The word ‘nepotism’ has been trending in the cinema industry ever since Kangana Ranaut used it in an episode of Karan Johar’s Koffee With Karan. Now joining the list of celebrities speaking out about their thoughts on nepotism (or the lack of it) is actress Aditi Rao Hydari. Aditi recently told the Deccan Chronicle that one cannot just single out Bollywood when it comes to nepotism.
“It’s there everywhere! People will obviously help their own. Film industry shouldn’t be singled out — it’s natural and there is no point cribbing about it. I just hope if we all can be equal and that everything is dependent on our talents, but that’s not the case,” she said.
Aditi Rao Hydari hails from two royal lineages in Hyderabadand made her acting debut in 2007 with the Tamil film Srirangam. However, while she acted in well-known films like Delhi 6 (2009) and Rockstar (2011), it took her a few years to land leading roles. Speaking about her career, she said, “I have many more dreams and as an artist, I am constantly pushing myself. I worked for seven years in Bombay without any help, but I look at it as a fact and don’t look at it as a bitter experience.”
After Kangana spoke out about nepotism, many Bollywood celebrities have come out either denying it or agreeing that it exists. Trapped actor Rajkumaar Rao recently admitted that nepotism forced him to watch non-talented actors’ work.
“Favouritism is there of course, it is present everywhere, so it is fine. But my only concern is when because of favouritism I have to see non-talented people in films. That is a problem for me,” he told the Hindustan Times. The actor got his big break in the 2010 film Love Sex Aur Dhokha. While he featured in other films including Kai Po Che!, Shahid, and Queen, it took him a while to get a leading role in a film.
Alia Bhatt, on the other hand, recently said that she didn’t choose where she was born, and hence shouldn’t be accused of nepotism. “I am aware people do struggle to make a mark in the industry, but it’s not right to blame nepotism. I didn’t plan my birth in the Bhatt family. I can’t change that and today, I am successful not just because my family is famous, but also because I have worked hard and you can’t take it away from me,” she told Mid-Day.
Meanwhile, Varun Dhawan said he thinks nepotism does not exist at all. Beyond that, he said “I don’t want to talk much about it.” While he wasn’t launched by his father, director David Dhawan, Varun’s debut was in Karan Johar’s Student Of The Year along with filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s daughter Alia Bhatt and a model called Siddharth Malhotra.
Thus far, Karan Johar, who was irked after Kangana Ranaut’s statements, has gone on record to accuse Kangana of pulling the ‘woman’ card and the ‘victim’ card.
While one needn’t point out, Karan Johar even addresses it in a recent opinion (rather arrogant) piece for NDTV, “And yes, I have launched Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, and, yes, maybe you can say nepotism played a part. You can argue that there was proximity and I leveraged it, that there were relationships at play which were factored. David Dhawan was, and is, a friend. I took his son on as an AD as a favour to that friend. And then I saw talent. And then I platformed it.
But for arguments and everyone’s headlines’ sake, let’s say, sure, it’s another sign of the industry’s parochial, insular ways. Accepted? Ok. Now, so what?”
It’s one thing to admit nepotism admits, another thing to not even see the problem with it. So what if nepotism exists? So what if some can get film after big-budget film with mediocre acting, while others have to nail it from day 1, and even then risk being shunted out?
Remember, it’s the star kids saying ‘So what?’.