After the untimely demise of promising actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, “Nepotism” is the one word that has been much abused lately. The anger of the public in the form of bullying has been vented out on those actors who had the privilege of nepotism.
Nepotism has become one unholy word- a word, if defined, means the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.
However, the core definition of Nepotism does not exist in the fact that someone is born in a family that entitles him/her to privilege, the issue arises where favouritism steals the dreams of outsiders.
This word is being tied to Bollywood which has always been known for giving benefits to star-kids, or other relatives of stars with hardly any struggle or merits. But to be fair, this is only a compressive view on this matter. The topic of Nepotism and favouritism is a lot more complicated.
Are actors made, or are just born?
A Bollywood bloodline has its own advantages. Fans worship the stars, so the chances of their kids being accepted by the audience are strong. An entire PR machinery works for launching the star-kids, and if they fail, there are numerous options for a relaunch.
If we look at the context of Indian cinema, the audition process of actors does not seem trustworthy. Directors and writers get to work on their own projects and come to the forefront, but large production houses still by and large end up giving lead roles to individuals with connections.
Patronage is everywhere, but there must be a fair system in place and a better test of talent. The whole setting of selection should not be based on the fact that an aspiring actor has connections. The selection should be motivated by the talent that an actor brings to the table. Is it fair to dismiss someone without even giving a chance of audition?
Nepotism: Another Aspect
Nepotism has been in existence all over the world in every field since the time immemorial. It is always the next of the kin who inherits a business; and it is easy for a politician’s kid to get the ticket of their political party.
As far as Bollywood is concerned, the star-kids, although they get their debut through connections, they still have expectations to manage and need to work hard to maintain their position in the industry with their subsequent films and always feel a pressure to prove themselves. There is a constant comparison going on between them and their parents. Abhishek Bachchan can be considered as an example of this. Even after being a decent actor (as we could see in Yuga and Guru), he could not manage to escape his comparison with Megastar Amitabh Bachchan and fell short.
There is also a flip side of the Nepotism Argument is if a star-kid is really talented, why shouldn’t they be in the industry? Isn’t it unfair to criticize someone just because that person is privileged?
But, Film-making is a high-stake business:
Nepotism is something that cuts across all the professions from politics to business to entertainment. In particular, for the entertainment industry, a producer would always prefer to avoid risk by launching/ selecting faces that the public would somehow care about. Being a star-kid gives this advantage. No one can say that this practice is correct, but if we look at the scenario from the business point of view, it seems logical.
The Bottom-line being WE, the audience is somehow responsible.
The public and media need to be the voices of talented actors. Instead of just glorifying the actors on social media platforms, we should go and watch their movies and thus, help the underrated actors to turn into mainstream actors.
We should not support nepotism and favouritism and we also must not support cyber-bullying. Talent should be appreciated irrespective of the background the actor has, be it a star-kid or a common person who has struggled a lot to achieve his dreams. Social-media production houses like Netflix, Amazon Prime and others are massively redefining the landscape, and I hope, sooner or later we would be able to change the flawed definition of fairness in Bollywood.