Arjun Sarja flanked by nephews Dhruv (left) and Chiranjeevi Sarja.
It’s no longer just star kids cashing in on their parents' fame to kick off a film career for themselves, with greater access to the industry it’s star relatives next in the line.
Producers and directors too prefer to lay their bets on newcomers with star connections. They tickle the audience’s curiosity and that helps rake in the moolah at the box office.
In not so far Bollywood, actress Priyanka Chopra’s cousins Parineeti, Meera and Barbie have followed PeeCee’s lead. Sonakshi Sinha’s cousin Bhavna Ruparel will debut soon. Second cousin to late Divya Bharati, Kainaat Arora will be seen in the comedy Grand Masti.
The pattern repeats in Sandalwood. Rajkumar’s nephew S A Chinne Gowda went on to become a popular Kannada producer himself and his actor sons Vijay Raghavendra and Srimurali are well-established in the industry today.
Arjun Sarja’s nephews Chiranjeevi, Dhruv and Bharat are big in Sandalwood. Chiru started his film career with Vaayu Putra and Dhruv’s first film Addhuri was a blockbuster. Today, both have distinct film identities despite being action heroes. Bharat is only getting started in Kannada films. Chiru and Dhruv consider their mama (Arjun Sarja) as their mentor.
The latest to join films is Ravichandran’s nephew Vivek. His mother is the Crazy Star’s sister. He will debut with Endendigu Ninaaagi, a film being produced by his father Narasimhan and which is a remake of Tamil film Engeyum Eppothum.
Darshan’s cousin Manoj is turning hero for a film to be directed by Raj Pathipati and to be produced by Yogaraj Bhat. Six feet tall, Manoj is Darshan’s father Thoogudeepa Srinivas’ elder brother’s son. Interestingly, Manoj addresses Darshan and his brother Dinakar as ‘uncle’. Sudeep’s sister’s son Sanchith is entering Sandalwood as a filmmaker. He is currently assisting Sudeep with his next project.
Popular TV actor Ravikiran’s elder brother Bhaskar’s son Balaji will step into the big screen with Q, a film directed by Sanjay. Balaji’s inspiration is his ‘chikkappa’ and the one from whom he takes acting tips.
Joining the list is actor and action director Thriller Manju’s cousin Vikyat who will debut in Hosaba as an action hero.
Thriller Manju says, “When I entered the industry, we had no relatives we could consider as Godfather. I am glad for Vikyat, who has all it takes to be a good hero. He is been under my training for three years.”
Shooting for Hosaba will start in September. Its story, screenplay, action and direction are being handled by Thriller Manju himself. As for Vikyat, a childhood dream is turning into a reality now. “I would eat, sleep and think of movies all the time. My passion grew deeper when Chikkappa began mentoring me. I look up to him and he is a benchmark for what I want to achieve. It definitely is lucky to come from a family associated with the of industry. It makes it easy for young actors like me who want to make it big in films,” says Vikyat.