This article is a part of The Ascent Summer Program 2020
By Diya Barmecha
I think nepotism is an evil concept integral to a working system. It is like a cog in a machine. Sushant Singh Rajput’s (SSR) suicide was a catalyst to a much bigger conflict. Since his suicide at his apartment in Bandra on 14th June, Kanagna Ranaut has once again opened to debate nepotism. Though, is it really that wrong to be nepotistic?
Nepotism, the act of favouring relatives or friends especially by giving them jobs. This is a conflict that is all around the world, across all fields and jobs. In layman’s terms, we could say that nepotism means giving your company, everything you have worked for to a trusted friend or relative instead of someone who is just an average worker. This debate started when Kangana Rannut called Karan Johar “a flag bearer of nepotism” at his famous talk show, Koffee with Karan.
I feel that in Bollywood, there are a numerous number of stars who are the descendants of bigger stars such as Shraddha Kapoor, daughter of Shakti Kapoor or Sanjay Dutt, son of Nargis Dutt. These kids have it easier since directors, producers and other people in the industry have watched them grow up. Directors like Karan Johar have watched Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan grow up on account of them being born into the industry. Which is why they have a sense of trust and love towards them. For obvious reasons, they would definitely be safer to cast in a movie than someone entirely new.
I believe that nepotism is all about trust. In a movie, for it to be a big hit, you need to trust that your cast will promote the movie and act to their best ability.
In a company you have to trust that they will lead the company to a brighter future. Given the chance would you rather trust a stranger or someone you have known for years?
Although it is wrong to be ignorant towards talent. Stars such as Ayushman Khurana and Katrina Kaif weren’t born into the industry and had to put twice the effort to get launched. Ayushman who debuted in Vicky Donor at the age of 28 says in a magazine interview, “Had I been a star kid, I’d have got launched by 22 or 23.” Which is true. If he was a star kid, his talent would have been recognised at a much younger age and had better chances at movies.
A number of stars have shared their views on nepotism. At the 2019 Newcomers Table hosted by CNN news yearly, Siddharth Chatruvedi, the new star in Gully Boy said, “Their struggle begins where our dreams are fulfilled.” This means that for someone who is from the outside, getting one movie would be a struggle. However to a star kid, getting a hit movie or getting 5 hit movies in a row is a struggle. I think that everyone struggles at some point, even though some struggle to get to the top whereas some struggle to be considered competition.
Alia Bhatt’s mother also replied to a tweet by Hansal Mehta and said, “those ‘ranting about nepotism’ will be caught in a tough spot if their kids want to become actors too” I figure that tis will be the case. If an actor’s son wants to be an actor, there is no reason to stop him. For evident reasons the child will have it easier since people he has seen throughout his entire life will launch him and help him become a star. Like Ananya Panday said at the 2019 Newcomers Table, “I’m very grateful that I am my dad;s daughter and I wouldn’t want it any other way” She also says at an award function, “My dad has worked hard to be successful so that I could have it easier.”.
In my opinion, there is nothing we can do about nepotism now or even in the future. Each and every industry is never blinded to talent. Even if some people have it easier. The public looks for talent and follows the people who they admire. Even if x was released at a young age being famous since a kid. For x to continue to be famous and to gain the trust and love from fans is hard. With so much talent and so many actors, to stay on headlines is a task.
Arguing about nepotism is just arguing in circles because you can’t ignore talent either inside or outside of the industry.The only thing fighting about nepotism can get done is create a divide between the angry ones and the oblivious ones. Angry ones like Kangana Ranaut are blaming big stars like Karan Johar except a few thousand followers on twitter, nothing has changed. Even if we completely stop being nepotistic and not give movies to star kid’s so many talents would have been for nought.
Nepotism is a necessary evil in everyone’s lives. With it, there is more competition. For outsiders there is a struggle to get known and this journey will be the hardest but most memorable of their lives. Nepotism can either drive you or make you complain. It is there, for now and forever. The way you channel your feelings about it is what matters.