There are four bright UNICEF stars on the Bollywood firmament. Three born in the late sixties and one mid eighties. Let us take a quick look at them.The latter half of sixties had some magic about it.
Three children were born to different UNICEF colleagues in three different cities in India became such magnificent stars in the history of Indian films
Akshay Kumar, the Highest Paid Star Ever
Our senior colleagues will remember Mr Om Bhatia who excelled in finance and logistics in our Mumbai office. He was a disciplined army man who joined us. His son Rajiv Hari Om Bhatia, today has become one of the biggest earners of film world anywhere in the world.
Rajiv Bhatia born on September 09, 1967 and affectionately referred to as Akki or Khiladi is Indian filmdom’s one and only Akshay Kumar. He has appeared in more than a 100 films. Nominated several times, he has won two film Filmfare Awards.
He was the first Mumbai actor to gross over 20 billion Rupees. Box Office India lists Kumar as one of the most successful actors in the history of Indian Cinema. In 2015, Kumar was ranked 9th in Forbes’s first global list of highest-paid actors in the world with USD 33.5 million, earning more than Hollywood actors like Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. Kumar has been Hindi film industry’s highest advance taxpayer for six consecutive years. He paid ₹19 crore (US$2.9 million) as advance tax payment in a single year.
This Indian Jackie Chan, trained in Thailand and a Taekwondo black belt also owns two production companies and Khalsa Warriors a Kabbaddi team’. In 2008, the University of Windsor conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Law on him . “Akshay Kumar just got better with every release.” Al Pacino once said that Akshay Kumar reminded him of his own role in the Godfather.
After being engaged twice to actress Twinkle Khanna, the daughter of actors Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia, Kumar married her on 17 January 2001. They have two children Aarav and Nitara. Akshay is a protective father and keeps his children away from the media. He wants to “give them a normal childhood”.
Kumar stays in shape with a combination of kickboxing, basketball, swimming and working out.
Rahul Roy, the Cult Hero and Now the Big Boss
If you were in the India country office building in the late 80s and early 90s, you would have missed a heartbeat or two as two extremely handsome young men would occasionally walk up to meet their mother on the first floor. The mother was late Indira Roy who retired as the Communication Officer in Mumbai. The young men were twins Rahul and Rohit Roy.
Indira Roy, then the Executive Assistant to the Regional Director, shocked all of us by writing a daring Ist person account as cover feature in Savvy on how she ran her life on her own terms.
This article won Indira an enormous number of fans and admirers. One ardent fan was Mahesh Bhatt who promptly offered the very handsome Rahul the lead role in his film Aashiqui.
Rahul Roy tasted stardom with his very first film. Aashiqui went on to become a cult movie. The girls went gaga over him while boys wanted to copy his unusual hairstyle. After Aashiqui, Rahul did five films with Mahesh and was appreciated in most of them. In an interview, Rahul said, “He was like a father figure to me. My admiration, love and respect for him will always be there.”
Unfortunately, after the success of Aashiqui, something strange happened. Rahul allegedly didn’t get any films for about eight months and then, all of a sudden, he got around 60 offers out of which he signed 47.
He appeared opposite Karishma Kapoor in Sudhakar Bokade‘s romantic film Sapne Sajan Ke (1992). Roy delivered a notable performance in Mahesh Bhatt‘s autobiographical Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee, in which Roy’s character was based on the filmmaker. The film was Zee TV‘s first mainstream production and was based on Bhatt’s love story with the late actress Parveen Babi. The movie had strong performances from the lead pair, Rahul Roy and Pooja Bhatt, with music by Anu Malik.
His best film performance was considered to be Junoon, in which he turned into a tiger at night. He was nominated for the Best Actor at the 1992 Filmfare Awards.
Rahul Roy has ventured into movie production. His company, Rahul Roy Productions, released its first movie, entitled Elaan, on 25 November 2011 in Bihar. The film starred Roy and Rituparna Sen as the main leads.
Roy was born in Kolkata, on 9 February 1968.West Bengal to Deepak and Indira Roy and educated at the Lawrence School, Sanawar. He is married to Rajlakshmi Khanvilkar (Rani), a fashion model. In 2014 they filed for divorce
In 2006, by public vote Roy won the first season of game show Bigg Boss . Roy has been honored with life membership of the International Film And Television Club of Asian Academy of Film & Television.
Nagesh Kukunoor An Award Winning Director
People who walked into the India country office in India in the late 80’s and early 90’s could not have missed Mr K.S. Naidu, who handled administration at that time.
His son Nagesh, popularly known as Nagesh Kukunoor, born on 30 March 1967, a chemical engineer by training and film director, producer, screenwriter by choice is an unforgettable name in the recent history of Indian films. He has excelled both in parallel cinerma as well as highly successful popular movies.
He invested the money he made from his engineering career in USA in producing the movie Hyderabad Blues. It is based on a script that he wrote in Atlanta dealing with Indians returning home from the United States of America. He directed and acted in the movie. It became the most successful independent film in India. The film was featured at Peachtree International Film Festival in Atlanta and Rhode Island International Film Festival.
He is also known for films such as Rockford (1999), Iqbal (2005), Aashayein (2010), Lakshmi (2014), and Dhanak (2015). He has received four International Awards and a National Film Award for his works. He has also received the Filmfare Award for Best Story.
In 2006, He has garnered the National Film Award for Best Film on Other Social Issues, for directing Iqbal. In 2014, he received the Mercedes Benz Audience Award, for Best Narrative at the Palm Springs International Film Festival for Lakshmi.In 2015 he directed the Hindi film, Dhanak which won The Grand Prix, Generation Kplus International Jury for the best feature-length film and a Special Mention Award from the Jury.
In 2006, Nagesh KuKunoor wrote and directed Dor, a drama film featuring Ayesha Takia, Gul Panag and Shreyas Talpade as the lead actors. The film is about two women who come from different backgrounds and how fate brings them together. Meera (Ayesha Takia), a young woman who becomes a widow shortly after marriage, is trapped by tradition. Zeenat (Gul Panag), on the other hand, faces the daunting task of saving the life of her husband, who is on trial for murder. A bahuroopiya (Shreyas Talpade) helps her reach Meera, who holds the “string” to Zeenat’s hope. The companionship that develops between Meera and Zeenat results in redemption for both. The film, which is a remake of the Malayalam film, Perumazhakkalam (2004), was well received by both, the critics and film buffs.
Nagesh Kukunoor Naidu was born to Kusuma Sudarshan and KS Naidu in Hyderabad. He did his high school at Montfort School, Yercaud and then attended Osmania University in Hyderabad, India from where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia in the United States in 1988, and completed his Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology. After graduating from Georgia Tech, he went to work as an Environmental Consultant at Trinity Consultants in Texas, then in Atlanta, during which he attended workshops in film. He studied Acting & direction at the Warehouse Actor’s Theater in Atlanta.
Rithesh Menon, the Emerging Director.
The latest film produced by Prakash Jha was directed by Rithesh Menon, son of Dorothy and Gopinath Menon. Gopi retired as the Chief of Field Office in Mumbai. Compared to the other sensations the 1984 born (March 14) Rithesh is much younger and is truly the emerging Director.
Rithesh says it was a dream to have filmmaker Prakash Jha as the producer of his first film ‘Crazy Cukkad Family’ as he gave him creative freedom. Rithesh says ‘Crazy Cukkad Family’ is a humorous take on the inter-personal relationships within a family.
Rithesh credits his footing in the industry to cinematographer-director Santosh Sivan with whom he worked in films like ‘Tahaan’ and ‘Before the Rains’. “Whatever I am today, it is because of Santosh Sivan. He has been a great mentor. I was not only an assistant director for ‘Tahaan’, I even wrote the film and only because he insisted. “He used to make me write a couple of scenes every day from seven in the morning till the evening. Though I cribbed then, I am grateful to him today for making me slog out. Rithesh learnt it the hard way, the Indian way, attaching himself to a Guru.
Rithesh workded with Nandita Das. in-development Feature Film tentatively titled “Tharavad- Ancestral Home”.
It was among the only 2 film proposals from India selected for the APM film funding Program at the BUSAN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL in 2011. (2011- 2012).
He was also the Chief Asst. Director for the Hit film “Urumi” starring Prithviraj, Genelia D’souza,Prabhudeva and Vidya Balan; Directed by 13 time National Award Winning Director/ Cinematographer Santosh Sivan’ Other projects he was involved in include Heero Veero, Tahan a boy with a grenade starring Rahul Bose and Anupam Kher, Prarambha starring Prabhudeva and Before the Rians, My name is Anthony Gonsalves and Silsilay.