Following in your father’s footsteps is an age-old tradition that is followed in almost every profession without fail. India’s tinsel town takes it to a whole new level with fathers and their children following in each other’s footsteps, in the same movie. From the famed Kapoor Khandan and the wacky Deols to Bollywood’s modern day power family, the Bachchans, the real-life father-child bond has been translated on-screen many times, and quite successfully too!
The Kapoor Khandaan is the oldest family to be credited with introducing the longest line-up of actors. Their tryst with cinema began with Prithviraj Kapoor in the late twenties and continues even today with his great grandson and great granddaughters making the association stronger. And while every generation of actors from the family carved a niche for themselves, it was only in 1971 that the audience got an opportunity to watch three generations of the Kapoor family coming together on the silver screen with Kal, Aaj Aur Kal. The film, which explored the ideological differences between generations, starred Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor and Babita (who went on to marry Randhir Kapoor).
From the same family, Shashi Kapoor starred with his son Kunal Kapoor in the 1982 coming of age drama, Vijeta, as they played father and son. Directed by Govind Nihlani and produced by Shashi Kapoor, the film subtly explored religious harmony in the backdrop of the air force.
Theatre and film personality Jennifer Kapoor, the daughter of a British theatre veteran Geoffrey Kendall and wife of Shashi Kapoor, brought a twist to the more common father-son celluloid chemistry that was begun by the Kapoor lineage. 36 Chowringee Lane saw her real-life daddy Kendall playing her on-screen father too. The film, which was also the directorial debut for Bengali actor Aparna Sen, was an out and out Kendall-Kapoor affair, as it also had Kapoor’s children Sanjana Kapoor and Karan Kapoor in important roles.
But the familial flavour in movies began to fade in the coming decades, only to be revived now and then. Sunny, one of the earliest flicks of Sunny Deol, had his famous father Dharmendra in a brief role. After the Kapoors, the Deols were probably the only family that have shared screen space time and again. But it took three decades and a little more for that.
Apne and laugh-riot Yamla Pagla Deewana brought another Deol progeny Bobby Deol into the picture along with his father and elder brother. The film’s sequel, Yamla Pagla Deewana 2, has not only kept the legacy going but also shown that the formulaic father-son combo is a success.
But a formula that didn’t work well for the Deols was the father-daughter combo in Tell Me O Kkhuda (2011), in which Dharmendra was seen with his daughter Esha Deol. Directed by her mother Hema Malini, the film was a box office disaster.
The other golden family of Bollywood, the Bachchans have also had their fair share of father-son roles. The Big B has been rubbing shoulders with his son Abhishek in several films like Sarkar, Bunty Aur Babli, Kabhi Alvidaa Na Kehna, Sarkar Raj and Paa.
The proverb, ‘Child is the father of man’ came true partly in Paa, which saw a role reversal for the duo. Abhishek played Amitabh’s dad in the critically – acclaimed hit that had the latter don the role of a 13-year-old with progeria.