In a debate started by the Statement of Kangana Ranaut regarding the high level of nepotism in Bollywood, fueled and boosted by the joke on her cracked by the trio of Karan Johar, Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan at the IIFA Awards 2017. The question of Nepotism making new actors from the industry background successful and suppressing the talents from outside is hot. But is it really true? Or is there something else going on?
Kangana Ranaut is one of the very few artists in Bollywood Showbiz who does not think twice before voicing her opinions and open admitting her problems. In the popular Chat show hosted by Karan Johar ‘Koffee with Karan’, she boldly branded the show’s host as the “Flag-Bearer of Nepotism”. The reasoning for her statement is quite obvious, Karan Johar’s ventures have been a launch-pad for many star kids in Bollywood. Interestingly, two of those involved with him during his Nepotism joke at the IIFA Awards had achieved some of their success due to his movies.
Saif Ali Khan and Varun Dhawan. Successful because of Family or with their own efforts?
Saif Ali Khan, a privileged member of the Pataudi Family and the son of the veteran actress Sharmila Tagore, was able to successfully revive his career in Bollywood thanks to the Success of Kal Ho Naa Ho co-produced by Karan Johar. Varun Dhawan, the son of Director David Dhawan was part of the trio consisting of himself, Siddharth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt in the Karan Johar Directed Student of the Year. The movie launched the careers of these three actors and all of them have made their own niche in the Industry.
But the success of these artists and that of many other star kids who got their chances to act in movies due to the presence of their relatives in the industry could never have been possible without their own hard work. Most of Saif Ali Khan’s movies were flops before his hit film Kal Ho Naa Ho. Even after the popularity he achieved after the success of that Karan Johar co-produced film, his films in the future couldn’t elevate his status in the Industry until his superb work in the movies Race in 2008 and Cocktail and Love Aaj Kal in 2009, which were super-hit movies made his acting career more relevant than ever before.
As for Varun Dhawan, he did get a great start with Student of the Year, but his true acting talent was only well-known post the success of the movie Badlapur in 2015. There are many other artists in the Industry; Shraddha Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Ranbir Kapoor, Tiger Shroff and Imran Khan to name a few; who got their first shot at the industry thanks to the reach of their family, but then they were left on their own to either survive or perish in Bollywood.
Difference between the hits and misses of Outsiders and those of a Filmy Background in Bollywood
One could definitely argue about the effects of hits and flops of artists from families within the Bollywood Showbiz and those of the outsiders. The likes of Tiger Shroff and Varun Dhawan have and will continue to get chances to succeed even if they fail. Even, so repeated failures will take away their stardom in the same way as it could be taken from the outsiders if they ever fail repeatedly. The likes of Vivek Oberoi, Bobby Deol, Tusshar Kapoor and Esha Deol could be considered as examples of the actors who failed despite having chances in this film industry.
As for the effects of hit and flop movies on those working in Bollywood without a filmy background. The story is mostly the same, except for the fact that the outsiders could never get as many chances and shots as those from famous families. No matter how many actors & actresses would try to refute this fact, it is the truth.
The likes of Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma, and Shah Rukh Khan achieved massive success in Bollywood without having an industry background. The reason for their success was an undying level of motivation and hard-work which took them this far. Stars like Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor did get initial support from their families. But their current level of success is purely and entirely the result of hard-work.
Nepotism does exist, but it would be troublesome only when it starts to negate the hard-work of artists from non-filmy backgrounds
The success story of every major star in the industry revolved around their ability to face times of crisis and flops, develop their talent, a little bit of luck and most importantly, the ability to make full use of the opportunities they got at hand. True, Nepotism exists in Bollywood, and also in many other Film Industries. But this little amount of Nepotism does not stop any outsider from carving their own niche here.
There are several actors who made it big in the industry despite the lack of a marketable face or family reach, and at the same time, there are several actors whose success could be largely attributed to their family. But even for those, it is hard work and dedication which finally made them known to the Indian Audience. As said by Alia Bhatt once, getting born in such famous families is not a fault of the artists themselves. True, a family helps them in their career, but that’s just an opportunity they have at hand, and opportunities are always distributed unfairly. Not everyone gets a chance to succeed. It is a hard truth, but at the same time, making the most out of what one has got at hand is also important.
The only thing which could spell trouble in Bollywood is if the outsiders are not given fair chances to make good use of their skills. Currently, that seems to be the case because of the massive promotion of Star Kids like Ayan Khan, Jhanvi Kapoor and Harshvardhan Kapoor by the media channels, which belittle the growing and developing artists in the industry who do not come from a rich background.
Such an extensive coverage and promotion of people who are yet to act in films is nothing but a filthy practice of marketing. It still might not be the fault of these people or their families themselves, and the blame for such a practice would solely go to the media. Nepotism can’t be easily curbed because there are way too many families whose members have played a huge role in making Bollywood the second largest Movie Industry across the Globe.
But the practice of extensively promoting star kids and covering their personal lives even before their acting debuts could definitely be stopped.The dilemma here is that controlling such a practice is in the hands of the media itself, and the general media largely publicizes only those contents which appeal to the viewers. Ultimately, this is a defective cycle, which could only be modified if the perception of the Indian Audience about the Star kids and the outsider artists changes over time.