Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor should be scared — there is already a very talented namesake who’s made his debut this week, months before the Kapoor scion.
But the other Harshvardhan (let’s call them both Harsh for the sake of brevity) has no reason to be insecure. He is from an illustrious film family where three generations of industry insiders co-exist under the same roof.
Harshvardhan Kapoor’s sister Sonam is already a top star. He is being launched by one of the topnotch filmmakers of the country in a film that will be promoted in the coming months as the romantic sensation of the year/decade/century, depending on how far they are willing to go with the hype. And of course, they will give him all the debut awards at the end of the year. That way you get all the Kapoors to attend.
The other Harsh (Rane), who already has a body of work to prove himself in Telugu, had to make do with a relatively small love story directed by co-directors Vinay Sapru and Radhika Rao, not quite in the league of the posh Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra who launches Harsh of the Kapoor clan.
As expected Harshvardhan Rane’s Hindi debut Sanam Teri Kasam has met with cold contempt. The film, not devoid of merit, including an outstanding performance by Rane, was never given a chance. The critics (barring your truly) trounced it, but blessedly they have singled out the leads’ performances for praise.
But is that enough? Would Rane be able to survive a flop debut without a filmy empire to support him? The ‘Harsh’ truth, if it must be told, is that Bollywood continues to be clannish to the point of insulating itself from some real talent.
This pedigree snobbery changed three years ago, thanks to the enterprising spirit of one producer Aditya Chopra, who resolved to break the stronghold of filmy empires (ironically, he belongs to an empire himself) by introducing talent from the outside: Ranveer Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana, Parineeti Chopra, Anushka Sharma, Vani Kapoor, and Bhumi Pedneker were all talented Yash Raj discoveries with no genealogical advantages in Bollywood empires.
But would they have made it if the far-sighted Adi Chopra had not swooped down on their talents? Doubtful. Ranveer Singh struggled for years, getting knocked around from producer to producer, until he broke through with Band Baaja Baaarat.
I believe Harshvardhan Rane has the talent and screen presence to be the next best thing after Ranveer Singh, provided he gets the opportunities. Let’s face it. Equal work opportunities is a myth, at least in the Hindi film industry. The sad truth is that Harshvardhan Rane with all his talent gets launched in Sanam Teri Kasam while a Harshvardhan Kapoor gets Rakeysh Mehra’s Mirzya.
When was the last time an outsider with no connections made it big in Bollywood? Shah Rukh Khan? Akshay Kumar? John Abraham?
Time to open the connecting door between Harsh Kapoor and Harsh Rane.