They represent the celebrity generation next and have all been there, at least in the fringes, if not done it all. But they hate being termed the brat pack. While some are quietly working for their place under the sun, others are raring to carve an identity beyond their parents. Society catches up with few young Turks, to watch out for...
20 and Done: Koel Purie
For the 20 something, younger daughter of Living Media's Aroon and Rekha Purie, and the self-confessed 'middle talent' of the family, Koel, relating to mass media comes quite naturally. Currently pursuing a course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, with a stint as a script writer and actress on Doordarshan's Aaj Ki Nari, firmly behind, she recently extended her acting repertoire with Rahul Bose's full length feature film Everybody Says I'm Fine.
Bitten by the performance bug from the very beginning, "My name comes from the fact that I cried very melodiously as a baby," she reveals, adding "While my parents were keen on my learning music and dance, I chose to be in theatre and films." And what started with a stint as an anchor for Niret and Nikhil Alva's production Great Escapes on television, led to helping Deepa Mehta on the sets of Earth, and now she is busy with the play Daisy Pulls it Off. But for this party freak, who loves reading and "travelling off the beaten path," or chilling out with friends when not working, there's more to being a celeb kid as of now.
Power Kids: Amit and Ritesh Deshmukh
The sons of Maharashtra's CM, Vilasrao Deshmukh, Amit and Ritesh Deshmukh share an amazing chemistry. Surprisingly, because they sport extreme natures and have even opted for diverse professions. While elder brother Amit has chosen to walk in his father's footsteps, chhote miyan Ritesh had to struggle with his father's reservations before he entered films. Soft-spoken yet blunt, it is difficult to draw Amit out of his cocoon. He hardly smiles, answers in monosyllables and is careful not wrinkle his shirt while he shifts in the chair. Ritesh who is busy shooting for his debut film Tujhe Meri Kasam, is a complete contrast. Not only can this Saggittarian who stands tall at a height of 5'10 talk nineteen to a dozen, he can also make the powerful CM jittery. "He panicked the most when Amit made a frantic call from New York telling them that I was sky diving from a height of 17,000 feet," he informs, pleased as a punch.
Clearly, the elder sibling Amit is the dominating one amongst the duo. "Stand straight," says the elder and Ritesh smiles back with an I-told-you look. But the warmth they share is unmistakable. The respect for the elder and affection for the younger with only a year's gap between them makes their relationship more distinctive. Amit, who has a penchant for being well dressed even at home, has not quite forgiven Ritesh for aping him during their growing years. "Whether it is a belt or shoe, they have to match his outfit. His wardrobe fascinated me so much so that I would run around shops scouting for the same brand, colour and design of the shirt or trousers he had bought," he says. Through the years, the duo has become friends but their best friend remains daddy dearest.
Smart Moves: Rangita Pritish-Nandy
She doesn't like to be called a celebrity brat child. Anyways, for this 23-something-petite powerhouse, the gamut of responsibilities handled alone, are impressive. Two-years ago and flush from educative internship stints in client servicing at O&M and Percept, she started as a production co-ordinator in her dad's Pritish Nandy Communications. Today she's grown out of the boss' little kid mode, to don the executive producer's mantle for the forthcoming musical comedy, Jhankar Beats.
Apart from handling, "any kind of content, ranging from a small brochure to a restaurant," as the content-head, she's busy with a forthcoming serial on DD titled Sanjog. And before one raises the unavoidable comparisons with Ekta Kapoor, she gushes forth, "No inspirations happening here though, for I have the best role model closer home, in my dad." So quiz her on any chances of emergence of the journalistic genes, and she maintains that she's happy writing scripts. But the future promises exciting options, which entail writing a full length feature film soon, before taking that final plunge into directing movies, "Farhan and Nagesh's style."
Twinkle Toes: Yamini Reddy
"Dance has been an inseparable part of my existence as far as I can remember," says the teenaged daughter of the celebrated Kuchipudi dancer duo Raja and Radha Reddy. "My parents have instilled in me a rare devotion to this art form. Dance is like a sadhana and I have been taught to put my whole being into it." But balancing dance and the demanding syllabus of a formal education is another area she has excelled in. "I would like to finish my graduation and then go for my post graduation, preferably in management, before devoting my entire time to dance. Gracefully coming to terms with her father's second marriage, she declares "I have two mothers, Radha and Kaushalya," displaying a rare maturity far beyond her young age.
A recipient of Rotaract Club's 1999 Yuva Ratna Award, whether it is performing at the Vice-President's house or the Teenmurti Bhawan in front of the PM, she follows in her parents' footsteps literally and figuratively, imbibing their training in letter and spirit.
Deadly Double: Prakash and Vikram Amritraj
For Prakash, the 18-year-old, elder son of Vijay Amritraj, a tryst with the game started, pretty early at the age of two, when his father was still playing on the ATP circuit. Growing up in an all-tennis atmosphere, fondness for the game developed naturally, though it was a chance encounter, with two Tennis greats, that led to complete obsession to the game. "When I was nine, I went to Wimbledon with my dad. He took me into the No.1 men's locker room and I found myself sitting between Becker and Sampras. That is when I told myself, 'This is what I wanna do," remembers Prakash. That summer, he won his first tournament. And with dad Vijay as his coach, there hasn't been any looking back, since then.
He has already participated in the International Junior events, and now qualified to play in the Junior Wimbledon, US Open and the Australian Grand Slam. He won the singles title in Aruba and Santa Dimingo and finished No.1 in the doubles this year in US. But for this basketball and music lover who draws well and acts too, right now it's time for completing graduation in Business from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He finds Sonali Bendre "very cute," but his favourites are Tim Henman and Pat Rafter, and that's one liking he definitely shares with his 14-year-old brother Vikram.
Unlike Prakash, tennis wasn't the in-thing for Vikram, until he was 10 and big enough to behold his brother's success. It lured him to the game, fast enough to represent the under-12 category. Currently playing for Southern California under-16, he has won a few junior Satellite and Open tournaments. But for this mama's pet, academics are immediate priority. According to Vikram, it's his mother Shyamala, who keeps his studies in top shape, and also pushes him to practise tennis with equal fervour. And with big brother Prakash always around for help, do we see, a deadly doubles happening here?
TWIN SENSATION: Luv and Kush Sinha
They are only 20, and yet seem to have an opinion on anything and everything under the sun. But that also means they are well-informed. After all, they are the kids of the Shotgun Sinha.
While the elder of the twins, Luv, is studying media communications at the Webster University, Thailand, Kush is pursuing Business Management and intends majoring in marketing and finance.
Firmly entrenched in their non-filmi career options as of now, any hint of a career in films, and you have a strict in- unison reply, "We don't discuss films outside home." But its influence is something, they can't evade either. "We can't avoid films, as it is there in the family. And there's nothing wrong in following it. So many other kids too follow their parental professions.
But we have to get ready for that, unlike many who jump into it, after a three-month course," explains Kush. And acting is no alien calling either. "While in school at Kodaikanal, I had performed in a play directed by Kush," informs Luv. "And when Kush, became the student president, I became his unofficial defence minister," he continues with a spirited bonhomie. "No matter what happens, we are always there for each other. Though of course, not like those twins in Hindi films, where if one gets hurt, the other also feels the pain. We are very normal," avers Kush.
Mighty "proud" of their Patna connection, talk about papa's current passion, politics, and the junior Bihari Babus, say, "Though politics is often discussed at home, it's not a career you can be proud of." "Anyway, how many 20-year-olds today, are actually interested in politics?" questions Kush. And their values are firmly grounded too. "Certain things are off-limits for us. You tend to fritter, when you do not have that emotional bank balance of a family. Upbringing matters," says Luv. It shows. After all, it's not everyday, that you meet star kids, minus tantrums.
Designer Dreams: Nakul Vengsarkar
"I have always preferred going opposite any craze," he declares. "That also saves one from a continual comparison, both at home and in the media. And what if you are not as good?" So when the whole world was expecting him to jump into his illustrious father Dilip Vengsarkar's shoes, (He even started getting coached professionally till the seventh grade), boarding school and a life-long addiction with golf started at Kodaikanal. But then, he finally settled into honing his hobby, drawing.
"With a bit of inspiration from my maternal grand-dad Sumant Vandrekar," he's now full-fledged into pursuing a career in architecture. Game for occasional modelling assignments, with plans for a post-graduation in Europe being definitely there, watch out for this smart architect in making, who dreams of designing the 'bungalows and hotels' of the future. We hope it's soon.
Genes Calling: Adithyaa and Anirud Srikkanth
Contrary to popular perceptions, the 17-year-old son of former Indian cricket captain K. Srikkanth, Adithyaa started off with tennis. Till he saw his role model Brian Lara bat from close-quarters in 1994. His other all-time favourites include Vivian Richards, Sachin Tendulker and Azharuddin. A natural left-hander and an all rounder, Adithyaa has captained the under-13, 14, and under-16 teams for Tamil Nadu. He has also played for the Rest of India under-16, and the under-19 South Zone. His best score till date has been a 150 not out against the mixed Railways at school. And though, he insists that comparisons with dad could be harsh at times, he admits enjoying the pressure of expectations. Currently in his first year B.Com at Vivekananda College, Adithyaa, whose favourite pastimes include listening to music and hanging out at funky joints, is all geared up to give his best shot in international cricket.
Like brother and dad, cricket once again seems to be the in career for Srikkanth's 14-year-old younger son Anirudh too. But unlike brother Adithyaa's late awakening to the game, Anirud found himself drawn to cricket ever since he could walk and talk. Ani, as he is fondly referred at home, has captained State under-14 and played State under-16 teams. An opening batsman, who's also adept at bowling, he is a computer freak and loves reading books. Though he enjoys playing cricket, he is yet to fathom the pressures of being the son of a famous father.
But dad is the best motivator, and he watches his videos and loves viewing his performances, particularly in the 1983 World Cup.
Her Mother's Daughter: Sreenanda Shankar
Late Ananda Shankar and Tanushree Shankar's daughter Sreenanda is not the proverbial born-with-a-silver-spoon child. While she could comfortably live in Kolkata, Sreenanda is sweating it out in Mumbai, trying to carve her own niche in the film world. "I wanted to be in a place where people would not recognise me as so and so's daughter," says Sreenanda, "I want to do it on my own steam." Having finished her acting course at Roshan Taneja's acting school, young Sreenanda is on the verge of starting her acting career, with two roles already in her kitty. "Acting was always my first choice," she says explaining why she chose a different career from her mother. "I think it is a trifle unfair to say that I was averse to the idea of dancing, since my mother is a dancer. But I find acting more thrilling and feel it has a greater range of expressions. And it also involves dancing. Maa has been very supportive about my choice." They share a terrific bond too. "After my father passed away, everybody said, 'Oh! God how are these two women going to manage their lives?' But my mother bounced back with a lot of dignity and grace. We are like two great friends. Though, we fight a lot, I still cannot do without her. I share all my secrets with her, which even make her blush at times," she says.
However, this young lady doesn't want to do the run-of-the-mill movies. "I am not interested in an out and out commercial film. I'd prefer performance oriented movies. These roles might not be the lead or prominent ones, but they must be versatile," she avers. Yet another Shabana Azmi in the making?
We sincerely hope so.
Musically Yours: Mukul Deora
If there is a youngster reluctant to rest on the laurels of his family, it is Mukul Deora. Though he has grown up in a political environment, joining politics is the last thing on his mind. "I have seen politics from close quarters so I know that it's not always about holding power, meeting top shots and staring out of newspapers. It means sticking to the grassroots with regular visits to the slums, sweating it out on the field and worst of all, not being appreciated for anything that you do," he says.
Parents, Murli and Hema Deora have never forced him to reach out for the pedestal. "My father believes that public life should be chosen only if you want to help people. I do that but in my own little way because it is impossible to please everyone," he says. Instead, he lives in a world of his own, one floor below his parents' apartment, where music is his only companion.
Having played in almost every night-club in Mumbai, Mukul wants to evolve as a trendsetter in India. His company, Transmit Audio Lab, plans to make interesting music that will be a relief from the noise pollution that prevails in the name of music. His funky appearance can be quite deceptive, for, Mukul has an intelligent head on his shoulders and a clear vision for the future. "Six months from now, I plan to release my first album. Five years later I want to look back and see some of my good work in pop music world-wide," he says.
Little Princess: Armana Sodhi
Armana Sodhi might not have her mother's phirang looks, but she has a persona unto herself. Tall, fashionably thin, with a defined jaw and an eye-catching smile, Nafisa's eldest daughter, Armana, has already taken the Delhi glamour circle by storm. So when the celebrated Muzaffar Ali mentioned his search for the role of a princess for his latest digital movie Shawl, Nafisa remarked, "Who better than my daughter?" Meeting Armana, Muzaffar couldn't agree more. And Armana bagged the role, etching it with perfect aplomb. Though she is candid enough to admit that, "Shawl happened because my mother knew Muzaffar.
Otherwise I would have never got the role." It is this forthright approach towards everything in life that draws you to this youngster, who's also into modelling. She has appeared on the covers of Femina and First City and has done advertisement campaigns for LG electronics.
A keen horse rider, much like her father Pickles, she is currently pursuing a degree in management at a local management institute. "Nothing high-flying," she admits. "But it gives me an opportunity to pursue other interests." Although music and reading are her basic hobbies, like her mother, she too enjoys dabbling in different things. "My mother often says, "It's a huge world with an open door. I feel I have enough time to indulge in whatever I want to, before I finally settle down to one thing!" As of now, it's academics for sure.
Bitten by the Acting Bug: Ulrika Krishnamurthi
Her name, in Greek, means a comet. And that's precisely the stuff her dreams are made of-a meteoric rise in the world of glamour and fame. Meet Ulrika Krishnamurthi, daughter of the world-renowned Hyderabad-based andrologist, Dr. Sudhakar Krishnamurthi and his paediatrician-wife Dr. Kiran Krishnamurthi. But, the acting bug that has caught on with her can be best traced to her maternal aunt and the glamorous pop singer Suchitra Krishnamurthi. Baptism into acting happened, when Nagesh Kuknoor, zeroed in on her to play the lead girl's role in his Rockford, which revolved around school children.
For a kid of 12, facing the camera evoked a mixed feeling of fear and excitement. And she had to do a kissing scene too. "There was this scene to be done with Rohan, the boy opposite me in the film, and I was totally nervous. Nagesh asked the entire crew to disappear, except him, Rohan, the cameraman and myself. After a series of takes, which seemed to be never ending, the shot was finally okayed. Both, Rohan and I were feeling shy and once it was over, we rushed towards the exit where to our shock, the entire unit was hidden and peeping from behind the bushes. I had never felt more embarrassed in my life." Nervous, no more, she recently essayed the complex role of Mahabharat's Kunti on stage for a school production. "You know, my mother feels I am cut out for the type of roles that are portrayed by Nandita Das. Diverse, but aesthetic characters,'' opines Ulrika.