Of late there has been a lot of discussion on the problem of nepotism in Bollywood, the Hindi movie industry. The topic first came to light, in recent times, when renowned actress Kangana Ranaut accused producer/director Karan Johar of extreme nepotism during one of his TV shows.
Then, during an awards show, which is basically a fan club that keeps on endorsing each other without actually meaning to encourage artistic acumen, two actors made fun of Kangana Ranaut and heaped praises on the practice of nepotism in Bollywood.
In a tragic turn of events, a very young and talented actor Sushant Singh Rajput allegedly committed suicide a few days ago. In the wake of this tragedy, many directors, producers and actors are being accused of indulging in extreme nepotism and worse, sabotaging his career, which may have eventually lead him to take the extreme step.
It still isn’t clear whether Sushant actually killed himself or there is a murkier secret behind his untimely death.
Just like the MeToo movement during which lots of women have come out and accused various men of influence of having sexually abused them, many actors, directors and other artists are coming forward, many anonymously for obvious reasons, and expressing on social media how they have been victims of nepotism.
What exactly is nepotism?
It is giving opportunities to your own kith and kin, or your close circle of friends, instead of the others. There is widespread nepotism in politics as we all know.
Although undesirable, and seemingly unfair, there is nothing evil or illegal in nepotism.
For example, you are making a film and you want to hire someone. You hire your brother or sister, or your friend. You can give the role played by the likes of Shahrukh Khan to your dog or some primate from the city zoo, for all one cares. It is your film, it is your production, it is your money, it is your creativity, it is your brand investment. You can make the film and then burn it (or delete it) or sell it to whoever cares to buy it. You shouldn’t be accused of choosing your own team of actors, playback singers, lyricists, composers and barbers.
I totally agree with Karan Johar when he says this:
He is not at all being mean here. He is just being candid. At least about what he is saying, that he can give a chance to anyone he feels like and he is not bound to promote raw talent of unknown people are people outside of the circle, if it doesn’t feel like.
We must understand that the movie world, in India at least, is run by Lala-type people. Lalas are shopkeepers. These are not artists. They are not out there to produce highly artistic movies. They just want to make some quick buck. This is the only business that they know so they are in this business due to their inheritance or whatever. They know nothing better. Long gone are the days when movies were produced as an artistic expression.
Nepotism is not a problem because if there are some people who cannot see beyond their close circle of friends and relatives, there are also people who are looking for talent no matter where it comes from.
The problem is, and it is evil and I really hope so, also illegal, when you begin to sabotage people’s careers.
You don’t sabotage someone’s career by not giving him or her a role in a movie. You sabotage someone’s career when you take steps so that the other person is not hired by people whom you can influence through power, friendship, intimidation or close relationship.
You start making calls and telling people not to hire someone. You urge sold out journalists to write and publish defamatory stories about the person, like, some people are writing that Sushant was an addict and a nut job and consequently, suicidal anyway.
You finance negative reviews of the other’s films. You make sure that the other film or any art work does not get the recognition or the awards it deserves. You bully and threaten that person into not accepting assignments he or she would like to accept. This is sabotaging.
In this video Kangana Ranaut gives some examples of how systematic targeting is done:
Sabotaging must be illegal.
People shouldn’t be reviled for indulging in nepotism because that is their intellectual and moral weakness and maybe they cannot help with that. It is a faulty character trait and as of now, people cannot be called out, not legally, for having faulty characters.
If at all they should be reviled, they should be reviled for sabotaging careers. Such acts should be investigated through a legal process, no matter where such sabotaging takes place.