Bollywood’s Favourite Child – Nepotism
I just went to Google trends to see if the word ‘nepotism’ was trending in India or not. I was right. It started trending from the second week of February, this year – one week prior to Kangana Ranaut’s now-famous Koffee With Karan episode, which made the word ‘nepotism’ a serious contender for ‘Word of the Year’ in India in 2017. And the said word continues to trend as we speak. Hmm.. May be it’s not that late to ponder.
Koffee is hot, handle with care
For Karan, it was an opportunity to show the world that he can take criticism; and also to show his magnanimity. Of course, it was also about TRPs – they started spreading PR articles a week in advance highlighting Kangana’s quotable quotes. Kangana’s ‘Movie Mafia’ dig directed at Karan Johar went viral even before they aired the episode. Karan’s jaw dropped in the promos. And we couldn’t wait to see the episode. But what happened after the episode went on air was something neither Karan nor Kangana anticipated.
Oh we have a new outrage!
In the age of Social Media, an average Joe has lot of opportunities to pick and choose his outrages and then use Social Media to show his commitment to the cause. Unlike what Karan expected, people didn’t laugh it off just like that. In no time, Karan became the villainous/scary ‘Movie Mafia’. People started writing lengthy articles. And his Twitter feed was filled with trolls – well, his Twitter feed is the place for worship for internet trolls. But this time, it was like a troll carnival of sorts.
It was followed by a damaging interview where Karan said that Kangana should stop using the ‘victim card’. As expected, it was followed by lot of articles slamming Karan Johar all over again. Karan later wrote a blog post regarding the same. And ‘nepotism’ continues to fascinate people.
Kangana is right
Indeed, Kangana raised an important issue. Bollywood used to be a family business, wherein few family-owned studios controlled the industry. It was extremely difficult for outsiders to break in. However, there have been attempts to democratize Bollywood. Today, we have many studios that are not controlled by film families. And multiplexes have made it easy for small studios to survive. Things have become lot better compared to before. But nepotism is still rampant considering the number of star kids turns 20 today! We have a long way to go!
Let’s hear what Karan has to stay
In his defence, Karan has said that he launched many directors, who had nothing to do with the industry. That’s true. Among actors, he frequently collaborates with people who are the product of nepotism. And he repeats Aalia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan, his own findings from the film families. But according to him, he also launched Sidharth Malhotra, who is an outsider. And in his latest blog, Karan passed on the blame to the media as well. He indeed made a point there by saying that media is equally obsessed with star kids even before they are launched. But, does that make him less guilty? Nope.
However, putting all the blame on Karan is unfair. After all, he is looking for the most viable names for his project as a businessman. It’s not our birth right to expect Karan Johar to be an ethical businessman because he is not running a government office at the end of the day. It’s his company; and it’s his choice.
Is it unfair to the star kids?
The truth of the matter is that it’ unfair to blame the star kids. Their family members have been in the business. They know all about the business. And it’s unfair to tell them that they shouldn’t be joining the films just because they are part of the industry. If they are talented and passionate about the movies, then they should be given a chance (not 20 chances in a row even after failures!). Can you imagine an industry without a Kareena Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Aalia Bhatt anymore?
But let’s continue to shame the studios that follow this practice
The best outcome of this whole discussion is that, Bollywood studios are being forced to look at this issue. They no longer can overlook this issue; people are watching. I think that’s the best way to deal with it.
We need more people like Kangana Ranaut who are not scared to go after the biggies in the business. Sadly, people in the industry are highly insecure. They don’t want to be in anybody’s bad books. So they all keep their mouth shut, which leads to such unfair practices.
So yes, let’s continue to trend the magic word ‘nepotism’. Let’s single out those studios. It’s definitely going to result in a level playing field.