Star son versus the 'outsider' ...

By Subhash K. Jha, IANS

imageMumbai, (IANS) The next fortnight will see two much-hyped Bollywood newcomers vie for attention.

It's a pitched battle between the outsider and the 'insider' as filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma's latest and, by his own admission, most prized discovery Mohit Ahlawat's "James" released Friday - a week before the latest star son, Karan Kapoor, hits the marquee in "Dil Jo Bhi Kahey".

Neither father Romesh Sharma (Karan's father) nor godfather Ram Gopal Varma are leaving any stones unturned to ensure a smooth and safe sailing for their prized possessions.

Sharma has gone all out to ensure that sonny boy Karan gets the kind of dream launch that only Hrithik Roshan has got in the past. The best team of technicians and actors support Karan's launch.

Sharma even requested his close friend Amitabh Bachchan to play Karan's father. The star son is being launched in a style befitting the coronation of a crown prince.

Mohit has no such posh props to project him as the Next Best Thing. Varma, known to launch his protégés in style (Urmila Matondkar in "Rangeela" being the classic case), has largely kept mum about Mohit in the press.

In private conversations, he confesses his complete faith in Mohit, arguing that he's the best newcomer he has ever launched.

"Mohit has the star quality of a Shah Rukh Khan or a Hrithik Roshan. He's an all-rounder. And his personality is what I'd call a 10 out of 10. He can do anything," enthuses Varma.

As Mohit and Karan prepare to make their debuts within two Fridays in September, the market has some interesting observations to make about them.

According to sources within the industry, it's Mohit on whom the industry and the audience have pinned their hope.

Hansal Mehta, who gave actor Kay Kay Menon his first explosive break in "Chal" and introduced Aamir Ali and Payal Rohatgi in "Yeh Kya Ho Raha Hai", said: "Karan will definitely be judged more harshly.

"Stars sons are always seen with supreme scepticism. Look at how hard Abhishek Bachchan had to work to prove himself. Karan is seen as the boy with the silver spoon. Mohit is eagerly awaited as yet another dynamic discovery of Varma."

But look what happened to Varma's other "dynamic discoveries" - Manoj Bajpai and Vivek Oberoi! They're struggling twice as hard to consolidate themselves after the first spell of stardom.

On the other hand, several star kids, including Esha Deol and Rani Mukherjee, have proved themselves after being judged cynically in their first spell of performances.

So who will finally emerge a winner, Mohit or Karan?

Successful star sons are Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan and Emran Hashmi, while successful outsiders include John Abraham and Riteish Deshmukh.