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Posted at: Apr 17, 2016, 12:22 AM; last updated: Apr 17, 2016, 12:22 AM (IST)

Kapoor & Sons

The title of a recently released film makes us explore the labyrinth of Bollywood’s first family with sons, daughters, grandkids and then some more…

Gautam Chintamani

Family is a big thing in the world of entertainment. Just like business, political or sports dynasties film families, too, are a much celebrated and hallowed bunch. By virtue of a famous show business surname such as the Barrymores, the Fondas, the Collins, the Coppolas and closer home the Kapoors, the Chopras, the Bachchans, the Sippys, the Akkinenis to name a few, the progeny often believes itself to be a cut above the rest. Much like Indian political families, show business families have also started operating as personal fiefdoms where the baton is unquestionably passed on to gen-next irrespective of whether they want it or are even talented enough. For a larger image of the family tree, click here


When it comes to Indian show business families, none can even come close to being in the same league as the fabled Kapoors of Hindi cinema, and for good reason. Cinema in India was in its infancy when Prithviraj Kapoor, patriarch of the clan, moved to India from Peshawar in Pakistan. He made his debut in 1929 and was also featured in the first Indian talkie, Alam Ara (1931). And interestingly enough, the myth of the Kapoor khandaan originated around the same time as the Barrymores and the Fondas of Hollywood. 

Among other things, mapping the Kapoor family tree would be one of the most popular exercises when it comes to film trivia. Such is the charm of the Kapoors that every generation from the late 1940s to the present day has had its own special moment celebrating Hindi cinema’s first family. For the present generation, Ranbir and Kareena Kapoor would be the focal point and, therefore, Ranbir’s Rockstar (2011) where he shared the screen with his granduncle, the legendary Shammi Kapoor or Besharam (2013) where Ranbir co-starred with both parents Rishi and Neetu Kapoor makes for the magical Kapoor genealogy moment. Unlike Ranbir, both his cousins, Karisma and Kareena, have never shared screen space with any blood relative. But their father Randhir Kapoor’s debut film Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971) where three generations of Kapoors — Prithviraj, Raj and Randhir — were seen together as well as grandfather Raj Kapoor’s Awaara (1951), where their great-grandfather Dewan Basheshwarnath Kapoor featured in a cameo, alongside Prithviraj and Raj besides the other grand-uncle Shashi, who played the role of the young Raj, are more popular cinematic references whenever the name ‘Kapoors’ pop up.

Beyond the films, it’s the photo-ops at events such as the recent birthday of Randhir Kapoor where the extent of the Kapoor khandaan bloodline becomes visible. You suddenly realise how some of the most iconic names in Hindi cinema are, well… related and how. You have Saif Ali Khan, now married to Kareena, Randhir and Babita Kapoor’s daughter, which makes Sharmila Tagore a relative of the Kapoors on one side and the other side she is also related to the recently deceased yesteryear screen goddess Sadhana Shivdasani, who happened to be a cousin of Babita. If you thought those dots were far from connectable, then sample this — how is Sharman Joshi related to Amitabh Bachchan? Well, via the Kapoors, of course. Joshi is married to Prerna, daughter of Prem Chopra and Uma, sister of Prem Nath, Rajendra Nath and Krishna Raj Kapoor. Krishna and Raj Kapoor’s daughter  Ritu Nanda is Shweta Bachchan’s mother-in-law… Or how is Mithun Chakraborty a distant uncle of Ranbir Kapoor? Mithun is married to Yogeeta Bali, niece of Geeta Bali, the late wife of Shammi Kapoor, who is Ranbir’s granduncle. 

In the some of these photos, there are many people one rarely sees in the spotlight but the relationship still exists — how is Raj Kapoor related to Bimal Roy — Shashi Kapoor’s daughter Sanjana was formerly married to Aditya Bhattacharya, son of Basu Bhattacharya and grandson of Bimal Roy as Aditya’s mother, Rinki, happens to be Bimal Roy’s daughter. Then there are some simpler connections — Anil Kapoor’s father, the late Surinder Kapoor is a first cousin of Prithviraj so making Sridevi, now married to Boney Kapoor, a relative of the Kapoors — and some super connections as well that would need an entire sub-section to chart out the Kapoor dynasty. 

One such example is Kishore Kumar being related to Raj Kapoor as well — Mithun’s wife, Yogeeta Bali, was formerly married to Kishore Kumar, or how Manisha Koirala and Karisma Kapoor could be related — Karisma is married to Sanjay Kapur, whose sister Mandira was married to Manisha’s cousin from Nepal. Shashi Kapoor’s son Kunal married Ramesh Sippy’s daughter Sheena, which makes the Sippys, the Kapoors and the Bachchans  family. But the one that takes the cake is the manner in which Salma Agha is not only related to Raj Kapoor but also happens to be Randhir, Rishi and Rajeev Kapoors’ aunt — Prithviraj Kapoor’s uncle Jugal Kishore Mehra is Salma Agha’s grandfather.

Besides charting the widespread family tree fans also like to juxtapose the Kapoors’ family pictures across the decades with a different patriarchs across the decades as watching these images is like watching a major portion of the history of popular Hindi cinema unfolding in front of your eyes. Dynasties can be both a boon as well as burden. Just because one has a Kapoor connection doesn’t behoove a glittering career in cinema and ironically this, too, can be observed across generations. 

There is barely anyone who can recall a gentleman named Trilok Kapoor, Prithviraj’s younger sibling, who, although not blessed with the same striking looks, had a striking persona but did only a handful of films. Or Shammi Kapoor’s son Aditya Raj Kapoor and Raj Kapoor’s youngest Rajeev Kapoor to name just two from the middle generation who couldn’t achieve much in terms of show biz. The latest one to miss making the cut is Armaan Jain, son of Raj Kapoor’s second daughter Rima, who debuted as an actor in a washout called Lekar Hum Deewana Dil.  


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