Top Bollywood Film Families which Continue to Entertain and Inspire!

Top Bollywood Film Families which Continue to Entertain and Inspire!

By Neha Jha

Mar 28, 2018  Updated On : Apr 25, 2018

The nepotism debate might have rocked the Hindi Film Industry only now. However, Bollywood has always had its fair share of people from the industry who set up Big Bollywood Families and created paths for their family members in the business. From the quintessential patriarch to the third generation kids who have ventured into not just acting, but other aspects of filmmaking or music or production.

From the biggest Bollywood family heralded by Prithviraj Kapoor to the Bachhans who have been involved in not just acting but in other creative endeavors as well, Bollywood film families are many and have kept their family name alive in the industry as well as in people’s hearts.

We take a look at the top 10 Bollywood film families which have stood the test of time and continue to entertain and inspire the masses with their work. 

The Kapoors– Probably the first film family, the Kapoors are leaving behind their rich legacy with every passing generation. 

Prithviraj Kapoor- It all began when Prithviraj Kapoor founded the iconic Prithvi Theatre in 1944. He is taken to be one among the pioneers of the Hindi film industry. He was also an actor who acted in several silent films before his role in India’s first talkie Alam Ara came through. Many of his plays inspired the youth to join the Independence movement and a young Prithvi acted in all of them. However, post-independence, cinema became a more popular medium and soon his own sons began working in films. He, too, began working with them in movies like Awara. His later phase saw him giving his most popular performance as Akbar in Mughal-E-Azam. He received the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1972 after his demise. 

Second Generation-Prithviraj Kapoor’s had 3 sons, all of whom became successful actors. However, Raj Kapoor turned out to be a patron of cinema and filmmaking, just like his father. Both Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor went on to create their own brand of work in acting. While Shammi Kapoor went on to become the most flamboyant actor and was repeatedly compared to Elvis Presley, Shashi Kapoor worked in various Bollywood and international films. 

RK Studios- Raj Kapoor established his own studio RK Films which produced cult classics like Awaara, Shree 420, Jagte Raho and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai apart from his first colour film Sangam. He launched his sons Randhir and Rishi Kapoor in movies produced under RK Films as well as the careers of scores of successful actresses like Vyjayantimala, Padmini, Mandakini and Dimple Kapadia. Raj Kapoor’s Mera Naam Joker, though a cult classic now, was a commercial failure when it released and landed the family in the financial crunch. He was working on directing Heena, an Indo-Pakistan love story, when while on stage to receive his Dadasaheb Phalke award, he collapsed and had to be admitted. He was suffering from asthma and died a month later on June 2, 1988. 

Randhir and Rishi Kapoor- Both of Raj Kapoor’s sons Randhir and Rishi Kapoor have had successful careers. While Rishi Kapoor had a chocolate boy image earlier in his career, Randhir Kapoor worked in successful films like Kal Aaj Aur Kal and Jeet. He later directed his father’s project Heena after his demise. Both the actors married their onscreen partners in real life. Randhir Kapoor married Babita after the release of Kal Aaj Aur Kal and Rishi Kapoor married Neetu Singh with whom he had done innumerable films like Rickshawala, Kabhi Kabhi and more.

The fourth generation of the Kapoor family saw Raj Kapoor’s grandson and grand-daughters making the successful foray into Bollywood. Karisma and Kareena Kapoor, daughters of Randhir and Babita Kapoor, are popular actresses while Rishi and Neetu Kapoor’s son Ranbir Kapoor also attained the status of a superstar early on in his career. 

Karisma Kapoor- However, unlike Ranbir, his cousin Karisma Kapoor did not have a smooth entry into films. Along with her debut films, many of her earlier releases were box office disasters. Her major breakthrough came with Raja Hindustani even though she had a few hits in her kitty before that. She received critical acclaim with films like Fiza and Zubeidaa before her marriage to industrialist Sanjay Kapoor. 

Kareena Kapoor began her career with JP Dutta’s Refugee and in spite of the film failing at the box office, she made her mark by working with top-notch filmmakers like Karan Johar early on in her career. However, her performance in films like Chameli, Omkara, and Heroine was critically acclaimed. Kareena did a lot of successful films like Yuva, Fida, Aitraaz, and Hulchul. But her biggest breakthrough came with Imtiaz Ali’s ‘Jab We Met’. Kareena won innumerable awards for her role in the film following which she starred in many offbeat films like Kurbaan, Main Aur Mrs. Khurrana and more. She received praise for her small but significant role in 3 Idiots, Bajrangi Bhaijaan as well as for her miniscule role in thrillers like Talaash, Udta Punjab and Ki and Ka. Post her motherhood, she is going to appear in Veere Ki Wedding. 

Ranbir Kapoor made his debut at the age of 25, unlike his cousins. Though his first film Saawariya failed at the box office, his performance received a tremendous response. He has tried to do roles of varied kinds – from Rocket Singh to Barfi and received critical as well as popular appeal for the same. Regardless of the performance of his films at the BO, his acting marvels the audience. He has received two Filmfare Awards so far, for Rockstar and Barfi. Though his association with Anurag Basu proved extremely fruitful, his 2016 film Jagga Jasoos couldn’t create the same magic. The film was delayed for over two years and turned messy after Govinda’s character was edited out and the lead actors Ranbir and Katrina broke up during the shoot of the film. His next film is Sanjay Dutt’s biopic as well as Ayaan Mukherjee’s next film.

The Bachchans– Unlike the Kapoors, this family did not initiate itself into films from the beginning. The Bacchans have had their literary touch come from the patriarch Harivanshrai Bachchan. 

He was a Hindi poet of high repute and has been known for his poetry compilation Madhushala. He was married to Tezi Bachchan, a Punjabi which led to widespread criticism at the time. They had two sons – Amitabh and Ajitabh Bachchan. While Amitabh Bachchan made his debut in films in the 70s, Ajitabh involved himself in production. 

Amitabh Bachchan married co-actor Jaya Bhaduri in 1973 after he attained stardom with films like Zanjeer, Deewar, Trishul, Kaala Patthar, etc. The couple worked together in films like Kabhi Kabhi, Milli, and Abhimaan. His superstardom gained him the title “Angry Young Man” more so because of the rebellious characters he played. The last leg of his career saw him suffer financial strain after his Amitabh Bachchan Corporation Limited (ABCL) failed. His later movie Shehenshah gave him the title which remains with him till date. 
Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan have two kids– Shweta Nanda and Abhishek Bachchan. Shweta Nanda is married to Raj Kapoor’s grandson from his daughter Ritu Kapoor.

Abhishek Bachchan- In 2000, Amitabh Bachchan`s son Abhishek made his debut with JP Dutta’s Refugee. Though the film bombed at the box office, Abhishek went on to do many films. However, he attained his first commercial hit with Dhoom. He attained success with a few other films, prominent among which were Guru and Bunty Aur Babli. However, the actor has had a downfall since. In 2007, Abhishek married former Miss World and co-star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. They have a daughter Aaradhya. In 2015, Ajitabh Bachchan`s daughter Naina Bachchan married actor Kunal Kapoor. 

The Salim Khan Family- One of the biggest Bollywood families, Salim Khan ventured into the film industry as an actor and screenwriter. He and Javed Akhtar co-wrote many great blockbusters of their time. Salim Khan has four children from his first wife Sushila Charak who changed her name to Salma after marriage – Salman, Arbaaz, Sohail, and Alvira. Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar later parted ways and in 1981, he married Helen, a former actor, and a cabaret dancer. They adopted a daughter Arpita. 
The entire Khan family lives together in one house. The 3 kids of Salim Khan, except Salman, have had inter-religion marriages. 

Salman Khan is the only one among Salim Khan’s sons to have had a successful acting career. He made his debut with Maine Pyar Kia which was a huge hit and followed it up with many top-notch films throughout the 90s. Salman never married though he has had affairs with fellow actors, prominent of which was with Aishwarya Rai. Sohail and Arbaaz Khan have also worked in films but without any success so far. 
Though Salman Khan worked in numerous films with several top-notch filmmakers, his association with Sooraj Barjatya continues till date with the name “Prem” synonymous with him. He worked with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in two films, Khamoshi, SLB’s debut film and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam where, reportedly, he and Aishwarya fell in love with each other. Salman is one of those few actors who, in spite of serious controversies and allegations, has managed to turn himself into a brand. His releases as Bodyguard, Wanted, Ready established him as an action hero. The only difference was with Bajrangi Bhaijan where he plays a simple commoner. Salman received critical acclaim for his 2004 hit Tere Naam where he played a large-hearted who loses his mental stability after being attacked on account of helping a woman escape flesh trade.

Bhatt Family– Nanabhai Bhatt, the film director, had married twice. Filmmakers Mukesh and Mahesh Bhatt are his sons from his second wife. 

Mukesh Bhatt has a son Vishesh Bhatt who has his own production house and released superhits like Jannat. Mahesh Bhatt married twice and has two sons Pooja and Rahul Bhatt from his first wife. His second wife Soni Razdan birthed two daughters, actress Alia Bhatt and director Shaheen Bhatt. Heena Suri, Mukesh and Mahesh’s sister has a son Mohit Suri who is also a filmmaker. His wife Udita Goswami was an actor before their marriage. Emraan Hashmi, son of Mahesh Bhatt’s cousin, is also a popular actor. 
Mahesh Bhatt made his directorial debut in 1974. But it was with his musical romance Aashiqui in 1990 that he turned mainstream. Prior to that, most of his movies were categorized into art-house cinema. His film Arth, largely based on his own marital life, was critically acclaimed and remains a cult classic. His 1984 film Saaransh was also widely appreciated for its poignant portrayal of an elderly couple and the anxieties they face during the rapid violence. Mahesh Bhatt made many other films like Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin and Saathi apart from Sir, a film marking the debut of Atul Agnihotri and starring Pooja Bhatt and Naseeruddin Shah. He also ventured into television and made shows like Swabhimaan, Kabhie Kabhie and more. His last directorial was the film Kartoos in 1999 post which he retired from direction and turned to screenplays. He wrote screenplays for films like Dushman, Raaz, Murder, Gangster and Woh Lamhe.  

Mahesh Bhatt has been credited with launching many stellar actors from his production house. He has also been known for the top quality music one sees in his films. He catapulted music directors Nadeem-Shravan and Anu Malik to stardom in the 90s as well as launched the careers of lyricists and singers like Atif Aslam. He has been known for his unconventional ways of living and innumerable relationships, out of which the one with Parveen Babi remained the most controversial. 

The Deol Family– The family tree began with Dharmendra who entered films in the 50s and kept working as an actor for more than 2 decades. 

Dharmendra- Born and brought up in an extremely humble environment, Dharmendra was a cine buff and walked miles from his village just to watch movies. He had won the Filmfare New Talent award and moved to Bombay to look for work. He worked with veteran actresses of the time including Nutan, Saira Banu, Meena Kumari and Hema Malini whom he married later. However, it has frequently been alleged that Dharmendra had an intimate relationship with Meena Kumari who helped him further his career. 

His choice of films soon turned him into a versatile actor. Hema Malini had acted with him in many movies and their onscreen chemistry was widely appreciated. He was also one of the few actors to have worked with all the actors from the Kapoor family except Prithviraj Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor. 

In spite of Dharmendra’s marital status and Hema Malini’s mother opposing the union, both the actors married each other. Dharmendra and Hema Malini have two daughters – Esha and Ahana Deol. Esha had opted for a career in films but couldn’t succeed much. Dharmendra married twice and had two sons from his first wife Shobha– Sunny and Bobby Deol both of whom were popular actors in the 90s. 
In 2005, his nephew Abhay Deol too made his debut with Imtiaz Ali’s film Socha Na Tha. He has since been acting in several character-driven films like Dev D, Happy Bhaag Jayegi, Oye Lucky Lucky Oye!, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and more. 

Dharmendra and Hema Malini have been taking lesser films. Hema Malini impressed critics with her performance in Baghban while Dharmendra was seen in Anurag Basu’s ‘Life in a Metro’ after years. He also worked with his sons on the comedy film Yamla Pagala Deewana and its sequel. 

While there are several other Families in Bollywood Cinema, these 5 families and the generations coming in one after the other, have managed to provide quality entertainment to people.

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