Nepotism: Why Govinda's daughter, Tina Ahuja, never got a "dream debut"

With pictures of Sanaya Kapoor, Ananya Panday, and Alaya F going viral on social media, netizens were well-acquainted with them much before their debut; Sanaya Kapoor hasn’t even spared a hint about a movie career yet, let alone debuting. Interestingly, none of their filmy parents were remotely successful in their prime, but their younger ones have been handed out dear stardom in a silver platter.

The overlooked star-kid

Then, we have Govinda, a superstar of his time, who delivered back-to-back hits all through the 80s and the 90s, but has struggled to get his daughter a decent launch. We never get to hear about Narrmadaa Ahuja, aka Tina, and the cold-shoulder from the shutterbugs is all too evident, given even Shweta Bachchan’s daughter gets a fair share of paparazzi. Shall we believe, then, that Tina never goes to the gym or the airport flaunting a click-worthy ‘look’?

Govinda, with his daughter, Tina Ahuja

Govinda didn’t belong

Govinda never belonged to the elite clique comprising a few mega banners and stars who won their endearment. He could never be part of a Yash Raj film, nor did Karan Johar sign him in. Blockbusters like Coolie No. 1, Dil Dariya, Hum, Shola Aur Shabnam, Aankhein, and Sajan Chale Sasural transformed him into an actor of the masses; though there was no dearth of talent in him, Chichi couldn’t enter the industry gentry. It was mostly David Dhawan who gave him a platform.

Changing chemistries

But with time, the Hero No. 1 actor soured his ties with the handful of people whose good books he was in. Dhawan doesn’t cast him anymore. Back in 2007, Narmada Ahuja was spotted with Salman Khan in an award show which set people’s expectations on Salman Khan for launching good friend Govinda’s daughter in a grand way.

Many inferred that she would be the face of Salman’s 2010 release, Dabangg. The movie released to rave reviews, albeit, with Sonakshi Sinha, which was a shocker even for the industry insiders.

What did Tina have to say

Later, in an interview, Narrmadaa cleared the air stating Salman was never planning to arrange her debut, nor had her star father asked Salman for any favours. Govinda continued gracing star-studded filmy parties and events and his daughter accompanied. Rumours of Govinda’s daughter debuting have hit the streets years ago. In multiple interviews, Narmmadaa has reasoned the delay in her debut as a lack of exciting scripts. She claimed that the script is paramount to her, waiting for which, she has turned down many projects.

Finally... the much-awaited break

Tina Ahuja in 'Second-hand Husband'

At last, she found the “perfect script” in Second Hand Husband, in which she was introduced as Tina Ahuja. It released in 2015 only to fall flat at the ticket window. In an era where star-kids are launched with an astounding drum-roll, promotions, pomp, and show, Narrmadaa’s debut happened in a rather quiet way, in a low-budget movie, amidst audience’s sheer obliviousness.

Second Hand Husband collected less than 2.5 crores after running for a couple of weeks in some 500 odd screens.

Tina wasn’t considered for a second round

It’s been five years, but Tina didn’t get another release. Now she may say she is reading and waiting for a script that speaks to her.

Bollywood has given repeated breaks to star-kids despite consecutive failures in their evolving years. Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor had many disasters initially, but they were never denied opportunities. Tanisha Mukherjee was in fact re-launched with Neal 'nNikki, but that never happened for Govinda’s daughter.

Papa won’t produce

A curious mind would wonder why the star didn’t produce a film for his child. In a 2017 interview, Tina said, “Dad is too busy signing his own films to produce a film for me.” But we haven’t seen too many Govinda-starers releasing since 2017, have we? Tina’s latest project was a music video album of an old Hindi remix. So much for stressing in “quality script”!

Thing is...

The case-study of Govinda and his daughter’s debut establishes groupism and club-culture override ‘nepotism’ in Bollywood. Your father can be a flop star, but as long as he has the right contacts and learned to press the right buttons, your Bollywood career and a first few releases are insured.

Govinda was betrayed by the very industry he had served with all his might for two decades; his daughter suffered the treachery.

For more on our ongoing Yahoo series on Bollywood Nepotism, click here.