Favouritism in Bollywood: Reality or just a perception? We ask industry peeps
While actors who don’t belong to film families claim that ‘nepotism’ is a common trend in the industry, star kids defend their stance saying that in the end, it’s their hard work that helps them get work.
Nepotism isn’t new in the film industry. But rarely do big names touch upon the subject. And when they do, it sets tongues wagging. That’s what happened when actor Kangana Ranaut recently labelled filmmaker Karan Johar the ‘flag bearer of nepotism’. The Queen star even called Johar ‘snooty and intolerant’ towards outsiders in films. Did she attack him for launching star kids Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt? Or for casting those close to him? Is favouritism really rampant? Such questions had social media abuzz. Here’s taking industry views.
“Not that star kids are not talented, but the opportunities they get are far easier, projects far bigger and the budget for their films is huge. So it’s not a level plain field,” says actor Huma Qureshi. Actor Richa Chadha admits being called an ‘outsider’. “People forget to realise that sometimes those not born in the fraternity attract more work from overseas because of their talent. But back home, we are not welcomed or valued the way we should,” she says.
Earlier, Shahid Kapoor’s wife, Mira Rajput, had said on KJo’s chat show that she doesn’t like how nepotism is a common practice in Bollywood. Actor Taapsee Pannu had also tweeted, “Nepotism. Finally LEARNT the MEANING of this word. Now will learn to deal with it.”
Actor Prachi Desai calls Bollywood ‘a large family business’. “There are a lot of talented actors who may probably never get those opportunities that the star kids get with biggest of production houses. There have been films for which I was considered but I know some star daughter’s fathers called the producers and I was dropped,” says the Rock On!! (2008) actor.
Soon after Kangana’s remark about KJo, star kid Alia Bhatt had defended herself, saying that she didn’t plan her birth in the Bhatt family. “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,” Alia — who has won critical acclaim for films such as Udta Punjab, Highway and Dear Zindagi — was quoted as saying.
Actor Anil Kapoor’s daughter, actor Sonam Kapoor agrees. “The top heroines today - Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra - are both women who aren’t from the industry. And are you telling me that Alia Bhatt is where she is because of her family and not because of her talent?” she had said earlier.
Many others feel that not all of them get the desired platform and they cannot continue bagging big projects because of their family. Daughter of erstwhile actor Moon Moon Sen, Raima says, “I never had the kind of launch that a star kid would ideally get; neither there was any backing from influential names in the industry. I gave auditions just like anyone else and never got a special attention because of my family.”
Veteran actor Dharmendra’s son, Bobby Deol says that there are so many star kids who’ve come and disappeared but nobody talks about them. “We work hard without depending on our fathers’ success. Rather I feel it’s more difficult for a star kid to establish himself because people expect a lot out of them.”
Actor Sayyesha, grandniece of veterans Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu, has often urged to be not tagged as a star child. “It’s a blessing to have been born in a family where your ancestors have earned lot of respect and love from people. But we work towards making our own identity,” says the actor, who made her debut with Ajay Devgn in Shivaay.
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