Before moving on to the infamous nepotism debate, let us brief you on what nepotism is! Nepotism means the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. But this isn’t a phenomenon that was born yesterday not was it introduced by the entertainment industry i.e., Bollywood. It has been there since ages because let’s face it, isn’t it a basic parental desire to see their bloodline follow their footsteps and join their line of work? Sure, in the recent times, nepotism has taken the center stage in the mainstream debate but it is not just something that’s happening only in Bollywood. Even though there has been a sudden upsurge in the nepotism debate, but this phenomenon has been there since ages as an accepted fact of life.
Nepotism is a traditional norm which dictates that family comes first, then caste and then everything else, including merit. Favoritism and partiality are what we have seen since birth and is a part of human nature. Don’t our parents have that one favourite child for whom they have a soft spot? Don’t you have a special preference for a friend, cousin or sibling? Even the teachers have their favourites amongst a room full of students. So, while nepotism and favouritsm is actually omnipresent in each and every sphere of life, personal and work front, let’s see how it came into limelight in the entertainment industry.
Nepotism in Bollywood became the headlines and a topic of debate when Kangana Ranaut on Koffee With Karan in 2017 had spoken her mind, calling Karan Johar the ‘flagbearer of nepotism’. Kangana had bluntly answered on the show that if a biopic was ever made on her, then Karan would be the part of the movie mafia. In her own words, “If a biopic is made on me, you will play that stereotypical Bollywood biggie who is like, you know very snooty and completely intolerant to outsiders and flag bearer of nepotism, the movie mafia.” Hence, began the debate on nepotism in B-town, where some had spoken in favour of it, some have raised their voices against it while sharing their experiences in the industry. It is indeed that bitter truth of the Tinseltown, or in fact every work sphere, for which there’s no escape route. The ‘insider’ versus ‘outsider’ and ‘privileged’ versus ‘non-privileged’ debate was reignited with the demise of Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14, 2020.
Apart from Kangana Ranaut’s statements on nepotism, it was Ananya Panday’s definition of struggle and Siddhant Chaturvedi’s reply to it, which had made the headlines. When Ananya had said, “I have always wanted to be an actor. Just because my dad has been an actor, I will never say no to an opportunity to act. My dad has never been in a Dharma film, he never went on Koffee With Karan. So it’s not as easy as people say. Everyone has their own journey and their own struggle.” Siddhant had given a befitting reply to it by saying, “But difference yahi hai ki jahan hamare sapne poore hotein hai, wahan inka struggle shuru hota hai.” Yet again, we had seen a rise in the debate around nepotism and privilege in Bollywood post this interview.
However, like every coin has two sides, nepotism too, has a different side. Yes, star kids do have everything easy by getting a platform to showcase their talent, but only some make it to the fame and stardom. Despite the family lineage, they fail to make a successful career in the film industry. Most of the star kids are judged on the careers of their parents and compared to how they have performed, which is unfair for them. So basically, every side has its own pros and cons, and merit/talent should be the deciding factor for an individual’s success.
What are your views on nepotism? Let us know in the comments section below.