Madhureeta Anand adds, “Even if their debut films flop, like the Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor-starrer Saawayria did, it never hurts star children. For whatever may be the outcome of the film on the hit flop metre, it remains a showcase of their range.”

So, on more than one count, a love story is a relatively risk-free proposition. Shakespeare may have said “The course of true love never did run smooth,” passage through love almost ensures a ticket to stardom. And in their first films, stars and their exalted parents are looking exactly for a handful of stardust. Content and critical acclaim can wait, for switching from the hardcore commercial to offbeat cinema is easier. But as Anand puts it, “Try the reverse order, and it takes so much hard work to make your mark in mainstream movies.” So why wade into turbulent waters when the sail can be smooth? Poster boys and girls of future need to only look picture perfect. Rest can be managed by eager star parents and willing producers. 

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