Here’s a colorful caricature of Bebo a.k.a Kareena Kapoor, a.k.a. nowadays as Mrs. Saif Ali Khan. If I remember right, I painted this a couple of months ago, but I had always been lazy about starting a blog.
Quite possibly you know more about Bebo than I do, but if you aren’t an Indian, you probably don’t.
So, let me take you through a quick initiation process. First, you must know what Bollywood is.
Definition/Explanation of Bollywood:
Bollywood is the Indian counterpart of Hollywood. It’s our tinsel town. It’s called Bollywood, because Mumbai, where the Indian film industry was born, was once called Bombay (in what now seems to be another lifetime.) So the “B” from Bombay was stolen, the “H” from Hollywood was kicked off to make place for our very Indian “B”.
When Bollywood was young, the only way one could get into movies and become a star was, send in pictures and apply for a screen test (Darmendra told us so on Comedy Nights with Kapil.) Awesomely merit-oriented, if you ask me. So we had our first generation of stars. These stars were beautiful and talented and they were worshipped like gods. One of these first generation stars was Prithviraj Kapoor.
Then came the first generation of star-sons. Still merit and looks ruled, but a few star sons were embraced by the industry. Prithviraj Kapoor’s three sons, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, and Shashi Kapoor, and Rishi Kapoor – all became Bollywood actors and all got the roles of heroes in the movies that they did. They were quite good-looking, I admit. Punjabis and Sindhis are genetically pre-disposed to being fair, tall, and having chiseled featured and blue-green eyes – all of which are necessary for being considered good-looking in India. (Note my circuitous manner of presenting information so that it doesn’t appear biased. I bristle at the thought of being politically incorrect.)
Next came the subsequent generation from Raj Kapoor, I call them the star-sons’-sons. Two of them became quite popular, namely Randhir Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor.
Here’s how I characterize them:
- Raj Kapoor: talented though somewhat avuncular
- Shammi Kapoor: talented, charismatic, and humorous (of the Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe fame…yahooooooo! song.)
- Shashi Kapoor: devastatingly adonis-ly handsome
- Randhir Kapoor: avuncular but more laid-back and easygoing
- Rishi Kapoor: Cute and chocolaty
(The links above connect to their wikipedia pages, which show their past-their-prime pictures, do a google search to see them in their hey-days.)
Wondering why I am getting into all this?
Trust me, there’s a connection that will soon be revealed.
Next came the third generation of star-sons and now daughters too. Until about fifty years ago, people would baulk at the idea of letting their daughter act. The industry isn’t a nice place for girls, they’d say. The Kapoor family too had stringent rules against the Kapoor daughters getting into the film industry. Their sons however stayed on the joyride.
Now Randhir Kapoor (refer to the above list) got married and had two daughters. Kareena and Karishma, and they both wanted to be in movies. Their mom Babita, herself an actress, supported them, and separated from Randhir Kapoor (now they are together again though) but the daughters of this First Family of Bollywood actually got into movies, and they did everything that Great-Grand-dad wouldn’t want them to do – they danced, they revealed, they acted, they smooched their fellow actors. In other words, they sought and found gender-equality. Kudos to the ladies. (Karishma got married to a Delhi-based business-man Sanjay Kapur, and bade adieu to movies many long years ago but Kareena stayed on and blossomed into a star.)
Kareena has been known for establishing thin-ness standards in India and dropping the right size for women to zero, but she’s realized that Indian women have a mind of their own, so recently she’s been heard saying no to size zero. She’s also earned the ilk of Shahid Kapoor’s* fans by breaking up with him and marrying Saif Ali Khan who is the son of Nawab of Pataudi (once Chhotey (Junior) Nawab) , and now is himself Nawab of Pataudi – but let’s face it, Saif is general Nawabi Royalty and Kareena is Bollywood Royalty (and now Saif’s Begum), so the match makes perfect sense.
I am Shahid’s fan, Kareena, but I don’t hold it against you.
*(Important Note for my overseas readers: Shahid Kapoor doesn’t belong to the same Kapoor family as Kareena. With a population of 1.25 Billion, we’ve got to share surnames, which are in short-supply.)