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Sunday, September 02, 2001

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Another generation, another sensation

By Lakshmi Balakrishnan

NEW DELHI, SEPT. 1. Being the gun-wielding super hero who hardly goes wrong in life does not excite them. But creating those enviable characters on screen does. Donning the grease paint is no longer the ``natural'' choice of Bollywood's star sons and daughters; going behind the camera is.

And ``star'' here does not necessarily mean a ``Garam Dharam'' or a blue-eyed Kapoor who retired to give way to a Sunny Deol or Karisma Kapoor. If Yash Chopra and Javed Akhtar gave Bollywood unforgettable characters like Deewar's Vijay or Sholay's Veeru, their sons now have given the industry a Rahul and an Akash to remember.

Young, talented and ready to present an India that is, Bollywood's new directors don't believe in waiting till their hair turns grey to accept that they are mature enough to make good, entertaining films. And going by the success that directors like Aditya Chopra, Karan Johar and Farhan Akhtar have enjoyed -- and are enjoying -- at the box office, there is enough reason to believe that the future is bright for Bollywood. If acting was all that star sons and daughters could think of earlier, the focus slowly is shifting backstage now.

Yash Chopra's youngest son Uday may have decided to take the beaten track by taking to acting, but it was Aditya Chopra who preferred direction and walked away with all the accolades and money.

``It was not as if the acting bug had not got me. Like many, I too had wanted to be an actor. But I soon realised it was direction that fascinated me,'' says the ``Dil Chahta Hai'' director Farhan Akhtar.

Ace writer Javed Akhtar knew his son shared his passion for cinema, but little did he know that his son was staying up late at nights to finish his first major script. ``I was taken aback when he told me that he had written a script and that I should read it. I was scared that it might be a bad one. But by the time I finished reading it, I was happy Farhan knew how to write a good script,'' says a proud Javed Akhtar.

In the near future one will get to see ``Filhal'', a film by Meghna Gulzar starring Tabu. And ace writer-director Gulzar is just as curious as many others are to know if his daughter has the genes in her. ``It was her choice. She did not ask me for advice and I did not try to interfere with her work. But I am happy she has taken a similar profession'' is all that Gulzar would say.

While Farhan, Aditya and Meghna preferred to stay away from the arclights completely, Karan Johar tried his hand at acting as well. Remember that bespectacled, dim-witted friend of Shah Rukh in Aditya Chopra's ``Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge''?

And if you thought this jet-set is over-inspired by Hollywood, think again. Brought up on a staple diet of Guru Dutt, Raj Kapoor and Manmohan Desai films, these young directors want the best of both worlds. So what cinemagoers will get to see are films that have the futuristic technology of the West but with a very Indian feel.

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