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Indian Cinema Dynasties: 5 Generations of The Kapoors, Bollywood's First Family
by Eguaogie Eghosa Nov 19, 2021 Views (1.4K)
Several families have contributed to Indian cinema's development over the years, across sectors, languages, and groups. The Kapoors, with five generations of filmmakers, stage and screen actors, are the largest family in Hindi cinema to have left a lasting legacy. They cover nearly eighty years of Indian filmmaking, from the 1920s to today. They have ties to several other notable film families. 

Here's a look at their 5 generations in the industry so far.

1. The 1st generation:
Basheshwarnath Kapoor, Prithviraj Kapoor's father, made his acting debut in the 1951 film Awaara, which was produced, directed, and starred his grandson Raj Kapoor, making him the first linear generation of the Kapoor family tree to act in cinema.

2. The 2nd generation:
In the silent film period, Prithviraj Kapoor arrived in Bombay. He worked in both theatre and film, including starring in Alam Ara, the first full-length talkie (1931). He founded Prithvi Theatres and made iconic characters such as Akbar (Mughal-e-Azam, 1960) and Alexander (Sikandar, 1941) come to life on screen. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, his three sons—Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, and Shashi Kapoor—ruled Hindi cinema.

Trilok Kapoor, Prithviraj's brother and Basheshwarnath Kapoor's second son entered the fledgling Hindi cinema business in the 1930s and became one of the era's most commercially successful actors. He had two sons, lawyer Vicky Kapoor and film filmmaker Vijay Kapoor.

3. The 3rd generation:
Raj Kapoor: Among the Kapoors of all generations, Raj Kapoor has been the most illustrious and prolific actor, producer, director, and promoter of Bollywood's international reach. He is recognized as India's greatest showman. Raj and Krishna Kapoor had five children: three sons, Randhir, Rishi, and Rajiv, and two daughters, Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain, all of whom are actresses.

Shammi Kapoor was an Indian film actor who was both entertaining and successful. He rose to fame as a fashionable playboy and dance hero in the 1950s and 1960s with films like Tumsa Nahin Dekha and Junglee. In 1955, he tied the knot with Geeta Bali. Aditya Raj Kapoor, their son, and their daughter, Kanchan, were born to them.

Shashi Kapoor: From the late 1960s until the mid-1980s, he was busy in Bollywood, starring in films such as Sharmelee, Waqt, Haseena Man Jayegi, and Satyam Shivan Sundaram. He starred in a total of 12 films alongside Amitabh Bachchan. He was also well-known in the United Kingdom and the United States for his roles in films. Kunal Kapoor, Karan Kapoor, and Sanjana Thapar were his three children from his marriage to English actress Jennifer Kendal, which lasted from 1958 to 1984.

4. The 4th Generations:
Randhir Kapoor: After appearing in Shree 420 (1955) and Do Ustad (1956) as a child, Randhir made his acting and directing debut in the family drama Kal Aaj Aur Kal in which he played the major part (1971). In the 1970s, he starred in several films, but by the mid-1980s, his career had stalled, and he had fewer film roles. Randhir Kapoor is the father of two daughters, Kareena and Karisma Kapoor, from his marriage to actress Babita Kapoor.

Rishi Kapoor: Raj Kapoor's son, Rishi Kapoor, was the most successful of his siblings. Bobby (1973), Khel Khel Mein (1975), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Sargam (1979), Karz (1980), and Chandni (1980) are some of his most well-known films (1989). He has received critical acclaim for his performances in many films. 

Rajiv Kapoor debuted in 1983 with the film Ek Jaan Hain Hum. In his father's most recent film, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, he played the starring role (1985). Aasmaan (1984), Lover Boy (1985), Zabardast (1985), and Hum To Chale Pardes (1985) were among his other features (1988). In 1990, he appeared in his final picture, Zimmedaaar, and then went on to produce a film.

Aditya Raj Kapoor is most recognized for his work as an assistant director in various Hindi films and for directing English language films such as Shamaal, Don't Stop Dreaming (2007), and Sambar Salsa (2007).

Kunal Kapoor is the son of Shashi Kapoor and Jennifer Kendal. He made his acting debut in the English-language film Siddhartha in 1972, then went on to star in Shyam Benegal's Junoon and Ahista Ahista, his first mainstream Bollywood film. In addition, he appeared in the art films Utsav (1984) and Trikal (1986). (1985). He quit performing in 1987 to start his own commercial film company. Kunal married Sheena Sippy, the daughter of filmmaker Ramesh Sippy. They had two children together: a son named Zahan Prithviraj Kapoor and a girl named Naina Prithviraj Kapoor.

Karan Kapoor was a popular model who became recognized after appearing in a Bombay Dyeing ad early in his career. He also appeared alongside Dharmendra in the films Sultanat (1986) and Loha (1987). In the United Kingdom, Karan now runs a photographic business.

Sanjana Kapoor acted in films such as 36 Chowringhee Lane, Utsav, Hero Hiralal, and Salaam Bombay before leaving the industry in the 1990s and focusing on theatre. She was the general manager of Mumbai's Prithvi Theatre until 2011 when she founded Junoon Theatre. 

5. The 5th generation:
Karisma Kapoor is the Kapoor family's first daughter to enter the industry. During the 1990s, Karisma showcased her entire range of talent, from blockbuster romances like Raja Hindustani and Dil Toh Pagal Hai to a raunchy comedy starring Govinda and Salman Khan. Sanjay Kapoor is her current ex-husband.

Kareena Kapoor made her cinematic debut in 2000 with Refugee, following in the footsteps of her sister. Despite a lacklustre start, Kareena landed important roles in films such as Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham, Yuva, Omkara, Jab We Met, 3 Idiots, and Heroine. With almost 20 years of acting experience, Kareena is one of Bollywood's most successful actresses. She is the mother of two sons from her marriage to actor Saif Ali Khan. Even after marriage and motherhood, she has maintained her competitive edge.

Ranbir Kapoor: The Kapoor scion is currently one of the country's top stars. Although his debut film was a disaster, Ranbir has more than made up for it with outstanding performances in Wake Up Sid, Barfi, Raajneeti, and Rockstar. In 2018, he played Sanjay Dutt in Rajkumar Hirani's biopic Sanju, which went on to become one of India's highest-grossing films. He is currently dating Alia Bhatt, and the two are rumoured to be arranging a wedding shortly.

Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Kapoor have a daughter named Riddhima Kapoor Sahni. Ranbir Kapoor's older sister. In 2006, she married Bharat Sahni, and their daughter Samara was born in 2011 and is the couple's only child. Since Rishi Kapoor's death on April 30, 2020, Riddhima has been with her mother, Neetu Kapoor. 

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