I am sure you knew Adi Chopra and Karan Johar were cousins. But did you know Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Ramanand Sagar are half-brothers? Or that Ashutosh Gowariker is related to Kajol? Or Saiyami Kher is Shabana Azmi’s relative? Or that Purab Kohli is Shekhar Kapur’s nephew? Bollywood is nothing but a big fat family enterprise.

 

Kangana Ranaut stirred the hornet’s nest by dropping the N word on Koffee with Karan, and for the industry, “nepotism” is now the second-most feared word after “feminism”. Earlier, celebrities would be apprehensive of a reporter suddenly asking them, “Sir, are you a feminist?” Their PR professionals scrambled for various ways to evade the question (incorrectly creating a standard response – “Feminism has many meanings and I stand by some of them”) and were able to, successfully, squash the debate. But how will a third-generation movie star respond to the question “Ma’am, do you think Bollywood is nepotistic?”

When I began researching  this piece, I realised that Bollywood is split into cartels – one often marrying into the other to strengthen and expand its influence and domination. And film families only rarely have members who aspire to be anything but industry members. Ranbir Kapoor’s sister, Riddhima, is one of the few exceptions. After Janhvi’s Dhadak, the newspapers wait with bated breath for Khushi’s debut. Will Karan launch Suhana Khan? When is Trishala Dutt going to act with her father? It is as if children from movie families cannot desire to be anything but industry insiders (it is also true that most of them don’t).

Another interesting fact is also that outsiders tend to gravitate towards film families, with quite a lot of them marrying into famous movie clans – Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ashutosh Gowariker, Kunal Kapoor and Kunal Khemu  being prominent examples. This not only strengthens their position in the industry, but also, in an organic manner, makes them a part of the mothership. Along with that, outsiders who have made it for themselves in the industry also help their own families to prosper. Gowariker’s brother has become the go-to photographer for top stars like Aamir Khan. Three of Priyanka Chopra’s cousins are in the industry now. 

This story explores Bollywood’s most influential – and enduring – families and their alliances with other families. While the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Suniel Shetty, Jackie Shroff and Govinda are not mentioned, it is only because they have not spread their influence beyond a generation (which in no way means that they have not paved the way for their children). Also, I have restricted myself to film industry alliances and relations alone, excluding politics and sports.   


Kapoor and sons (and daughters)


Prithviraj Kapoor and Trilok Kapoor were the first members of the Kapoor family to enter the film industry. Trilok Kapoor, a budding actor, made quite a name for himself in mythological films, appearing in 18 films as Shiva with Nirupa Roy as Parvati (she later became Bollywood’s favourite mother).

Prithviraj Kapoor had five sons and one daughter – Devi and Ravi (deceased at childhood), Raj, Shammi, Shashi and Urmila Kapoor. Raj Kapoor married Krishna Malhotra, his father’s cousin (Krishna Malhotra was the daughter of Prithviraj Kapoor’s maternal uncle).

Raj and Krishna Kapoor had three sons and two daughters. Randhir Kapoor married Babita (born Babita Shivdasani), daughter of actor Hari Shivdasani and first cousin of yesteryear superstar Sadhana. Randhir and Babita have two daughters – Karishma and Kareena Kapoor. Kareena Kapoor is married to Saif Ali Khan, son of Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi and Sharmila Tagore. Rishi Kapoor married Neetu Singh and has a daughter and a son – Riddhima and Ranbir Kapoor. The third son, Rajiv Kapoor, is married to Aarti Sabharwal. Raj Kapoor’s eldest daughter, Ritu Kapoor, married Rajan Nanda. Their son Nikhil Nanda is married to Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan’s daughter, Shweta Nanda. Incidentally, actor Kunal Kapoor is married to Amitabh Bachchan’s niece, Naina Bachchan. Raj Kapoor’s other daughter, Rima Kapoor, married Manoj Jain. Their son, Armaan Jain made his acting debut in Lekar Hum Deewana Dil – the directorial debut of Imtiaz Ali’s brother, Arif Ali, and produced by Saif Ali Khan (Armaan’s brother-in-law). Saif’s younger sister, Soha Ali Khan, is also an actor (though, I think she has informally retired already) and is married to actor Kunal Khemu (who, also, might be on the brink of retirement). 

Shammi Kapoor married Geeta Bali and had a son (actor Aditya Raj Kapoor) and daughter, Kanchan Kapoor. Geeta Bali’s niece, Yogeeta Bali, was married to Kishore Kumar and later married Mithun Chakraborty. Their son is Mimoh Chakraborty.

Shashi Kapoor married Jennifer Kendal and had two sons – Karan and Kunal Kapoor – and one daughter, Sanjana Kapoor. Sanjana Kapoor was married to Aditya Bhattacharya, son of film-maker Basu Bhattacharya and Rinki Bhattacharya (daughter of film-maker Bimal Roy). She is now married to Valmik Thapar, nephew of noted historian Romila Thapar.

Urmila Kapoor married Charanjit Sial and has a son, actor Jatin Sial.   

One must also add that Krishna Malhotra’s sister, Uma, later married actor Prem Chopra. Prem and Uma Chopra have three daughters. Rakita Chopra is married to film publicity designer Rahul Nanda. Punita Chopra is married to actor Vikas Bhalla and Prerna Chopra is married to actor Sharman Joshi. Sharman Joshi hails from a rich Gujarati theatre family and his sister, actor Mansi Joshi, is married to Rohit Roy, brother of Ronit Roy.


The Chopra clusters


Vilayati Raj Chopra had several children, most noted of whom are BR Chopra, Yash Chopra, Hiroo Chopra and DR Chopra.

BR Chopra has one son, Ravi Chopra, who is a noted TV and film director. He directed the stupendously successful Mahabharat and films like The Burning Train, Baghban and Baabul. Ravi Chopra’s son Abhay is making his directorial debut Ittefaq, this year, produced by his uncle, Karan Johar. How so? Hiroo Chopra married Yash Johar, and Karan Johar is their son. Yash Chopra married Pamela Chopra (Simi Garewal is her cousin – Chopra’s father and Garewal’s mother were siblings) and have two sons, Aditya and Uday Chopra. Aditya Chopra married Rani Mukherji. Ramanand Sagar (originally named Chandramauli Chopra) is DR Chopra’s son from his first marriage. DR Chopra married again, to father Vidhu Vinod Chopra, making Vidhu Vinod and Ramanand Sagar half-brothers. Vidhu Vinod Chopra is married to popular film critic Anupama Chopra, sister of novelist Vikram Chandra and film-maker Tanuja Chandra.  


The Mukherjee-Samarth clan


Mukherjee Samarth Clan

Rattan Bai had two daughters, Shobhana and Nalini. Shobhana married Kumarsen Samarth and had two daughters, famous actresses Nutan and Tanuja. Nutan has a son, actor Mohnish Behl.

The Mukherjee film family starts with Sashadhar and Subodh Mukherjee. Sashadhar Mukherjee, owner of Bombay Talkies, Filmistan and Filmalaya Studios, married Sati Rani Ganguly – the only sister of Ashok Kumar Ganguly, Anoop Kumar Ganguly and Kishore Kumar Ganguly. They had three sons, actor Joy Mukherjee, Deb Mukherjee and Shomu Mukherjee. Shomu Mukherjee married Tanuja Samarth and has two daughters, Kajol and Tanisha Mukherjee. Kajol married Ajay Devgan, son of producer and action director, Veeru Devgan. Deb Mukherjee has one daughter from his first marriage, Sunita Mukherjee – who is married to Ashutosh Gowariker – and a son from his second marriage, film-maker Ayan Mukerji. Subodh Mukherjee has two sons – Shyam and Ram Mukherjee. Rani Mukerji (married to Aditya Chopra) is Ram Mukherjee’s daughter.   


Of Akhtars, Azmis and Iranis


Poet and film lyricist Jan Nisar Akhtar had one son, lyricist Javed Akhtar. Javed Akhtar married Honey Irani and had two children with her, Zoya and Farhan Akhtar. Honey Irani’s sister, Menaka Khan, has two children – film-makers Farah and Sajid Khan. Farah Khan is married to film-maker and Twitter sensation Shirish Kunder.  After his divorce with Irani, Javed Akhtar married Shabana Azmi. Shabana Azmi’s brother, cinematographer Baba Azmi, is married to actor Tanvi Azmi. Saiyami Kher, who debuted in Mirzya last year opposite Harshvardhan Kapoor, (Anil Kapoor’s son), is Tanvi Azmi’s niece. Actresses Farah Naaz and Tabu are Shabana Azmi’s nieces.


The other Kapoors


Surinder Kapoor, a cousin of Prithviraj Kapoor, started his film career as Geeta Bali’s secretary. Boney, Anil, Sanjay and Reena Kapoor are his children. Arjun Kapoor is Boney Kapoor’s son from his first marriage (Boney Kapoor later married Sridevi and their children are Janhvi and Khushi Kapoor). Anil Kapoor married Sunita Bhavnani and has three children – Rhea, Sonam and Harshvardhan Kapoor. Ranveer Singh (originally Ranveer Singh Bhavnani) is Sonam, Rhea and Harshvardhan’s second cousin, as their mothers are cousins. Reena Kapoor married Sandeep Marwah and has a son, actor Mohit Marwah.

Jeetendra (Ravi Kapoor) married Shobha Kapoor and has two children, Ekta and Tusshar Kapoor. Film-maker Abhishek Kapoor is their cousin.

Actor Pankaj Kapur was married to Neelima Azeem. Shahid Kapoor is his first child. Azeem later married actor Rajesh Khattar and has a son, Ishaan Khattar (who starred opposite Janhvi in Dhadal, produced by Karan Johar). Pankaj Kapur went on to marry Supriya Pathak; Supriya Pathak’s sister, Ratna Pathak, is Naseeruddin Shah’s second wife. The Pathak sisters are actress Dina Pathak’s daughters, by the way. Naseeruddin Shah was married to Manara Sikri, with whom he has a daughter, Heeba Shah. He has two sons with Ratna Pathak Shah – Imaad and Vivaan – both actors. Actor Surekha Sikri is Manara Sikri’s sister.


The Khan khaandaans


The Khans

Salim Khan has two wives – Salma Khan (originally Sushila Charak) and Helen. Salim and Salma Khan’s children are Salman, Arbaaz, Sohail, Alvira and Arpita Khan. Arbaaz Khan used to be married to Malaika Arora Khan. Amrita Arora is her sister. Alvira Khan married film-maker Atul Agnihotri. Arpita Khan married Ayush Sharma, an aspiring actor, soon to be debuting in the industry.

Brothers Tahir and Nasir Hussain were actors, who later produced and directed a bunch of hit films. Tahir Hussain’s son, Aamir Khan, is also actor Imran Khan’s (originally Imran Pal) maternal uncle. Director Mansoor Khan is a cousin of Aamir’s. Actor Raj Zutshi is Imran Khan’s former step father. Aamir Khan is married to Kiran Rao, who is a cousin of actress Aditi Rao Hydari.

Fardeen Khan is Feroz Khan’s son, while his uncle, Sanjay Khan, is father to Farah, Zayed and Suzanne Khan. DJ Aqeel is married to Farah, while Suzanne Khan used to be married to Hrithik Roshan. Film-maker J. Om Prakash is Rakesh Roshan’s father-in-law and Hrithik’s grandfather.


The Anand-Sahni family


Film-maker Shekhar Kapur is Dev Anand’s nephew (Kapur is Anand’s sister’s son). Shekhar Kapur was married to Suchitra Krishnamurthy. Actor Navin Nischol used to be married to Neelu Kapur, Shekhar Kapur’s sister. Parikshit Sahni, Balraj Sahni’s son, married Kapur’s other sister. Purab Kohli is Shekhar Kapur’s nephew.


The Bhatts


Mahesh Bhatt has two children from his first marriage to Kiran Bhatt – actors Pooja and Rahul Bhatt – and two more from his second marriage to Soni Razdan – Alia and Shaheen Bhatt. His brother, Mukesh Bhatt, is the father of film-maker Vikram Bhatt. Soni Razdan’s brother, Karan Razdan, is married to Priya Tendulkar (Vijay Tendulkar’s daughter). Mohit Suri (married to actress Udita Goswami), Emraan Hashmi, Milan Luthria and Dharmesh and Sunil Darshan are Mahesh and Mukesh Bhatt’s nephews from their other siblings. 


Fathers, sons and daughters (and a superstar son-in-law)


Rajesh Khanna married Dimple Kapadia. He had two daughters with her – Twinkle and Rinke Khanna. Twinkle is married to Akshay Kumar (originally Rajiv Bhatia). The other Khanna, the recently deceased Vinod Khanna, also had two children – Rahul and Akshay Khanna. Actors Anupam and Raju Kher are brothers. Anupam Kher is married to Kirron Kher and has a son, Sikandar Kher. Brothers Anu and Daboo Malik have a set of talented musician children – Anmol Malik (Anu) and Amaal and Armaan Malik (Daboo). Comedian Aadar Malik is Anu Malik’s nephew.  

Raj Babbar married twice. He has actors Arya and Juhi Babbar (Juhi Babbar is married to actor Anup Soni) from his first marriage to Nadira Babbar and Prateik Babbar from his second marriage to Smita Patil.

Dharmendra has two sons from his first marriage – Sunny and Bobby Deol – and two daughters, Esha and Ahana, from his second marriage to Hema Malini. While actress Madhoo is Hema Malini’s niece, Abhay Deol is Dharmendra’s nephew. Shakti Kapoor’s wife, Shivangi Kapoor, (originally Shivangi Kolhapure), is the Mangeshkar sisters’ niece. Shraddha Kapoor is Shakti Kapoor’s daughter and niece to Padmini and Tejaswini Kolhapure (making Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle her grand aunts). All the Dhawans are actors and film-makers. While David Dhawan is a film-maker, his brother Anil is an actor. David’s sons are Varun and Rohit (he directed Desi Boyz) while Anil’s son Siddharth is also an actor.


The outsiders (active and successful at present):


The outsiders

  • Shah Rukh Khan (father of Aryan and Suhana Khan)
  • Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (to her credit, her success has nothing to do with her marriage)
  • Priyanka Chopra (although she is at the head of a new Chopra clan, with three of her cousins – Parineeti, Meera and Mannara – joining the film industry)
  • Deepika Padukone
  • Katrina Kaif
  • John Abraham
  • Irrfan Khan
  • Kangana Ranaut
  • Nawazuddin Siddiqui
  • Siddharth Malhotra
  • Sushant Singh Rajput
  • Anushka Sharma

 

According to recent media reports, Pooja Bedi’s daughter and Kabir Bedi’s granddaughter, Aalia Furniturewalla is also going to enter Bollywood and is set to debut in a film with the Nawab of Bollywood, Saif Ali Khan. The film is titled, ‘Jawani Janeman’ and will be directed by Nitin Kakkar.