Nepotism Or Talent?
Nepotism is a word that we have been hearing very often in Bollywood nowadays. Ever since Sushant Singh Rajput passed away, nepotism has been the talk of the nation. But what exactly is nepotism and how is it linked to Bollywood? Let’s find out why.
What Is Nepotism?
Nepotism is based on favoritism granted to relatives in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, religion and other activities. It can be defined as the act of using power and influence unethically to get your family members a good job. Nepotism in Bollywood is not a new phenomenon but for years this topic has had many discussions. It is indeed the bitter reality of Bollywood that actors with pure talent are sidelined and first priorities are given to relatives and favorites. And the worst part is, if an outsider tries to raise his/her voice, they are either suppressed or ill-treated. The focus is on how talented actors are made to suffer by the high and mighty of Bollywood started after Sushant’s death. It all started with Kangana Ranaut calling Karan Johar the “flag-bearer of nepotism” during a controversial Koffee With Karan TV episode.
The debate on talent (without a Godfather) versus lineage (children of a star) has been raging. Beyond the outpouring of grief over Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death, there is searing anger. There is a desire to know why a young, successful actor decided to kill himself. And in many a mind, the finger points towards the film industry’s callous ways that led to first, his depression and ultimately, his death. It has long been an open secret that the film industry establishment prefers to promote its own progeny, and their friends and family. One could rightly argue that it is a free country and a producer or director has every right to choose the talent they would like to work with. However, what one could certainly argue against is creating camps or cartels that do not allow enough fair opportunities for the meritorious.
Who is Bollywood Controlled By?
- those who came into the industry from Punjab in the 1940s and 1950s
- the actors, directors, and writers who broke in during the 1970s and 1980s
- their progeny thereafter
Mumbai is the city of dreams for millions of aspiring actors, but not many make it big in Bollywood. After endless auditions, most dreamers crash-land into the overflowing, super-competitive pool of talent and settle for whatever comes their way.
What Is A Nepometer?
There is high pressure to demonstrate success in this constrained environment. Inevitably, formulaic films with known names are both easier to finance and distribute. Producers start viewing “star kids” as financially more viable compared to rank newcomers. Even before they are launched in their first films, they have millions of followers on their social media handles and photographers are tripping over themselves to take their pictures. Nepometer is a platform that will provide ratings for movies and television shows based on how nepotistic or independent the cast and crew is.
Why Blame The Star Kids For Nepotism?
Star kids have been entitled to privileges which millions others dreaming of becoming actors in this country haven’t. Privilege in the Bollywood industry often deludes people to think that their privilege is natural. They believe that whatever happens to them happens because that is how things are supposed to be. That’s precisely why it becomes very difficult for them to imagine a world where they are stripped of this privilege.
No one is denying the fact that star kids also need to work hard and earn their stardom. But what is fundamentally different is the number of opportunities which are passed on to them even if they keep failing. Just the argument that they aren’t starring in films produced or directed by their parents isn’t enough. A star kid is more likely to be spotted and pushed into the business even if they haven’t learned the craft. The single most important thing which they have and others don’t is access. And it’s an industry where contacts and access pave the way to most work. Their social positioning comes as a great asset. Of course talent is important, but that’s certainly not all that’s needed to have a breakthrough.
Having said that, all that glitters isn’t gold. When you come with the baggage of privilege, the stakes are higher. More often than not, star kids go through intense scrutiny. They’re expected to be perfect and the expectations from them are sky high. Even before they can make a mark, they’re expected to deliver.
Nepotism is a controversial subject. Many people may agree or disagree to it. What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments below.