Ranbir Kapoor, left, with his father Rishi Kapoor.
Ranbir Kapoor, left, with his father Rishi Kapoor.

Bollywood veterans put out to pasture?



Since the 1970s, Indian cinema legends such as Amitabh Bachchan have been dominating the Hindi film industry. But with a continuous stream of new actors in Bollywood, should the veterans step aside to give the younger ones a chance to shine?

"There is room for all generations in the acting industry," says Momtaz Begum-Hossain, a reporter for the Indian lifestyle magazine Asiana. "Veteran actors such as Amitabh Bachchan take on the older man roles, while youngsters take on the younger roles."

There's an endless list of veterans still actively going at it on the big screen, including the actors Dharmendra and Rishi Kapoor. Bachchan is the best example - he's one actor consistently in huge demand.

"It's good he's still cast in films," says Begum-Hossain. "Even though for his health's sake, he should take a rest." Films that feature the older set of actors are more appealing to Indian audiences, according to Avtar Kaur, an avid Bollywood fan.

"Veteran actors are very charming and have this presence about them," Kaur says. "Plus it's always nice to see your childhood hero make a comeback."

Begum-Hossain says: "Rishi Kapoor brings a lot of character to his roles which only he can pull off. The veterans are national heroes in India and command a lot of respect."

The younger set have proven themselves to be great talents in the industry as well. An example is Ranbir Kapoor, Rishi's 29-year-old son.

"He's obviously gained industry recognition because of his dad," says Begum-Hossain. "But he holds himself well on and off-camera - he has won a string of awards and comes across well in interviews."

Some newbies in the industry, however, do get overshadowed by the masters, regardless of the talent they possess.

"For example, I would like to see more of Neil Nitin Mukesh," says Begum-Hossain. "He's talented too, but he's not getting cast in as many roles as Ranbir."

"It's nice to see fresh faces, especially actors and actresses who are following in their parents' footsteps such as Sonam Kapoor, the daughter of Anil. They bring something new to the table and show that the film industry is moving with the times," Kaur says. "With many of the veteran actors, their children are either taking over or teaming up with them."

Indeed it's a recurring trend: Bachchan and his son Abhishek shared the screen together in Bunty Aur Babli (2005), while the 76-year-old actor Dharmendra and his actor-children Sunny and Bobby starred in both Apne (2007) and Yamla Pagla Dewaana (2011). The veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah has also teamed up with his younger son Vivaan for the forthcoming gangster drama Mastaan.

"It could be beneficial for children to act with their parents," says Kaur, "as audiences are more likely to go and see a film with established actors and take notice of the newer actors, rather than watch a film with just new faces."

All in the family

Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan - Throughout his career, Abhishek has been heavily influenced by his father. Both possess similarly strong acting qualities and screen presence. So if Big B, 69, decides to retire from Bollywood, his son would be there to take over.

Aamir Khan and Imran Khan - Imran, 29, made his debut in the 2008 romantic comedy Jaane Tu...Ya Jaane Na and recently starred in the box-office hit Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu. Though he has huge potential, we can't see him replacing his 47-year-old superstar uncle just yet.

Rishi Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor - The 29-year-old Ranbir is a versatile actor, as seen in his acclaimed roles in the comedy Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year (2009) and the romance drama Anjaana Anjaani (2011). Not only does he possess his father's charm, Ranbir also emulates Rishi's attitude of continually challenging himself with his roles – proof is his forthcoming film Barfi!, where he plays a deaf and mute character.

Shah Rukh Khan and Aryan Khan - Aryan, 15, made his debut in the 2001 film Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham and is rumoured to be working on a film with his father. It won't be a surprise if he goes on to emulate Shah Rukh Khan's legendary career.

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