The nepotism debate ruling Bollywood since decades has sparked yet again due to the tragic demise of talented actor Sushant Singh Rajput on June 14. While, several people are blaming professional rivalry for it, taking out big names, several actors are sharing their devastating experiences of falling prey to nepotism.
Speaking about the same, actor Richa Chadha wrote about the nepotism debate and wrote that instead of discussing mental health, nepotism replaced the primary talking point.
“It is being said that the industry seems to be divided between ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’? In my opinion the Hindi film industry and it’s entire eco-system is only divided between kind and unkind people,” she wrote.
Richa added that as an outsider, she feels, that the industry operates like a food chain. “In the brief time that I have spent here as the first person of my lineage, my assessment is that the industry operates like a food chain. People are scoundrels when they know they can get away with it. Those who are anguished today have themselves been cruel to their subordinates,” she wrote.
Richa wrote that acting as a career can be ‘deeply isolating’ where ‘personal life is invariably affected by public life’. She continued, “There are insiders who can be kind and generous, and outsiders who are punitive egomaniacs. In the nascent phase of my career, I was often ‘cut to size’ by outsiders. It took me all my strength to recover from various forms of subtle sabotage. But this is not about me. The tragic part is that everyone here has experienced a version of this.”
She wrote that the idea of ‘nepotism’ makes her ‘laugh out loud’. “I don’t hate ‘star kids’,” she added. “Why are we expected to? If someone’s father is a star, they are born into that household the same as we are to our folks. Are you ashamed of your parents… This is a hateful and nonsense argument. I am a self-made person in this business. Will you tell my children to be ashamed of my struggle to reach where I have, for instance?”
Narrating an experience from about a decade ago, involving Sushant, she continued, “Sushant and I started out by workshopping together in a theatre group. I was sharing a 700 sq ft apartment in Andheri West with a friend from Delhi. Sushant would pick me up on his bike and we would head to the rehearsal, for which I was grateful. I wasn’t poor or broke. But I can’t say money was not a consideration when I had to head out to do an ad audition for a skin brand. I would worry about my make up melting in the auto rickshaw before I even arrived. This was would NEVER happen with a ‘star-kid’, and if it does, they will be lauded for being humble enough to take the rickshaw in the first place. But I don’t resent their privilege.”
She penned down “the thing with privilege is, it is invisible to those who have it. We cannot have a sincere discussion about equality before confronting entitlement. And it will not happen by blaming ‘the privileged’ for a man’s death or calling for actresses to be raped.”
Expressing utter shock and disappointment at the disgusting messages that have been sent to Sushant’s friends, she continued, “I am surprised by our collective lack of dismay or shock at how low we have stooped in our discourse. The social media timelines of the deceased actor’s friends and girlfriend are littered with filth! Who are these ‘fans’? I checked out a few profiles online. The same gutter mouths that abused Sushant when he took a stand on the ‘Padmavat’ issue are now abusing his loved ones for ‘not being there’ for him.”
She added that several filmmakers who condoled Sushant’s death a month ago are the same people who “have run down movies of their peers pre-release, have replaced actresses who refused to sleep with them at the last minute and several have in fact repeatedly forecasted ‘iska kuch nahi hoga’.”