Bollywood Addict’s Opinion: Nepotism Edition

By Rhea Sabherwal

There has been an upheaval in the Hindi film industry after the unfortunate demise of a young talent. Sushant Singh Rajput’s suicide has sparked off the nepotism ‘debate’ in Bollywood. While this isn’t the first time this has happened, it sure has never happened at this magnitude before. Legal cases have been filed against certain people from the industry – the fans are furious and the media’s in a frenzy. And while enough has been, or is being,  spoken about why this was the need of the hour, I feel there’s a lot of aspects that aren’t being bought to light. So, as an audience member, and an admirer, of the Hindi film industry, here’s my two cents on some of the problematic aspects of this ‘debate’. 

The first problematic thing to me is calling it that – a ‘debate’. A debate is where opposing arguments are put forward but to me, the existence of nepotism seems more like a fact than something to debate on. it seems to me anyone who is opposing the existence of nepotism itself is obviously wrong, and maybe even delusional. Nepotism is very real, and here to stay. That brings me to another key point which is that nepotism, as we might often tend to forget, exists in pretty much every industry. Focusing on Bollywood so much makes me feel like we forget it’s not the only industry that exists in India.

I reiterate, nepotism is very real and here to stay – meaning it’s been around for a long time and the sudden wake up from the denial of it for so long doesn’t sit that well with me. Many of the ‘outsiders’ have beens speaking of it for so long, but it’s been completely ignored. Vivek Oberoi, has been consistently saying, for years now, as to how his entire career got destroyed due to him calling Salman khan out to be the violent and aggressive person, that he probably really is. And guess who’s the one who apologised for that? Vivek Oberoi. Just goes on to show how there’s been a long history of blatant ignorance of such stories leading to ignorance of a much larger issue at hand. But as they say – better late than never. I am happy this has been bought to light but we must not forget it is the demise of a young talent that sparked this conversation.

Hence I find it extremely insensitive as some media branches and people aren’t understanding that they need to now separate these two things so that this conversation can move forward without it being disrespectful to Rajput’s family and friends. I know there is a certain way for this to happen, and making Rajput’s suicide and every aspect of it public is not the way to do it. Another thing that seems bothersome to me is that his unfortunate death is being used by many people to forward their personal agendas. According to me, that trivialises the entire issue.

I feel media houses and industry people are  preying on the emotions of the audiences to pinpoint certain people in the industry as being the ones to propagate this, all alone. This to me seems like furthering of personal vendettas and agendas. We must not forget the fact that the Bollywood industry, like any other movie industry, is so dependent on acceptance and love from the audience that it’s not possible for such a big systematic issue to take place in a void. The audiences too have been admiring and enjoying the content they’ve been served for a long time. 

The fact that so many “star kids” have been doing so well can’t solely be credited to the people from inside the industry. We need to realise the audiences too have supported them for a long time, allowing them to attain the power positions they now hold. Furthermore, to suddenly start ‘trolling and hating’ on “star kids” hardly seems like the right way to go about this issue. To put someone down to be able to make sure someone else rises up is the entire issue in the first place. Surely there has to be better way to approach this issue than just ‘Oppressing the oppressor’.

Another way I feel the media is highlighting the wrong issues is by addressing trivial aspects – for example , social media following . There are huge social media campaigns that ask you to support “industry outsiders” on social media, as they’ve been ignored for so long. Not only does this seem superficial to me, but also wrong. Social media seems to have become an independent body of its own. The social media following a star has is not to be equated to their talent. If I follow “star kids” on social media platforms but don’t follow an “industry outsider” it does not mean I am supporting nepotism.  It simply means that someone like Varun dhawan is more active and puts out more engaging content than someone like Manoj Bajpayee does. To shift attention to surface matters like these, definitely seems like a waste of time to me.

All in all, I do agree that there are many problems within the Bollywood industry. These problems have magnified over the decades and it’s about time to put a stop to it. But I don’t think any of this is possible until everyone involved does their part – the people from the industry should see the larger issue at hand and not use this conversation to further their personal interests, the media should be transparent with the audiences and provide a fair platform for everyone and most importantly , the audience members should realise how much power they  truly hold in a situation like this and then use it wisely.

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