Nepotism in Bollywood: An honest discussion
We know what is this all about. Why I want to talk about nepotism and why I need to. Why is this so so so important to talk about? Isn’t it enough? All this weird thing about nepotism on social media everywhere, do we need a discussion now? But the past couple of days I have been thinking about this. It did require guts because I know some people might not take this in a good way. But with all due respect to all of you out there, grab a nice coffee, let’s get into this.
Nepotism in Bollywood: What it is?
We are going to discuss this briefly and one topic at a time, so if you have to get up and run away in 5 minutes, consider reading this in your free time. And no it is not fully on Sushant Singh Rajput. because this, my friends, is way too huge than that. That’s why I said grab a nice coffee.
Nepotism is something you will find almost everywhere. It’s not just a word related to the film industry in every manner. You can find this in any field and not just the film industry. According to google “Nepotism is the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs”. True. But it is slightly more than that.
Nepotism is not just something about powering someone related to someone in power. It is also about people finding what is more attractive and what is not. In this generation of films, we make a whole lot of fuss about how the actor looks, and that’s true. Most of the story writers and directors also tend to believe that a good looking hero could add so much power to attract the audience into an action movie. A good looking couple who is pleasing to the eyes gets the audience invested into the love story they want to tell.
I get it. The good looking part of the actor. True. What’s pleasing to the eyes always is something we want to look at and go back to it to look at. Therefore we see most of the actors trying to keep themselves in shape, trying to keep themselves good-looking and that’s okay with me. There is nothing wrong with someone trying to look nice and pleasing to the eyes.
But trying to do this, we have forgotten what the entertainment industries are all about. They are about putting the stories out, they are about putting the characters out, they are about making us feel things. Whether it’s about feeling emotions, feeling thrilled, feeling joy, feeling terrified, films, or series are there to take you on the ride of emotions and somehow in the race of “Actors should look good” we have forgotten what it takes to put a character out.
I am watching films since I was 8 or 9 and I have been obsessed with them since I am 13. When I want to watch something I watch it for a reason and in expectations feeling things. But from the start, I have been pushed to think unless and until you are not smart, you can’t be the main focus of the movie. You could be playing anything but the main focus of the movie. It is now when I understand that movies or shows are not always about the good guys but also the bad guys and I have a point for that too.
We get to watch these crime movies and shows and it’s hard to find one with a really good concept, with really good direction or even with good actors. Why? Because movie or show makers tend to dug there criminal charming for some reason, good looking for some reason and again I know why. Because what is appealing to the eyes, people buy it.
I am not saying that smart and good looking people are the worst actors. I am talking about this because I have grown watching this Bollywood entertainment stuff. I know what I have been seeing for years and what I expect to see now. But have you ever really thought about it that why Varun Dhawan has so many followers on social media than Nawazuddin Siddiqui? Yeah, I know some of you will come up to me saying that watch Badlapur and October and you will know how talented he is.
Now, I appreciate his work in these two specific films, I do. But it is not like after that he has evolved in his acting. I still see him right there where he started. This is nothing compared to the works Nawazuddin Siddiqui has under his list. I have seen this guy from playing a small role of a thief in a film like Munna Bhai MBBS to playing a big iconic role of Ganesh Gaitonde in Sacred Games. And can you even name the films he has worked in other than the films he has done Bollywood biggies? The answer from most of you will be no.
There are so many hidden gems like these. Which we don’t even get to see sometimes until it’s late or rarely. This is the biggest problem we have with the film industries, at least with Bollywood.
Nepotism in Bollywood: How do these actors get famous?
We have already talked about how people tend to buy into things that are appealing to their eyes. They see good looks and Oh my god! Don’t they lose their minds?
Now I will give you an example of a girl who got famous because she was in the stadium watching cricket and the camera-man just un-intentionally or intentionally caught her on camera cheering for Virat, and I am not even joking, she almost could have broke records if there weren’t these “celebrity opening there social media” records. This girl, who did nothing but just got caught on camera, literally got a verified social media account.
I agree, no, followers on social media are not a big deal but do you know that is how some brand knows whom and when to approach them through these social media accounts? They would know who is viral these days and of course, would not let the chance go off their hands.
Let me give you another example. Not just of random girl but an actress. An actress! I repeat, she is an actress! Priya Prakash Varrier who did her debut with a Malayalam movie “Oru Adaar Love” ( Yes I checked this out 100 times. This is the original movie name. Oh god I have Goldfish memory. Don’t attack me please) Oh wait, you will remember better if I say “Winking girl” maybe?
This girl got famous because she had this flirty, cute and bold little scene in the movie (Yes I said flirty, cute and bold because people find it so. I was annoyed by that video. No offense.) and people got so crazy over that she was called “Internet sensation” for over a month or two, was all over the news and currently has over 7 million followers on Instagram.
(I said for a month or so because people literally hype things up so much and then has to do nothing with it. Nothing! Now I never see that girl on my feed, now I don’t see people putting her status, I don’t see people appreciating her for her any works in any form. And I straight saw that girl for a month all over social media of the people I am following)
To tell you, I have rarely seen Malayalam, Telugu, or Tamil movie stars in an advertisement unless they have worked for the Hindi movie. I don’t know how it works because I live in Maharashtra and that is how I have categorized advertisements. I almost know the stars in almost every advertisement and kind of can recall which film or show they were in. And this Malayalam actress has been into Hindi advertisements of chocolate “Munch”. So can you connect now a little bit that why I told you this example?
Companies mostly reach them out because they are trending nowadays. They are all over social media, they have seen people fangirling or fanboying over certain stars and they know how to work with it. They reach them out to officially be a part of their company and advertise it. They know what people are currently buying into and hence now they are officially all over the place.
I have no problem with someone getting appreciation. Why would I have a problem with people praising someone? But I always try to question the source of it. I always try to see why people are going crazy over things and what they praise about them so much? And the question is “Was it sooooooooo great to be all over the place?” “Did the actors did such a great job that people are putting it all over the social media?”
Now, the video did seem cute. It was bold, it was lovable, it was two teenagers in love but I think there is a better scene I have seen in lots of love stories on the screen (Well I don’t invest into love stories that much but still, I have seen some and I for sure know that I have seen better love moments than that.) I never got why it was so special that it got all over the place.
And when I don’t realize why a thing got so much appreciation, I ask myself that what is it that other people got to see in something that I missed. What was that the people tasted in that famous video that I did not get. Is it because I am not much of a sucker of a love story or is it a completely different reason. Or is it that I am not a geek of films that I tend to believe I am.
I don’t know what is it but I just don’t get it. That way people tend to overhype so many things and completely ignore the things that need to be appreciated. I am sure that if you find this type of content over the top, I can sit with you the whole night showing you the content that is so much more believable than that, so much more true than that, so much more loving than that. (And I am not exaggerating, I really will sit with you whole night to show that if you LIKE this, I have content that you will LOVE. Completely LOVE)
And clearing out my points, I want to tell you that I am not deciding for you that what you should like and what you shouldn’t. You have all the right to decide what you want to see what you don’t and that brings me to my next point.
Nepotism in Bollywood: An illusion
So I brought up a point that I can’t decide what you should like and what you should not. But I know that most of the people who like this stuff end up liking most of the things that they didn’t know even existed. And I am saying this because I am one of these people. Even I use to love this stuff before I was exposed to the gems that I have watched. And now I know that there is so much more to see than this.
I have seen lots of people troll celebrities on social media. And by trolling I mean an extreme level of trolling. No memes. Memes are common on every single celebrity. A new hit movie or incident and we see memes on that stuff and those are entertaining. But here I am talking about the actual trolling.
All of us are familiar with the recent incident. Where we heard about the demise of one of the finest actor Sushant Singh Rajput. We all have seen what great of an actor he is and no one can deny that fact. That man lives into the character and we feel that into our bones. He wants us to feel the emotions of the character and he makes us feel that on the highest level possible.
But because of that, I see lots and lots of people trolling other stars who don’t even deserve it. And I am not talking about Karan johar. I am pointing out other stars here. They have got to such an extreme level that they have to turn off their comment section.
After the Sushant Singh Rajput incident, social media got filled with the talks about Anxiety, depression, and all about mental health. And let’s be honest, this isn’t the first suicide in the world is it? We surely know that it isn’t. Every single one who doesn’t even answer phones may be, put out things about depression and anxiety. ( Like Imagine! A celebrity had to die to make people aware of mental health. And yes I am going to talk about this further.)
We supported Sushant Singh Rajput in every way. That we want a detailed investigation if it was suicide or a murder. And I completely support that. But this does not mean that we will put someone else down to raise someone else.
I have seen lots and lots of trolls about Alia Bhatt. I surely have seen other stars getting trolls too but this is the most we can notice. And we suddenly are in love with Kriti Sanon and Shraddha Kapoor. And why is that? Because these two attended his funeral. Can you explain to me why someone should be trolled just because they haven’t attended a person’s funeral? Isn’t there a possibility that she ( Alia Bhatt) did not know him that much to attend his funeral?
And of course, Kriti Sanon and Shraddha Kapoor have films done with Sushant Singh Rajput. That could be a way of them knowing Sushant Singh Rajput. And as far as I know, Sushant and Alia don’t have any films together.
And now let’s rewind a little bit. We all talked about mental health, anxiety, depression, and talking things out for at least a week after the incident. Didn’t we? Now does this trolling make any sense? People posted things about mental health and at the same time, they abused other stars.
Let’s go through the films of Shraddha Kapoor till now
She has a total of 21 films done till now from which she has played lead roles in 15 movies. Let me drive you through her acting career to date. So the first-ever movie she has done in a lead role is a 2013 movie Aashiqui 2 with Aditya Roy Kapoor. In this movie, she played the role of Arohi Keshav Shirke who is a sweet simple middle-class girl and is a good singer.
(This movie was known and most successful because of its magical music album. I liked her in this movie that how decent and honest she is with her role and I completely adored her.)
The second movie is a 2014 movie Ek Villian before which she did a special appearance in a 2013 movie Gori Tere Pyar me. In Ek villain, she is a love interest for a guru who is played by Siddhart Malhotra. She is a sweet simple childish but mature girl in this movie who is soon going to die because of a disease she has and hence is chasing her dreams.
(This movie was mostly successful because of the stunning role negative role played by Ritesh Deshmukh and he has never played a character like this before which looked promising even in the trailer. Even Siddharth seemed to have a bad boy character in this movie and the concept of the movie was unique too. And again the songs of the movie were magical as well.)
Next is the 2014 classic movie Haider with Shahid Kapoor. Here she is a love interest for Haider. Again she is a sweet simple girl here who is in love with Haider.
(This movie was successful because of the beautifully played character Haider which was shahid Kapoor and the concept of the movie. Who does not want to see the Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s hamlet? Tabu was stunning in this movie too who played Ghazala meer ( Haider’s mother))
Next is the 2015 movie ABCD 2 ( AnyBody Can Dance 2). In this movie, they have a bunch of real dancers and two actors which are Shraddha Kapoor and Varun Dhavan. Here she plays a girl who is in love with a dancer of his group, Suresh (Varun Dhawan) who is a sweet innocent girl and is a dancer and has big dreams. Also, she performed a dance number as Basanti in the 2014 film Ungli.
(This movie was successful because of the first movie ABCD (AnyBody Can Dance). Because the first movie had real dancers and unique concept which focused on Dance concept rather than other things. I guess these types of movies should be left out for dancers who can act and not actors who are trying to dance.)
After this, she was in the 2016 film baaghi with Tiger shroff. Here she played a love interest for Ranveer Chaturvedi who likes to be called Roni for some reason. She played the role of a sweet innocent simple girl named sia. And they both fall in love and have trouble regarding that. (Even I am tired of writing Sweet innocent simple girl in every paragraph but this is what I am trying to point out.)
(This movie was successful because of its action scenes at which tiger shroff is good at and again it’s songs. For this movie, even she did an active part in one scene. And I am going to say nothing about that because I know then I would look like a hater.)
Now I am going to mashup three movies at one because I know this is gonna be the same thing. So a 2016 movie rock on, a 2017 movie OK jaanu and a 2017 movie Half girlfriend is where she appeared in lead roles. Before this, she did a comic appearance in the 2016 movie Flying Jatt.
In all of the above movies where she played lead roles, she did similar roles as her first ones. It is almost like her comfort zone. In all the three movies she played a love interest for a lead actor and from that two movies are love stories where she of course has to play a love interest. And again she has always played a role similar to a sweet simple innocent girl. And in the flying jatt movie she played herself so there is nothing to talk about it.
Now here comes a big turn in her role choice. A 2017 movie Haseena Parkar where she plays Haseena parker. And I don’t get why they choose a young-looking girl where half of the movie she has to play this mafia lady who looks double her age if you search her pictures up. I and maybe most of us would like it when the actress puts her whole out and makes us believe that despite her look, she acts like Haseena parker.
But there is nothing like that. Despite she knows that no matter how hard she tries to look like her, there is no way she can, she has not even tried to portray her out. Other than that, she did not even work on her way of walking, the way she talks, her accent, the anger she carries everywhere. Nothing. At. All. It’s like she wanted to try a new role and she just did. At least some efforts towards the character would have made me happy and praise her. But there is not one way I can take her side.
After this she played lead roles in the 2018 movie Stree, a 2018 movie Batti Jul Meter chalu, a 2019 movie Saaho, a 2019 movie Chhichhore, a 2020 movie Stree dancer 3D and a 2020 movie baaghi
3. And leaving Street dancer 3D where she tried to play the role of an aggressive dancer, all of the above movies are similar to character choice in her comfort zone.
And none of the movies is something where she carries the movie on her shoulder. Leaving Haseena Parkar, there is not one movie where she tries to play a role where she has to carry movies throughout. If you take a look closely, she has barely tried different roles and one time she had an opportunity to prove herself as an actor where she had this bold character of Haseena Parker, she has failed.
And most of the audience took her side that she is a genuine person. No question she must be one, but that does not mean we will praise her for something she has not done. And that is where nepotism comes in. If we are supporting someone despite there talents just because of there looks and trying to be genuine nature, that does not mean we are not supporting nepotism. It still eats the work of other talented actors who are waiting to be shine.
And I have seen both Anushka Sharma and Alia Bhatt getting trolled when they have talented movies under their belts. And this is not a fangirl talking, totally not. When I say do praise there works I have an explanation for that. Just because Karan Johar launched Alia Bhatt, I would not question the talent she has. And because of the current situation, I see people commenting “Product of nepotism”. But if she has talent, totally has it, what does it have to do with that.
And above that, I have read things like “She does not even look good and can’t even act and I don’t understand why she is in Bollywood” for Anushka Sharma. And I have no question in films like NH10, Rab Ne Bana di Jodi, Pari, Made In India, and maybe several others I can’t even remember where she chose different roles and has put that character out. At least for me. But what do her looks have to do with anything? There are still better roles which are not even for good looking people and they have to show what’s within them through those characters.
I also saw Alia in films like Highway, Raazi, Udta Punjab, Dear Zindagi, and in completely different roles and pulling it off. Just because her first film was from dharma production does not give us a chance to say anything but the roles she has chosen in her career trying to explore more in the film industry. And for me, she has justice with these roles.
And there is a reason I chose to talk about these stars because this is what I am seeing around me. And when I say that Shraddha Kapoor has not done anything impressive for me, that does not mean I will go on her social media personally to bully her. Yes, comments sections are for interactions, but when you don’t like someone’s work there are respectful ways of saying that too.
This again brings me to the point where people went crazy about the mental health topic after the Sushant Singh Rajput incident and at the same time trolled someone so much that they have to close their comment section. Mental health is not just saying to someone that “If you want to talk I am here” but also about not being the cause of someone’s breakdown. And it is not like people don’t know what saying this kind of thing does to people when you do it on an extreme level. Criticism is not wrong, but I think it has to have some limits.
Nepotism in Bollywood: Whose fault it is?
We talked about how it is not just being in power and supporting their relatives and also about what is appealing to eyes and how it is supported. But now let’s talk about who’s a fault it’s is.
First of all, there is no question that it is wrong for people to use their powers and do something for someone in their relationship when they clearly can have someone with better talents. But if they are talented, no one can stop them from being loved by the audience.
But we know how it works. The film does not work until and unless people go into the theater and watch it. Or until they open and stream it if it is on entertainment applications like Netflix, amazon, sony, boot, etc. Right?
Before jumping straight to conclusions here are some movies and their box office budgets. Note that the amount is in crores. (Obviously. But just in case)
Student of the year (2012)
Starring- Siddhart Malhotra, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan
IMDB rating- 5.3/10
Box office collection- 70.0
kai po che (2013)
Starring- Sushant Singh Rajput, Amit Sadh, Rajkumar Rao
IMDB rating- 7.7/10
Box office collection- 49.67
Also, note that the IMDB rating depends on the public review given on the website. And this is the current rating of the movies and you can see the box office difference.
And also this is the debut movie of Sushant Singh Rajput, Alia Bhatt, Siddhart Malhotra, Varun Dhawan. ( Just pointing that out)
Let’s compare something else to someone who is launched by Karan johar.
Dabbang 3 (2019)
Starring- Salman Khan, Sonakshi Sinha
IMDB rating- 3.3/10
Box office collection: 146.11
Starring- Sushant Singh Rajput
IMDB rating- 7.9/10
Box office collection- 6.60
No, I have not misplaced the decimal. It’s correct. Yes for Salman khan 146 crores are nothing, he has done better than that. But maybe the audience already saw two of the dabbang films and knew what to expect.
And if you have seen Sonichirya, it is so so so so so much better than dabbang 3. And I don’t even need to explain that. Sonichirya is better in every single term. But maybe some of even are reading it for the first time, or just have recently heard about it just because now he is all over the news and social media.
And of course, Sushant Singh Rajput has been in controversies. Lots of it. Before he left this world, people called his last movie “Dil Bechara” a cheap copy of Fault in our stars. And the expectations we have from Bollywood, yes it is easy to say that.
But now all of a sudden Sushant Singh Rajput is a legend. His last movie is best of all. Because he has done a lot of better films than “Dil Bechara”. I have read Fault in our stars and even have seen the first adaptation of the book named the same as the book. And just from the trailer, I know that Bollywood must have added its spice to it and they did.
I am not against people wanting to give him the last tribute. But when he needed to see this support we have not given him that. After he is gone, in the journey of supporting him, we are totally on track of something we should not do. We have seen these movies in the theater and then blame them for being successful and that’s not done.
We are to decide who we want to support and who we don’t want to. The support Sushant would have to get is by us going to see his movies in the theater and we have not done that in most of the parts. I have shown you an example of the Sonichirya movie which is not a movie made 10 years ago. It is a 2019 movie and this is 2020 ( And it’s not ending soon. It is just July. Goddammit.)
And now unfollowing them on social media would do nothing more than maybe creating more cases like this. We are to decide who is talented and who is not. Which some of these movies can be extremely fun but we also have to look at the other side.
There is a reason why we think Hollywood movies have higher standards. That is because we have told Bollywood, if not directly but indirectly, that don’t try something new, we would not even consider seeing the movie. There is a reason why gully boy got 13 Filmfare awards and most of us did not even get to hear of a movie called tummbad at that time. And it is now that we claim that tummbad could have won an oscar. You want me to show you the box office collection of these two movies.
Nevermind, I am gonna still show it
Gully Boy (2019)
Starring: Ranveer Singh, Alia Bhatt
IMDB Rating: 8.1/10
Box office collection: 140.25
Awards won: 13 (Only Filmfare)
Starring: Sohum Shah, Anita Date
IMDB Rating: 8.3/10
Box office collection: 13.57
Awards won and nominated: 0 (At any known functions)
National Films Awards: No
Stardust Awards: No
Zee Cine Awards: No
Star Screen Awards: No
Sansui Awards: No
IIFA Awards: No
Bollywood Movie Awards: No
Global Indian Film Awards: No
Filmfare Awards: No
And yes I am against Alia winning the best actress award for gully boy for the only a 15-minute role. When there have been so many greater roles played by actresses in the year. Consider Kangana Ranaut for Manikarnika or Rani Mukherjee for Mardaani if consider that you have not seen performances of Shivalikha Oberoi in Yeh saali Aashiqui or Shweta Basu prasad in Tashkent files.
And let’s agree that most of us have not seen Tashkent files in theaters. And how could we? Because it takes a lot for these movies to just come out and until we recognize it, it’s way too late. People made this topic about Sushant Singh Rajput and so I am replying that way. Nepotism is nothing new, but the way people are turning this into the craziest thing is so wrong. We are acting like victims that we are not. The fault is ours too because we know that it is in over hands whom to make successful when to.
I have seen terrible actors, great actors, terrible actors turning great, great actors turning terrible. And I believe that if they try playing with there roles they can get somewhere to great actors. As I said Varun Dhawan has done a great job in October and badlapur, but he has returned to his first state.
I have never preferred saif Ali khan in his early acting career but now I watch films especially for him. I went to see Tanhaji in theaters because of Saif Ali khan’s energy through just the trailer, with all the respect to Ajay Devgan. I see a different actor in saif Ali khan now and I like it. I like his growth.
With all due respect to all the actors, and to you guys and choice of what you like, I just want to say that it’s wrong to turn this thing into something different. “Dead people receive more flowers because regret is stronger than gratitude” is not an excuse but a lesson. Let’s not our regret get all of us. Let’s agree when some say Sushant Singh Rajput’s last movie is not the best of his career. Give respect to him, but let not our grieve allow destruction around us. My heart breaks to accept the fact he is no more, but it knows that it does not change the facts.
With this, I close my article. I am also planning an article on Underrated movies of Bollywood and of course other than Bollywood to expose you guys to more good content. Let me know what you think about it. Hope you guys liked this article and you can share your opinion in the comment section below. Until then, spread love, spread kindness. Peace!