A dream launchpad: Bollywood dads are launching their sons

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By HT

NEW DELHI, April 23 -- In the world of cinema, it's crucial for an actor to get that perfect launch pad in order to become a star quickly. And in the coming months, we will see several famous fathers launching their sons in their home productions.

Actorfilmmaker Sunny Deol is helming his son Karan's first film, Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas, director Anil Sharma's son Utkarsh will debut in his father's new film, Genius, and Telugu cinema's big gun, Puri Jagannadh, is all set to launch his son Akash in his film.

Is it more desirable for celebrities to launch their children themselves rather than wait for other banners to pick them? Filmmaker Rakesh Roshan, who gave son Hrithik a highly successful debut vehicle, Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai (2000), says he decided to cast Hrithik not because he wanted to launch his son, but because he found him to be perfect for the film.

"I wasn't looking for a story to launch my son. I was looking for an actor for my film. I thought a newcomer would be more suitable than an established actor. There was no pressure while making the film," says Rakesh.

He adds that while making the film, the father in him never overshadowed the director in him. "I never did anything that would look like I was doing anything special to launch Hrithik. I introduced him in the film normally. Hrithik also worked very hard," says Rakesh.

Last year, Abbas, of the filmmaker duo Abbas-Mustan, launched his son Mustafa Burmawalla in their film, Machine. Mustafa says that he got the break because his father thought he was perfect for the role, and being launched by his father didn't make things easier.

"It wasn't easy. You have to work harder. You have such a big name behind you, so you have to carry that forward. I didn't get any luxuries like what others think, and I liked it that way. It's unfair when people think we have it easier," adds Mustafa.

A film star parent backing their son or daughter's first film is nothing new. Raj Kapoor launched his son Rishi Kapoor in his directorial venture Mera Naam Joker (1970), while Dev Anand directed son Suneil Anand's maiden film, Anand Aur Anand (1984) and Manoj Kumar directed his son, Kunal Goswami, in Jai Hind (1999).

Trade analyst Taran Adarsh feels there's nothing surprising about it. He says, "If you want to launch your son yourself, that's the best thing. As a director, if the father thinks that his son coul and if the son feels that he can do justice to the role than what does anyone have to complain about? It's between the father and son orfather and daughter " he says.

Filmmaker Ketan Mehta says that using family connection to enter films is nothing new and eventually it boils down to talent.

"If actors are launched by their families, they do have an advantage, but the film industry is pretty ruthless. We've seen so many actors [launched by famous parents] who have disappeared," he adds.