Newest Kapoor stars pin their hopes on 'godfather' Bhansali

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Indo-Asian News Service

New Delhi, Oct 23 (IANS) If "Om Shanti Om" has Shah Rukh Khan, "Saawariya" has Sanjay Leela Bhansali as its USP, say debutants Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor who bring with them not just their lineage but also the confidence that comes from being the children of successful stars.

Rishi and Neetu Kapoor's son and Anil Kapoor's daughter were in the capital Tuesday to drum up publicity for their film, the latest blockbuster from "Black" director Bhansali.

They admitted to pre-release anxieties - the film releases the same day as the much-awaited "Om Shanti Om" by Farah Khan - but put all their faith in "godfather" Bhansali.

"Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the USP of 'Saawariya'... If it ('Om Shanti Om') has the biggest star of the country, 'Saawariya' has the biggest director of the country," Ranbir said at a packed press conference.

"I don't know what to say about Sanjay Leela Bhansali. When you see the film, you will realise what a passionate filmmaker he is. He gives everything to his film. I don't have words to describe him. He is my godfather," added the latest Kapoor star on the firmament, dressed casually in blue jeans and a white jacket.

Handling media curiosity with the practiced ease of those who have lived with the paparazzi, Sonam and Ranbir fended even uncomfortable questions with a smile and a laugh.

Asked whether they felt uncomfortable in the love scenes, Sonam dismissed the very idea: "We are very good friends. I know him since he was a kid and I had that image in mind while doing the romantic scenes. I am happy that he is my first co-star."

Both agreed that being a star kid made their entry in filmdom easier, but it came with its own baggage.

"Being a star child always has its pros and cons. I would have not met Sanjay Leela Bhansali if I was not Anil Kapoor's daughter. But I am carrying baggage - I will constantly be compared with my father. The entry is easier but the path towards success is very difficult," said Sonam, dressed in a traditional salwar kurta.

"However, it is the audience who decides who they accept and who they don't. Right now if you notice, the top stars of the industry are not star children. Whether it is Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai... none of them have a lineage," she added.

Sonam says she never had any plans to be an actress.

"I just wanted to be an assistant director. I wanted to work for two years and learn and then go back to college. Fortunately, destiny played such a beautiful hand. Bhansali saab said that you are 80 kg but you are very beautiful and you are the heroine of my next film. And I'm here right now," said the once ugly duckling perhaps who has obviously turned into a beautiful swan.

"I am a Punjabi girl. My parents know I will be married in four five years. But they told me if working in films will make you happy, go ahead and do it," she added disarmingly.

Ranbir is proud too of his lineage and says grandfather Raj Kapoor is his idol.

"My grandfather is my idol. I was very young when he died but I feel very close to him by watching his films. I don't want to copy my grandfather but yes, my inspirations start and end with him. I have a responsibility on my shoulders. I have to carry the legacy forward. I also want to direct films and I don't think I can have a better idol than him."

Releasing Nov 9, the musical love story also has Rani Mukerji and Salman Khan in important roles.

"I don't think that they will overshadow Sonam and I because our characters are written very well," said Ranbir.

"We are thankful to Salman sir and Rani Mukerji that they agreed to work in our debut film. I don't have any scenes with Salman sir but I have scenes with Rani Mukerji. She is such a fine actress that I learned a lot while shooting with her. The experience has made me a better actor."