‘Nepotism’ and ‘racism’ have become two words that Bollywood is currently obsessed with. While both are prevalent in our industry, for now let’s keep ‘racism’ at the back burner and talk about ‘nepotism’. Before I start, first let us understand the meaning of Nepotism. According to wikipedia, “nepotism is based on favoritism granted to relatives in various fields, including business, politics, entertainment, sports, religion and other activities.” Another definition on the internet reads, “the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.”
Nepotism comes in many forms and shapes in Bollywood. Somewhere it springs up in the form of a Film offered by an influential producer to a star kid of his choice, in other places it works its way around filmy kids getting preference over outsiders with leading production houses. The ongoing debate on the subject is unending and somehow has gone into a space where one celebrity ranting or speaking in public about the other’s opinion on the matter gets reported across the media. But is nepotism really that big an issue to discuss? Is our industry really affected by it to an extent that they can’t seem to shift their focus elsewhere? Let’s take a look at some of the most popular actors today and analyse how much of a role has nepotism had to play in shaping their careers… Also read: Nawazuddin Siddiqui on ‘Nepotism’ row: If my child wants to become an actor tomorrow, it’s only natural that I will help him
Son of: David Dhawan (Filmmaker )
Made his debut in: Student Of The Year (Karan Johar)
Critically acclaimed for: Badlapur (Sriram Raghavan)
There have been quite a few instances where there were complaints that star kids don’t have to go through auditions and they get the film because they are star kids. For those unaware, Varun Dhawan actually had to give audition for Aamir Khan’s Dhobi Ghat. In fact it may or may not be true that he got his first film due to his father being David Dhawan but his father directed him for the first time in his second film, Main Tera Hero. And let’s all agree to the fact that it didn’t really do anything for his career. It was a film like Badlapur that made him an actor to reckon with. One can blame Karan Johar of nepotism but a director like Sriram Raghavan wouldn’t have cast him in Badlapur, just because he is a director’s son. Audience won’t make all his films successful at the box office because he is a product of nepotism. So far he has done eight films in different genres and all of them are a success at the box office. In fact, his Badrinath Ki Dulhania is one of the only true blue success of the year. Also read: Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut, Varun Dhawan, Saif Ali Khan: Who said what on the Nepotism row
Daughter of: Mahesh Bhatt (Filmmaker )
Made her debut in: Student Of The Year (Karan Johar)
Critically acclaimed for: Highway (Imtiaz Ali), Udta Punjab (Abhishek Chaubey)
One of the best actresses of Bollywood in today’s time, Alia Bhatt is a product of nepotism. And you know what’s funny? After being in Bollywood for almost nine films, she is yet to do a film with her father and her home banner, Vishesh Films. In fact, on nepotism, she had once said, “I think a star kid can get that first film due to nepotism. But to constantly get films just because you belong to a filmi family, is not possible. I don’t want to take any names, but there have been many examples of sons and daughters of lineage who have come and gone without achieving anything. What about that? Eventually, people come to see you as an actor and not because your family is famous, and you can’t fool them. I am aware people do struggle to make a mark in the industry, but it’s not right to blame nepotism. I didn’t plan my birth in the Bhatt family. I can’t change that and today, I am successful not just because my family is famous, but also because I have worked hard and you can’t take it away from me.
Daughter of: Anil Kapoor (Actor)
Made her debut in: Saawariya (Sanjay Leela Bhansali)
Critically acclaimed for: Neerja (Ram Madhvani)
She made her debut with Sanjay Leela Bhansali in Saawariya. In the last 10 years, there’s only one film that her father (or sister to be precise) has produced till date, which was Aisha and it was not a success. If not for her talent, I don’t think she would’ve got a film like Neerja. I don’t think a new director like Ram Madhvani and a newly turned producer like Atul Kasbekar would bet their money on someone who is in the industry only because of her lineage.
Son of: Boney Kapoor (producer)
Made his debut in: Ishaqzaade (YRF)
Critically acclaimed for: Ishaqzaade (YRF), Aurangzeb (YRF)
Despite being the son of a successful producer and coming from an influential family, Arjun made his debut with YRF’s Ishaqzaade. In his 8-film long career so far he has done just one film with his father, Tevar, and that too was his sixth film, when he was already an established name.
Son of: Rishi Kapoor (Actor)
Made his debut in: Saawariya (Sanjay Leela Bhansali)
Critically acclaimed for: Wake Up Sid (Ayan Mukerji), Rocket Singh-Salesman Of The Year (Shimit Amin) etc
Again one of the best actors of our times, Ranbir, is yet to do a film under the RK banner. He has proved time and again with his talent as to why he, despite delivering flops, is one of the most sought after actors of Bollywood. If not for him, give some credit to Rajkumar Hirani, he won’t cast Ranbir in his dream project, the Sanjay Dutt biopic, just because he comes from Kapoor lineage and is not a talented force to reckon with. Also read: Qaidi Band actress Anya Singh on nepotism: I feel it exists in every industry but it’s hyped in ours
Son of: Jackie Shroff (Actor)
Made his debut in: Heropanti (Sajid Nadiadwala)
Acclaimed for: For his martial arts and dancing skills
His first film, Heropanti was produced by Sajid Nadiadwala and it was an instant success, followed by his second film, Baaghi, which was an even bigger success. Jackie Shroff didn’t make a single film for him and is not planning to in future as well. Despite his films receiving unfavourable reviews by critics, he is still safe bet at the box office thanks to his talent and fan following. He is the only young superstar to have penetrated into single screen audience that usually go for a film starring one of the six superstars of Bollywood namely, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Ajay Devgn and Akshay Kumar. Dabbling into their market is applaud worthy in itself. Also read: Bollywood’s obsession with nepotism needs to end – here’s why!
Now there have been many star kids who despite their lineage, couldn’t survive in Bollywood, be it Jackky Bhagnani, Uday Chopra, Esha Deol, Shiv Darshan, Armaan Jain etc.
I am not denying the fact that nepotism exists in Bollywood but Bollywood is not the only place where it does. It exists everywhere. But looking at every ‘star kid’ and ‘privileged’ actor with the glasses of nepotism is not fair. You are not only demotivating them but also trivialising their talent.
Nepotism may get you your first film but at the end, it’s talent that makes you the star you become.
This post first appeared on Bollywood News And Gossip | Bollywood Movie Review, please read the originial post: here