Nepotism in Bollywood under fire

Nepotism in Bollywood under fire

Big names are being accused of favouring their kith and kin, and neglecting genuine talents

Sushant Singh Rajput did not leave a suicide note. And the conversations that have surrounded his death has, justly or unjustly, tried to fill that hole. And much of the speculation has centred on how Sushant remained out of the power centres of Bollywood, although who rejected whom is still being debated.

But the debate on nepotism is necessary, with the question not being whether it is bad, but whether any amount of talking about the issue can make a dent.

The Internet, as a knee-jerk reaction to the shock of a recent death, has dug out videos that it deems worthy of analysis in light of Sushant’s death. One such is from the show ‘Koffee with Karan’, where Alia Bhatt says she would kill Sushant in the juvenile ‘hook up-marry-kill’ game that Karan Johar insists his guests play on the show.

Another video from the show that is doing the rounds is one where Kangana Ranaut is seen lambasting Johar on his show. This video has nothing whatsoever to do with Sushant, but many who believe that nepotism led to Sushant’s tragic end, think it gives strength to their argument.

Kangana, sitting on a couch with Saif Ali Khan — himself a picture of privilege and nepotism — and across from Karan Johar, tells the director, “In my biopic, if it’s ever made, you will play that stereotypical Bollywood biggy, who is very snooty and is completely intolerant to outsiders. A flag-bearer of nepotism; the movie mafia.” Saif, possibly happy that he is not the butt of the attack, says jokingly, “Intolerant is the word, yeah”, before adding, “I don’t know why I am here”.

Media outlets reported that Karan Johar and Alia Bhatt have lost followers on Twitter since Sushant’s death, and Karan Johar stopped following all but eight people. No one knows why Johar chose to do this, or if it is simply a technical glitch or an unintentional move. Given that he is the one stoned and put on a cross every time a debate on nepotism comes up, you would think he is used to it by now, but apparently not.

If the past is anything to go by, this conversation too will pass by once the shock of Sushant’s death is passed, and nepotism will continue its work, with Karan Johar making more films with the likes of Alia Bhatt and Ananya Pandey. After all, the onus to remove nepotism is not on them, but the audience. Nepotism will continue so long as people go watch movies with third- and fourth-generation stars.