Time to Address the Negatives of Bollywood

This article was originally published on July 31, 2020.


Many Bollywood actors including Kangana Ranaut, an extremely talented actress known for never holding anything back, have openly talked about how the Bollywood industry is not welcoming towards those who are outsiders who have come into the industry based on only merit. Nepotism is widely spoken about in India. Therefore, I want to take the time and explain what exactly is nepotism and how we can fix it when it comes to Bollywood. I would like to put a disclaimer in the beginning. If you are a fan of anybody who is mentioned in this article, my words are not meant to offend anyone. My only hope is for this article to help gain awareness.

Nepotism is a word that means “the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.” This is exactly what is happening in Bollywood. The Kapoors, Khans, and Bachchans are three of the major families who rule the kingdom of Bollywood. These families have lines of generations that are able to easily get a following and a name for themselves when compared to newcomers to the industry with the help of the insiders such as Karan Johar. Those who have family members who are already prominent in the Bollywood industry enjoy the fruits of getting to act in multiple movies (let it be hit or flop), but the outsiders have only a limited number of chances (think of it like hit or miss; if they miss, they are out forever).

Moreover, many stars who come from celeb families are shown better treatment in public areas when compared to the average person and have said many hypocritic comments and hateful comments pointed towards newcomers in the industry in the past. Most of them are not asked to apologize, even though they should be since while it is okay to make mistakes, it is necessary to fix them. Now, not all actors who are products of nepotism take such actions. Shraddha Kapoor, for example, is the daughter of a famous actor, Shakti Kapoor, who often played antagonistic roles in movies. She has shown her good morale and her character in the past years in many instances.

Nepotism is also enforced by us, the audience. Yes, many star kids are extremely talented when it comes to acting and we reward them for their performances by filling the movie theatres and buying tickets to watch their movies multiple times. However, what about the fresh talents who do not have any family members in the business and have received a chance solely based on their acting expertise? Many of us ignore them based on the fact that we don’t know who they are. We must change this because by being more open to watching people we don’t know act, we are encouraging fresh talents.

Furthermore, we treat celeb families with so much admiration when compared to everyone else. Indirectly, we are giving them so much power to the point where actors can influence the police and the government and take over an entire film industry! This shouldn’t be happening! We also need to put an end to production houses supporting only products of nepotism. Many people are missing out on the chance to make their dreams come true because we are less welcoming to people who are new to Bollywood. So many more talented actors could have risen if the film industry and we gave them a chance! Now, I’m not saying we should eliminate nepotism altogether. As the late Sushant Singh Rajput has said, “star kids and outsiders can coexist with each other.” That is absolutely true, but in order to get there, we need to start creating an environment where that is possible. Luckily, we are already seeing a change as many newcomers have been encouraged including Rajkumar Rao, Kangana Ranaut, Ayushmann Khurrana, Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, and more. On the other hand, we still have a long way to go.

Let’s make Bollywood a place where fresh talent can blossom by watching the movies of people who we are not familiar with alongside the movies of actors from celeb families, calling out the rude remarks of anybody in the entertainment industry and encouraging them to address their mistakes, and not treating celebrities as if they are gods and goddesses. Peace!

By the way, this article was directed to Bollywood, as Bollywood is an Indian film industry where nepotism is widely seen. However, all I have talked about in this article is applicable to all industries across the world.