There has al­ways been a a lot of con­jec­ture when it comes to nepo­tism in the film in­dus­try. Read be­tween the lines as Ti­wari Khush­boo puts to­gether a take on things that mat­ter, words said and un­said, and all that re­volves around them.

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Say Bol­ly­wood…. And you think en­ter­tain­ment. En­ter­tain­ment. En­ter­tain­ment. This is what the daz­zling arc lights of show­biz have been do­ing for decades in the past, present and shall con­tinue till eter­nity. But when cov­ered in the daz­zling spot­lights, be­sides the good, there are a few ugly warts that pop up too. So when we talk about Bol­ly­wood, how can we ne­glect the essence of nepo­tism that ap­pears to be a con­stant bum­mer?

All that is not ran­dom

It is said that the right con­nec­tions can take you very far in the world. And it would just be ac­cu­rately fair if we state that this phe­nom­e­non is ac­tively preva­lent in the glam win­dow-dressed world of Bol­ly­wood. No con­ceal­ing, no de­nial, at least some­body is say­ing it out loud, right? Just like how im­pli­ca­tions of ac­tual ‘fem­i­nism’ is still a dis­tant dream in a coun­try like ours, it is equally dis­tant to think of cut­ting the starry um­bil­i­cal ties of nepo­tism and Bol­ly­wood. And though it has been ev­i­dent that the in­flu­encers and big dad­dies of Bol­ly­wood want to shrug the tag off their shoul­ders, but still how long can they deny that nepo­tism works big time in Tin­sel Town. We still have a rainy sea­son to wash away the done and dusted, and bring out a vivid pic­ture. Hope­fully. So let’s take the bull by its horns and ask: Have you wit­nessed a chunk of new­com­ers that do not rep­re­sent a Kapoor, Khan or Bhatt make a de­but in the re­cent past? No? Can’t re­mem­ber? …Even if you con­sider it a rhetoric ques­tion, the an­swer to it lit­er­ally un­der­mines the si­lence.

Queen V/s Big Daddy

The al­leged fiery slugfest be­tween the Queen Kangana Ranaut and pro­duc­erdi­rec­tor and the man who has been rak­ing the moolah af­ter the re­sound­ing suc­cess of Baahubali 2: The Con­clu­sion, Karan Jo­har, has been no se­cret since the Kof­fee with Karan aired on tele­vi­sion. Though it wasn’t a shock to a lot of peo­ple since Kangana has al­ways made it a point to call a spade, a spade, how­ever, the host him­self was ap­par­ently fum­ing big time when com­ments claim­ing him to be a flag bearer of nepo­tism were made. Kangana in fact, told him off to his face,

“In my biopic, if ever it’s made, you’ll play that stereo­typ­i­cal Bol­ly­wood big­gie, who’s very snooty and com­pletely in­tol­er­ant to­wards out­siders, flag-bearer of nepo­tism, the movie mafia.” Though KJO, af­ter hear­ing that state­ment, flashed a rather ar­ti­fi­cial smile dur­ing the show, later he replied, “She was my guest, so I had to hear what she had to say. She has the right to have an opin­ion. And when she says ‘flag bearer of nepo­tism’ I just want to say, does she know what it means? I don’t think she’s un­der­stood the en­tirety of that state­ment. Be­cause what is nepo­tism? What did she mean? What does she think we’re do­ing? Sit­ting and not giv­ing her work? Is that what makes us mafia? No, we do that by choice... I do that be­cause maybe I’m not in­ter­ested in work­ing with her. That doesn’t make me a movie mafia; it makes me a man with an opin­ion.” He also added, “One can’t use a vic­tim card and say how one has been ter­ror­ized by the in­dus­try and if that stands as a case, they should leave it.” But the story doesn’t end here. Let’s have a flash­back mo­ment and re­call a movie called Ungli (2015). It was a Dharma pro­duc­tion movie with Kangana in the lead. Sur­prised? Sup­pos­edly at that point, ru­mours were rife that Kangana re­fused to be a part of the film pro­mo­tions. We don’t know what ex­actly hap­pened be­tween KJO and her then that Kangana flashed the nepo­tism card on his show. What­ever it may be, there re­ally has been much ado about it.

He Said, She Said

And so just be­cause there has been a lot of sound and fury about the word ‘nepo­tism’, we de­cided to hear out our Bol­ly­wood di­vas and hunk. Let’s walk down the aisle of star opinions... In an in­ter­view, Ma­hesh Bhatt’s re­ac­tion to Kangana’s views al­legedly was, “There is some truth to what she says. The film in­dus­try - not only in In­dia but also Hol­ly­wood - is in­su­lar. It’s in­ward-look­ing. It doesn’t look be­yond its own lit­tle win­dow, so it seems like a fortress to an out­sider, hence I don’t grudge her view.” Con­tra­dic­to­rily, he also sup­pos­edly added, “That is the re­al­ity, but you can’t gen­er­al­ize this kind of cri­tique. We may have the power to give you an op­por­tu­nity, but we don’t have the power to de­cide which film will work and which won’t.” Neerja star and star kid Sonam Kapoor too jumped into the fray by tweet­ing, “Karan has launched other di­rec­tors too. I know Karan very well. I find Kangana very en­ter­tain­ing and that’s about it. I don’t want to com­ment on some­thing that looks op­por­tunis­tic, hon­estly. She, how­ever, added, “I don’t think drag­ging some­one down or crit­i­ciz­ing some­one or hav­ing this pub­lic spat – I find it very dis­taste­ful. You can set ex­am­ples with­out wash­ing your dirty linen in pub­lic.” On the other hand, quin­tes­sen­tial ac­tress Tapsee Pannu sup­pos­edly claimed that the de­bate about nepo­tism will al­ways be there. “We can never do away with it but

When she said ‘movie mafia’ what did she mean? Be­cause what does she think we’re do­ing? Sit­ting and not giv­ing her work?” — Karan Jo­har

we have reacheded a point where the ‘so-called’ out­siders are not help­less.”

Nepo­tism Here? Never! Anushka Sharma too al­legedly added, “I can talk about my ex­pe­ri­ence and I’ve never faced nepo­tism in any way. Maybe it hap­pens, but I can never say this about Aditya. He has launched all the out­siders: Me, Ran­veer Singh, Pari­neeti Cho­pra. Ex­cept for Ar­jun Kapoor, all Yash Raj tal­ent are out­siders.” Global sen­sa­tion Priyanka Cho­pra how­ever, did in­cline to a dif­fer­ent side. She sup­pos­edly said, “All kinds ex­ist. There is noth­ing wrong in be­ing born into a fam­ily that has a legacy. Out­siders don’t have a foot-in­the-door ac­cess. Star kids have the in­sur­mount­able pres­sure of liv­ing up to the fam­ily name. Every star has their in­di­vid­ual jour­ney. In mine, I have faced a lot. I have been kicked out of films be­cause some­one else was rec­om­mended to the pro­ducer. I cried and got over it.” Launched by Dharma Pro­duc­tion’s Stu­dent of the Year, Varun Dhawan take on the ex­is­tence of nepo­tism also was al­legedly rather tame, “I don’t think so. I don’t want to talk much about it.” Well, that did speak a lot!

Fi­nal Note Amidst what’s right or wrong and what nepo­tism ac­tu­ally im­pli­cates, there are star kids like Alia Bhatt who pro­fessed, “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 am aware that peo­ple do strug­gle to make a mark in the in­dus­try, but it’s not right to blame nepo­tism.” She fur­ther al­legedly added, “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.” …True… all in all, some star kids do have suc­cess paved in their way thanks to their dad­dies. But on the other hand, there have been rank out­siders who have for­ayed into Bol­ly­wood and have made an in­deli­ble niche for them­selves like Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Anushka Sharma, Ir­rfan Khan, Nawazud­din Sid­diqui, Manoj Ba­j­payee and so many oth­ers. So nepo­tism or no nepo­tism, what works for an ac­tor at the end of a bustling Fri­day, is how much the au­di­ence loves you. So for now, let’s put a nail on the topic of nepo­tism and move for­ward to a brighter and more daz­zling cel­lu­loid fu­ture.

I have been kicked out of films be­cause some­one else was rec­om­mended to the pro­ducer. I cried and got over it.” — Priyanka Cho­pra

Ma­hesh Bhatt & Alia Bhatt

Nawazud­din Sid­diqui

Shah Rukh Khan

Taapsee Pannu

Priyanka Cho­pra

Anushka Sharma arma

Sonam Kapoor

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