R Balki on nepotism in Bollywood: Find me a better actor than Alia or Ranbir, and we’ll argue

Updated on Jul 16, 2020 07:05 PM IST

Filmmaker R Balki feels nepotism should not be mixed with talent, also points out that the audience won’t accept anyone who isn’t skilled.

R Balki’s Bollywood film Pad Man won the Best film on social issues at the 66th National Film Awards.
R Balki’s Bollywood film Pad Man won the Best film on social issues at the 66th National Film Awards.
Hindustan Times | By, New Delhi

The existence of nepotism in the film industry is something that nobody is denying, however, everyone does point the good and the flip side of it. Filmmaker R Balki is of the opinion that many a times, people discuss these topics solely for the purpose of entertainment, and it’s not a genuine conversation that possibly would lead to a lot many crucial points.

“It’s undeniable that this happens everywhere. Think about the Mahindras, Ambanis, Bajajs… Their father passed on the businesses to them. Does anyone say ‘No I don’t think Mukesh Ambani shouldn’t run this business, someone else should?’ In every strata of the society, it happens, even a driver or a vegetable seller passes on businesses to their children. So, it’s a foolish argument. Remember we live in a free society,” he asserts.

Elaborating his point, Balki feels everyone is not really talking about the problem and finds it unfair to use words like nepotism when certain actors are concerned.

“The question is do they (star kids) have an unfair or bigger advantage? Yes, there are pros and cons. But I’d ask one simple question: Find me a better actor than Alia (Bhatt) or Ranbir (Kapoor), and we’ll argue. It’s unfair on these few people who’re probably some of the finest actors.”

The 56-year-old rues that instead of celebrating Alia’s talent, people talk about her being born to a filmmaker father and she having an advantage. 

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“Understand that audiences don’t like actors without talent. Sometimes, they also want to see star kids on screen. That’s only the first chance that you get, and then one needs to survive on their own. I agree it’s far more difficult for an outsider to make an entry in films, but talent gets the opportunity,” says the director.

While casting for a film, clarifies Balki, all he looks for is “who is best suited for the role” and the person’s availability and “nothing else”.

Given the current crisis and he lockdown, everyone is using this time to churn fresh content. Balki, however, admits it’s really tough to write during this time. “It feels really insignificant compared to what’s out there. The situation is quite bizarre. Neither Gauri (Shinde; wife and filmmaker) nor I’ve been able to visit our parents. More than making films, I’m missing not being able meet people or do what I want to. So, we’re opening our office with just three people to keep things going. There’s not much free time because mentally we’re busy thinking about a lot of things given the circumstances,” he ends.

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    Shreya Mukherjee is a senior content producer at Hindustan Times. She has spent over eight years covering entertainment, features and hard-news. When not writing, her passion for travel, literature, films and music gets her going.

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