Vijaykanth's son, Shanmuga Pandian, is the latest next gen actor who is all set to make his way to Kollywood. He follows in the long line of second and third generation actors to have joined the film fraternity. Some of them, like Suriya and Karthi (sons of Sivakumar), have tasted success and have made a name for themselves in the industry. Though Karthi has given a series of flops in recent times, he still has a reasonable number of hits and big banners in his kitty. Silambarasan, who has acted in many films as a child actor under his father T. Rajendar's direction, met with indifference and average success at the box office in the beginning but has transformed into a fairly successful actor after 2010. His role in Vinnaithaandi Varuvaaya won him much critical acclaim and popularity.
2013 saw the debut of Gautham Karthik (Karthik's son and Muthuraman's grandson) and Thulasi Nair (Radha's daughter) in the eagerly awaited Mani Ratnam film Kadal. However, the film turned out to be a damp squib and sank badly. The lead pair failed to reproduce the enviable chemistry that their respective famous parents shared. Though the film bombed, we hear that Gautham Karthik is working on three Tamil films currently. Thulasi Nair has bagged the lead in Yaan, an upcoming thriller film directed by Ravi K. Chandran. She co-stars with Jeeva, with whom her sister Karthika Nair, produced the hit film Ko (2011).
Shruti Haasan, daughter of Kamal Haasan and Sarika, started out in a lead role in Bollywood with Luck (2009) but has done only two Tamil films so far. She seems to be more active in the Telugu and Hindi circles while pursuing her career in music.
Vikram Prabhu made an impressive debut in Kumki (2012). Following the footsteps of his grandfather, the legendary Sivaji Ganesan and his father, the versatile Prabhu, could not have been easy but the youngster won over the critics with his portrayal of a mahout in the film. His new film Ivan Veramaathiri (2013), too, has had a good opening at the box office.
The Bhagyaraj siblings – Shanthnu and Saranya – tried their hand in films but have not really made a big splash. Saranya seems to have bid goodbye to the industry while her brother is still trying to find a foothold. The Vijaykumar sisters, too, acted in a few films – some in lead roles and some in supporting ones – but have disappeared from the big screen since.
Manoj Bharathiraja, son of the veteran director who also happens to be a talented actor, appeared in films that were mostly commercial disasters. But some of these did receive good critical reception, especially Kadal Pookkal (2001). He seems to be keener on direction these days!
Dulquer Salmaan, Malayalam superstar Mammooty's son, is all set to enter Kollywood next year with Balaji Mohan's Malayalam-Tamil bilingual film Vaai Moodi Pesavum. He has already done films that have done well in Malayalam, including the critically acclaimed Ustad Hotel (2012).
It will be interesting to see what 2014 has in store for all the new and not-so-new kids on the block. We wish them all good luck! Happy New Year!
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Sowmya Rajendran is a children's writer who occasionally offers her words of wisdom to adults. She lives in Pune.