Little did we knew that one sly comment by Kangana Ranaut in an episode of Koffee With Karan season 5, will throw the entire industry into self-introspective mode, asking themselves this – is Bollywood nepotistic? Kangana Ranaut had quipped on the show about Karan Johar, “In my biopic, if ever it’s made, you’ll play that stereotypical Bollywood biggie, who is like you know, very snooty and completely intolerant towards outsiders, flag-bearer of nepotism, the movie mafia.” Karan Johar later accused Kangana of playing the woman and victim card, and asked her to leave Bollywood if she had so much issues with it. This led to Kangana throwing more accusations of nepotism against Karan.

Unfortunately for her, none of the industrywallahs (quite understandably) is willing to take her side. Star kids turned stars like Varun Dhawan, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt have defended Karan Johar, while ‘outsiders’ like Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Swara Bhaskar have said they haven’t faced problems with nepotism. Many people from the media, however, stand by Kangana’s stance.

Now I am not going to take any kind of stance in this feature. I agree that more and more star kids are being launched by the day, with Karan himself is all set to launch the careers of Sara Ali Khan, Jhanvi Kapoor, Ishaan Khattar, and probably, Aryan Khan. However, it is also a fact that industry have also opened outsiders to make their paths and get their moments to shine. The ones who have done this have even climbed the numbers game and reached the top as well. So in this special feature, let’s look at 11 stars who have come from a non-filmy background, and yet made it to the top of the Bollywood game.

Shah Rukh Khan


Father’s profession: Businessman

Shah Rukh Khan is often considered as an ideal when it comes to people referring to outsiders making it really big in nepotistic world of Bollywood. He is also one of the very few actors to have made a very successful transition from television to cinema, and remain at the top of the game, with no signs of slowing.

Akshay Kumar


Father’s profession: Indian army

It took him more than two decades to prove himself as one of the most saleable stars in Bollywood today. But Akshay Kumar has shown many youngsters that if you have the determination and the passion for your work, success will eventually come to you, even if you have no particular godfather.

Priyanka Chopra 


Father’s profession: Doctor

If you end up being crowned a Miss India, Miss World or a Miss Universe, it might get you easy access to enter film industry. From thereon it takes hard work and talent to get to the top of the game, something Priyanka Chopra has shown us many times. From winning Miss World to making her Hollywood debut with Baywatch, Priyanka has shown the way to all the girls on how to climb the success ladder.

Deepika Padukone


Father’s profession: Professional badminton player

Prakash Padukone’s daughter started off as a popular supermodel, as well as being a Kingfisher calendar girl. Then one smashing debut opposite SRK pushed her right into the center of the spotlight. And now she is one of the topmost heroines of Bollywood, and also the best in the business as well, negating the adage about models can’t act.

Ranveer Singh


Father’s profession: Businessman

Sure, you can say he is related to Anil Kapoor’s family and that his father had invested money in his debut movie, Band Baaja Baaraat, a fact that no one has verified yet. But Ranveer Singh boasted none of that when he came into spotlight with his crackling performance in BBB. And the matter that he is one of the most sought after actors in Bollywood, shows that there is ample of talent in the lad. Someone has to keep a check on his fashion sense, though.

Katrina Kaif


Father’s profession: Businessman

After her flop debut Boom, Salman Khan might have given her the push to stardom with her next couple of movies. From thereon, it was the right kind of movies and roles that brought Katrina Kaif right on top of the game. Her acting skills still need polishing, and she can’t get rid of her accent, and yet she is one of the most popular and in-demand actresses around.

Anushka Sharma 


Father’s profession: Indian army

She may have got a dream debut in a movie directed by Aditya Chopra and starring opposite Shah Rukh Khan. But from thereon, it is Anushka Sharma’s focus and passion that makes her so relevant in the rat race called Bollywood. She was a part of two of the biggest blockbusters (Sultan, PK) in Bollywood and she has also turned producer at this young age. One of the finest talents around.

Sushant Singh Rajput


Father’s profession: Government officer

After SRK, Sushant Singh Rajput might be the only TV actor who can put a claim on Bollywood superstardom. Right from his debut movie, Kai Po Che, Sushant Singh Rajput has been delivering consistently good performances, with MS Dhoni: The Untold Story being the highlight of his career.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan


Father’s profession: Marine biologist

Though she is currently juggling between family responsibilities and her Bollywood career, former Miss World used to rule the roost once with some major blockbusters like Devdas, Dhoom 2 and Jodha Akbar.


Kangana Ranaut


Father’s profession: Businessman

The woman who started this whole nepotism debate. Kangana Ranaut’s rise to stardom is enviable considering the fact, that she had avoided working with the top three Khans, and yet managed to score some hits on her own in Tanu Weds Manu franchise and Queen. She is also the only actress in her generation to win three National Awards.

Vidya Balan


Father’s profession: Executive vice-president of Digicable

Vidya Balan has shown that domestic bliss shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your career in Bollywood. The National award winner, who also transitioned from television to silver screen, still gets author backed roles, and that’s a sign that Bollywood acknowledges her immense talent.