Freedom connection of B-town biggies

One would usually think Bollywood is all about glitz and glamour, with stars having connections with the who’s who of the country to boast of. Incidentally, several of our Hindi cinema folk come from families that are illustrious in their own ways. One such prestigious group comes from a line of heroes and heroines – who have served the nation during the country’s clamour for independence. As we celebrate our 67th Independence Day, here’s looking at the select few…

SRK’s maternal grandfather Major General Shah Nawaz Khan served in Subhas Chandra Bose’s Indian National Army. He led his army against the British Forces during the Second World War. He was eventually captured and brought to the Red Fort at Delhi for court-martial. Even Pandit Nehru fiercely defended his case. In the 2005 biopic Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose: The Forgotten Hero, Khan was portrayed by Sonu Sood.

Aamir Khan is the great grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was a senior political leader of the Indian Independence movement. One of the most prominent Muslim leaders to support Hindu-Muslim unity, he opposed the partition of India on communal lines. He served as free India’s first Education Minister. As a tribute to his glorious lineage, Aamir and Kiran Rao decided to name their son Azad.

Big B’s father Rai Bachchan was a renowned poet who started out as a Gandhian before turning towards academics. In his celebrated career, he came up with poems filled with nationalistic fervour.

The Nawab of Pataudi is related to Rabindranath Tagore. His mother, yesteryear actress Sharmila Tagore is the great-great-grand niece of noted poet who played a pivotal role not only in the world of literature but also in the Indian freedom movement with his global outlook.

Ranbir marks the fourth generation of the prestigious filmi clan of Kapoors. What’s worth noticing is his great grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor’s great contribution to the Quit India Movement of 1942. Associated with Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), all his plays were highly influential and inspired young people to participate in the nationalist movement.

Javed Akhtar’s father Jan Nisar Akhtar was a poet as well and a prominent figure in the pre-partition days of Anjuman Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin-e-Hind. After moving to Bombay from Bhopal, he came in touch with other progressive writers, like Mulk Raj Anand, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi and Ismat Chugtai – who subsequently came to be known as Bombay Group of Writers.

Shabana Azmi’s father was a poet par excellence. Kaifi Azmi was among the forerunners of poetry of patriotism and freedom. With the artistes’ progressive movement taking over, his poetic work sought to raise banners of revolt on the socio-economic front.

Captain Lakshmi Sehgal Shaad Ali
Shaad Ali, the director of films like Saathiya and Bunty Aur Babli is the grandson of Captain Lakshmi Sehgal. She was a revolutionist, an officer of the Indian National Army and the Minister of Women’s Affairs in the Azad Hind government. During World War 2, she was taken prisoner in Burma by the British Army. Later, in 2002, she was the sole opponent of APJ Abdul Kalam in the presidential elections.

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