Paper & Ink

Nepotism- the fuel that aids in launching even the most incompetent ‘Rocket’

‘I don’t believe in nepotism. I don’t much like the idea of parents who interfere.’

~Anthony Hopkins

Life is not a bed of roses: In the quest of becoming successful, there are so many highs and lows that one might encounter. It is the zest and the will that keeps the spirit going. The entertainment industry is one such industry where Nepotism has an upper hand over talent and capability. Born with a silver spoon in the mouth, the actors ruling the Bollywood industry currently all bank on their Godfathers (or rather fathers in some cases).

Behind the façade of promoting family relations, Nepotism encourages the promotion of family members too. This reticent form of corruption does not affect the victim but affects the onlookers. It is like the passive influence that adversely affects everyone else. And in this murky atmosphere, the real talent goes missing, for no one cares to acknowledge. The Khans have been ruling the industry for quite some time owing to nepotism (in some cases, yes talent, too) but when the newbies stepped into the industry, the newerbies stomped over them to acquire the place that was not rightfully theirs. Many names flash in our mind when we talk about the latter: Shraddha Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and many others.

Don’t you question your judgment sometimes when you spend the last bit of your monthly salary on an over-budget film rather than watching an underrated offbeat film which has quality content backed by exemplary acting skills? Here are five reasons why the underrated movies are left behind in the race against name, fame and money.

1. Public’s inclination towards Brand Name
We all trust the brand names with our gut and it takes a lot of over thinking and contemplation in deciding to go with the local names. Be it food, clothing, electrical appliances or entertainment services, we would eagerly shed some extra pennies even if it means spending for the ordinary. The mindset has been so strongly imbibed that the thought of opting for something below our ‘standards’ irks us. Going by the same logic, movies that lack stardom and financial privileges, do not suit our interest. Salman’s Sultan, Shahrukh’s Happy New Year and Varun Dhawan’s Student of the Year (Or Judwa 2) sold like hotcakes because of the eminent star cast and the bigger budget involved. But movies like ‘Titli’, ‘Masaan’, ‘Trapped’, ‘Shahid’ and ‘Manorama Six Feet Under’ seldom find a place among the big names owing to their less popularity and not-so-popular star cast.

2. Marketing and Promotion strategies
These days every other Television program reserves 2-3 minute promotion for the movie stars who can pay a gargantuan amount as a gesture of gratitude. But what happens to those who have a limited budget? The public remains unaware of the movie release date and consequently, nobody gets to know about it; it vanishes in the thin air. Even colleges and public gatherings have now become a medium for promotion. The actors dance with the people and portray the unreal self and convince the masses to burn a hole in their pockets.

It tingles the funny bone when the star cast seems so obstinate about promotions that they don’t even think twice before agreeing to judge a dancing competition and call it a day by announcing the releasing date of their movie!

3. Looks Vs. Talent
Who would you want to see on your TV screen: The one with chiseled cheekbones, the thick black hair, broad shoulders peeping through a black Sando and the emerald eyes gleaming behind a pair of glasses that keep slipping down the nose or the one with rugged look, hatchet face and tiny drops of sweat covering the forehead like the bumps on Indian roads?

The majority would vote for the first man and it is not wrong to do so. After all, all of us ‘pay’ for getting entertained. But what is the use of entertainment when it cannot make you aware of the reality or teach you a valuable lesson? The debate on what is more important- looks or talent has been going on for ages. And in recent times, when it is the need of the hour to promote clean and healthy entertainment, it is equally important to encourage the real talent because beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart (quoting Kahlil Gibran).

4. Fear of the Real
In the rat race of today, there is no time to devote to someone else’s problems and thus, every individual longs for a sabbatical in some form or the other. People like to bury their heads in the sand and continue living in their cloud-cuckoo land. Though this happiness is only a nine-day wonder, yet the cycle starts all over again when the whirlpool of problems enters the life. The adverse effects are, in turn, faced by the low-budget movies that try to depict the harsh reality with a well-intentioned motive in mind. Their efforts to make the public aware of what is happening in the world goes in vain when the public neglects and overlooks such movies and opts for the movies reeking with stardom.
Chancing one’s arm, the actors like Raj Kumar Rao, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Swara Bhaskar have now reached a pedestal where they are well-known and well-appreciated.

5. Questionable ability to judge the talent
Why is that we only admire what is thrown at us directly? Why don’t we admire the girl wearing specs, sitting on the last bench in the classroom? Why don’t we appreciate the effort our garbage man puts in to help clean the waste? What looks good and clean becomes praiseworthy. But who set these standards? Why have we based our judgment on Q Score? A movie cannot become a blockbuster unless there is a supporting cast ready with moments of genuine laughter. It is the dialogues of those characters that break the monotony of the regular. For an instance, Judwa 2 had too much of Varun Dhawan, but the only breather for the audience was when Rajpal Yadav cracked his illogical punches and made our stomachs churn with amusement.

But the sidekicks are never given the due credit. Even when most of the reviewers draw out the essence of the movie by appreciating the role given to the sidekicks, the majority of the audience run behind the poster cast. There is nothing wrong in admiring the reel life; the only problem is that we start building a fool’s paradise of our own. When this house of cards is brought down, we are left being down in the mouth.

The film industry is not the only house of Nepotism. In the world of literature, too, Nepotism has its roots. Where on one hand there are several authors who write offbeat content but have a limited reach, there are filmstars whose books become blockbusters instantly. It is not in our hands to make the bigshots stop pursuing what they desire. But when it comes to judging the content and making it go viral, the ball is always in our court.

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