Nepotism in the Bollywood industry has been a long-standing discussion, of whether it is truly present, and if yes, then to what extent? With the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the issue of nepotism has come back into the limelight as celebrities try pinning it as a cause of his suicide, alongside his depression.
What is nepotism? It’s the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. It’s common knowledge that Bollywood favors and gives extra opportunities to it’s ‘star kids’.
Budding artists and actors have to undergo a lot of added pressure to fit in and be accepted in the industry, as is claimed by many of them. A lot of ‘outside’ actors have, in the past, also come up and spoken about how their films were rejected or shelved by production houses, how their movies weren’t applicable for awards like the mainstream movies were, along with other problems.
As people were mourning the death of a promising 34-year-old actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, the discussion and debate on how deep-rooted nepotism is in Bollywood made a comeback. A lot of reports and media articles have suggested that Rajput was being cornered and isolated by the mainstream Bollywood fraternity. Even though he was a successful actor, he was being denied opportunities, which people believe led him to take such a drastic step.
Celebrities had a lot to say about this on Twitter and Instagram.
Veteran actor Dharmendra wrote in a tweet, that despite not knowing Rajput personally, his death served as a reminder that the industry could be ‘cruel’. Actor Meera Chopra tweeted a note, which emphasized the loneliness of working in a ‘cruel, cold and ruthless’ industry.
Actor-turned-politician Prakash Raj shared an old video of Rajput saying, “nepotism is everywhere. If you deliberately don’t allow the right talent to come up, then there is a problem.” He tweeted with that, “#nepotism I have lived through this .. I have survived … my wounds are deeper than my flesh ..but this child #SushanthSinghRajput couldn’t.. will WE learn .. will WE really stand up and not let such dreams die .. #justasking”.
Alia Bhatt tweeted, “I’m in a deep state of shock. No matter how much I think about it, I don’t have the words. I’m totally devastated. You’ve left us too soon. You will be missed by each and every one of us. My deepest condolences to Sushant’s family, loved ones, and his fans. I hope you find the strength to make it through this devastating time.”
Karan Johar, who was called the ‘flag-bearer of nepotism’ by Kangana Ranaut, tweeted “This is heartbreaking….I have such strong memories of the times we have shared …I can’t believe this ….Rest in peace my friend…when the shock subsides only the best memories will remain….Broken heart.”
However, their tweets of condolences weren’t received well by the users on Twitter, and hence started the discussion of nepotism in the industry, and how it often pushes an ‘outsider’ to depression and feelings of loneliness.
Actors and filmmakers like Hansal Mehta, Shekhar Kapur, Kangana Ranaut, and Nikhil Dwiwedi were quick to shut out the seeming hypocrisy by the big names of Bollywood. Anubhav Sinha tweeted, “The Bollywood Privilege Club must sit down and think hard tonight. PS- Now don’t ask me to elaborate any further.”
To blame his death on nepotism alone would be wrong and will overshadow bigger concerns like mental health issues. Depression, suicidal tendencies, and other mental illnesses have long been overlooked, and it’s high time, that we, as a country, pay attention to them. It’s important for us to look out for our friends and family members in times of loneliness and in general too. It’s also important to look after your own mental health and to seek out help from others, preferably a professional, if we feel that way.
To present the award, the hosts invite two esteemed film personalities, who happen to be the star kid’s parents. What a sweet coincidence! The presenters open the envelope and announce the winner to be – drumroll please! – the star kid, of course! What a Kodak family moment!
— Ranvir Shorey (@RanvirShorey) June 16, 2020
Inputs from Yukta Baid