The Indian film industry, for a few decades now, has been one of the biggest and most buzzing film industries in the world. Although actors being passed on over generations from a family tree has been a common phenomenon for even longer in the fraternity, it has more commonly been associated with the paternal side. However, a number of today's shining stars of the industry have had their mothers to look up to – and their genes carried forward, from their mothers who had made a name for themselves back in their time.
Suchitra Sen/Moon Moon Sen/ Riya and Raima Sen
Suchitra Sen is a legend who requires no introduction. The first Indian actress to receive an International Award, she was an icon in every sense of the word. Although it was her films with Uttam Kumar that immortalized her, she left an indelible mark in Bollywood in the few films she starred in.
Although her daughter Moon Moon Sen never lived up to her mother's heights, she worked simultaneously in Hindi, Bangla, Tamil, Telegu, Marathi, Kannada and Malayalam films, and made a niche for herself in TV as well.
Moon Moon's two daughters, Raima and Riya, have both ventured into Indian cinema and found success. Raima made her debut in the critically-acclaimed “Godmother” alongside Shabana Azmi. Although more active in the Kolkata-based film circuit, she has also frequented Bollywood, and has been lauded for her roles in “Parineeta”, “Chokher Bali” and “Baishe Shrabon”. Riya, meanwhile, has had a string of commercially-successful films, although without pulling much weight in terms of character. She is seen as a bold youth icon in India, and has occasionally lent support for social causes.
Sharmila Tagore/Saif and Soha Ali Khan
A distant relative of Rabindranath Tagore, Sharmila Tagore began her career with no less than Satyajit Ray as director in “Opu'r Sangsar”, and announced her presence in Bollywood with “Kashmir Ki Kali” opposite Shammi Kapoor, and went on to give innumerable brilliant performances. A national award-winning actress and a sex symbol of her time, she became a great administrator later, leading the Indian Censor Board from 2004-2011, was chosen as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and awarded the Padma Bhushan.
Her eldest son Saif Ali Khan ventured into Bollywood, and had Sharmila Tagore watching her back in “Aashiq Awara” (1993) where they first shared screen space, and Saif won the Filmfare Award for best male debut. After the success of “Main Khiladi Tu Anari”, Saif never had to look back as he grew from strength to strength to be a leading man of Bollywood today, bagging a national award for “Hum Tum” and having every major award in the industry. His sister Soha, despite being a successful business professional, also took to the camera in 2004, and has since earned much critical acclaim for films like “Rang De Basanti”, “Antar Mahal” (Bangla film), “Khoya Khoya Chand” and “99”. She appeared with her mother on screen in “Life Goes On” (2009).
Aparna Sen/Konkona Sen Sharma
Born in a cultural family, Aparna Sen debuted on screen with the role of Mrinmoyee in Satyajit Ray's film adaptation of Tagore's “Samapti”, and went on to work with the biggest names in Indian cinema, including Mrinal Sen, Soumitra Chatterjee and Uttam Kumar. But it was as director that she really flourished, winning the national award with her debut feature with “36, Chowringhee Lane”, and went on to make “Paromita'r Ekdin”, “Mr. & Mrs. Iyer” and many other films that bagged awards all across the world.
Her daughter Konkona Sen Sharma has established herself as a powerhouse in Indian arthouse cinema, while also setting a foothold in Bollywood commercial films. Her performance in “Mr. & Mrs. Iyer”, “Page 3”, “Omkara” and “Life in a Metro” has been received very well, including National Awards.