HARSHIKAA UDASI

It’s raining sisters in Bollywood! Be it donning the greasepaint or wielding the megaphone, the younger siblings of stars are all set to sizzle in tinseltown.

Bollywood is all about being a big happy family, and it’s currently overflowing with sisterly love. Katrina Kaif was reportedly trying her best to influence beau Salman Khan to sign her sister Isabel for his forthcoming period film Veer. Ayesha Takia, while publicising Wanted, was hoping her younger sister Natasha’s Bollywood debut earns as much public adulation. The sister act is spreading, with sisters of Amrita Rao, Vidya Balan, Esha Deol and Sonam Kapoor trying to elbow into cinema space.

In Katrina’s footsteps

Last year, as photographs of Isabel with sister Katrina in Bollywood events started appearing in the media, speculations about her filmy debut began to do the rounds too. Isabel is armed with an acting course from the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute. The latest is that she is scouting actively for work, and her sister is helping her adapt to the ways of the starry world. While Katrina had said that her sister was way too young for Bollywood, she had, nevertheless, insisted that Isabel enrol for an acting course. Besides, there has been no denial of reports about her trying to get the kid to play opposite Salman in Veer, a role that Welsh model Lisa Lazarus is now doing.

Amrita Rao’s sister Preeta is a television model who also writes occasionally. Now she too is ready for her filmy debut. Preeta is poised for a regional splash with Manikandan’s Chikku Bukku. Another Kannada film that she had signed, Rakthaksha, could also begin shoot now after running into problems.

While Preeta says she isn’t interested in Bollywood, it’s a move that is only expected to follow. Remember, she kept saying she wasn’t interested in films!

But the sister invasion is not happening just in acting. Esha Deol’s sister Ahana, who was for long speculated to kick off her acting career, has made it clear she’d rather wield the megaphone.

She is on her first film too, working as assistant director to Sanjay Leela Bhansali on his ambitious project Guzaarish with Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai.

If reports are to be believed, the enterprising girl has even got her ‘good friend’ and VJ Aditya a role in the film. Being the director may help, with Deol banner Vijeta Films in revival mode, and sister Esha’s and half-brother Bobby’s careers on the descent.

On the other hand is Sonam Kapoor’s sister Rhea, who is donning the mantle of producer with Aisha, a film based on Jane Austen’s novel Emma. Sonam will play the desi Emma, who is keenly interested in blissful matrimony. Theory is that dad Anil Kapoor, obviously unhappy with the way Sonam’s film repertoire looked post Saawariya, wanted to make a film that showed off Sonam’s acting skills. And, what better way to do it than a home production with his second daughter at the helm? Rhea has reportedly assisted Ayan Mukherjee on Wake Up Sid!

If sisters are here, can cousins be far behind? Priyanka Chopra had to once contend with Jiya Chopra, who claimed to be her uncle’s daughter, but said she didn’t need any assistance from the former. Apparently, Priyanka claimed she didn’t even know of Jiya. Sadly, Jiya is unheard of now. Vidya Balan’s cousin Priyamani has had better fortune. A known face in Tamil and Telugu films, she already has a National Award to her credit (for her Tamil film Paruthi Veeran), she is now stepping into Bollywood with Mani Ratnam’s Raavan. She plays the important character of Raavan’s (Abhishek Bachchan) sister Shoorpanakha, a role not many were keen to take up fearing the tag of junior Bachchan’s sister! Priyamani has grabbed the opportunity as it means working with top Bollywood actors and Mani Ratnam, in a project already making news.

However, one must say it’s a rather tricky business outdoing the original sister act, and these girls have a tough road ahead. Ask Amrita Arora, Tanisha Mukherjee, Shamita Shetty and Sushma Reddy about having to live up to Malaika, Kajol, Shilpa and Sameera. Just a couple of names such as Karisma-Kareena, in recent years, and Nutan-Tanuja of yesteryears, come up while thinking of successful sisters. While the advantage of being guided by someone who’s ‘been there done that’ is reassuring, get ready to face the comparison, sista’!

Sisters vying for the big break

Katrina’s sister Isabel

Amrita Rao’s sister Preeta

Ayesha Takia’s sister Natasha

Sonam Kapoor’s sister Rhea Kapoor

Esha Deol’s sister Ahana Deol