The reign of the ‘Nepo Kids’

By Bhushan Salunke
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Bollywood actor Alia Bhatt
The Devil’s Advocate, serving you a cocktail of humour, wit and sarcasm

Bollywood is akin to a family business. So, the outrage now, after the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput, is surprising, non-effective and too late

The recent suicide death of Sushant Singh Rajput, a Bollywood actor, has ignited a fierce debate in India about the domination of Bollywood “nepokids” on the silver screen. The nepotism displayed by Bollywood actors in promoting their own kids, ahead of real talent in the industry and thus disadvantaging deserving Bollywood “outsiders” is highlighted as the main cause for Sushant’s depression leading to his sad death.

Nepotism in Bollywood has been prevalent for decades and with the general acceptance of the public too. The Khans, Kapoors, Kumars, Singhs etc have been ruling the Bollywood roost for years. The Kapoor family, for example, has been operating in the film industry for three generations. Bollywood is akin to a family business. So, the outrage now is surprising, non-effective and too late.

The history of modern India, post-Independence, is built on the foundation of nepotism. The successor to the first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, was his own daughter, Indira Gandhi, who was groomed all the way, to take over from him. Her path to prime ministership was cleared of rubbles and broken glass so she could ascend the throne effortlessly.

The nepotism continued with her sons Sanjay and Rajiv who carried the baton. Sanjay Gandhi, in fact, held no government position, but was the most powerful person in the country, who controlled even his mother and ran a police state during the National Emergency. Nepotism is so deep-rooted in Indian politics that a reluctant Rajiv Gandhi had the prime minister position forced on him. To this day, nepotism reigns, despite plenty of skilled and competent people available in the country. There are several instances in state politics, as well, in which sons/daughters automatically succeed their parents, almost as if it is their birth right.

Nepotism is all pervading in the Indian society, supported by cronyism and corruption. It covers all spheres of life e.g. politics, business, employment, sports etc so much so it has become an accepted practice

If an entire democratic nation can be run on nepotism, rivalling dictatorship, Bollywood is passé.

Nepotism is all pervading in the Indian society, supported by cronyism and corruption. It covers all spheres of life e.g. politics, business, employment, sports etc so much so it has become an accepted practice.

Bollywood is run like an Italian mafia business. Just like the mafia world, it is tightly controlled by a few families, personalities, and the underworld. It is common knowledge that Bollywood is closely connected to the underworld and financed by it. When the #Metoo movement created tremors in Hollywood, it sank like a stone in Bollywood because it was started by an “outsider”. #Metoo died a quiet and quick death, engineered by the Bollywood power centre, in order to preserve the status quo.

But Bollywood can be quite open and liberal and will open its doors to outsiders if the script is right. For example, it embraced a porn star, whose only claim to acting was faking orgasms. Bollywood will recruit winners of beauty contests as well as “sexy” women imports, so it can continue to sexualise and objectify women and keep the box office ringing. Bollywood, provider of mass entertainment in India, shamelessly copies scripts, ideas and storylines from Hollywood & other sources and is watched by the gullible millions, just like they would watch a fixed cricket match.

In nepotism, children and close relatives/associates of established celebrities are parachuted to big budget movies in plum roles, without them having to break a sweat, and whether they have the talent or not. This is not fair dinkum to talented “outsiders” who struggle on the fringes until they find themselves lucky enough to be chosen by the Bollywood mafia bosses to enter the inner circles under strict Bollywood rules. Several actors, singers etc have openly vented their frustration at the way the Bollywood film factory operates.

Sonam Kapoor, a nepokid herself, has expressed it so eloquently and arrogantly, “Yes I’m my father’s daughter, and yes I am here because of him and yes I am privileged. That is not an insult. My father has worked very hard to give me all of this. And it is my karma where I am born and to whom I’m born. I’m proud.”

It simply means—sorry people. It is your bad karma you are not a nepokid. Suck it up.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author

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