Bollywood has two very distinctive phases: pre-nepotism and post-nepotism. It may sound like Hollywood’s watershed MeToo movement, but the nepotism movement is different in letter and spirit.
After actress Kangana Ranaut named and humorously shamed the poster boy of nepotism, director Karan Johar, on national television; we know how nepotism looks like. It looks like Alia Bhatt, Ranvir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Jahnvi Kapoor, and lately like Suhana Khan.
Whenever we see them, we start crying foul without understanding that our “very selective” outrage doesn’t matter to the multi-crore entertainment industry, which has always banked on surnames — be it Kapoor or Khan.
Have seen her on stage and had my heart bursting with pride!! She is stunning, soulful and a bonafide talent! Welcome to the spotlight my darling! Even in its harshest moments it will envelop you with immense love....and thank you for never calling me UNCLE! Love you ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/wGIfET0nrD— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) July 31, 2018
Yes, this outrage is quite selective, because nepotism is also present in sports, business and politics. But losing our patience over a magazine cover for featuring a star kid seems smarter than questioning the credibility of the offspring of a business tycoon.
When Sanjay Dutt, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Hrithik Roshan, Kajol, Twinkle Khanna, Rani Mukerji, Karisma Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor — all from famous Bollywood families — debuted in Bollywood, the ‘N’ word was clearly unknown. Even when Karan Johar made his directorial debut with Kuchh Kuchh Hota Hai (1998), people either loved or hated the film. Yash Johar was not dragged into the scene.
The new poster girl representing Bollywood's nepotism ( Photo courtesy: Instagram account of Gauri Khan)
But times are changing. The industry has woken up to the nepotism debate and how.
Soon after Kangana Ranaut shut down Karan Johar on his show, Karan, along with other 'torch-bearers' of nepotism, took a potshot at Kangana on the stage of IIFA by singing the song Bole chudiya, bole ‘Kangana’. Varun Dhawan, Saif Ali Khan and Karan Johar made fun of how they were there — on the stage — because of their parents.
Later though, they apologised only to stage something very similar at this year’s IIFA.
A spoof of the same song was played this time, which went like “Bole Kudiyaan, bole sajna, launch karna, mujhko abna”.
There was not much uproar this time, until SRK’s daughter, whose photos often go viral of course as she is SRK’s daughter, came on the cover page of a magazine, which so far has pleased its audience with their choice of cover models.
Also ‘offensive’ were Suhana's qualifiers: student, theatre lover, future star, as all of them supposedly exposed the bankruptcy of her achievements.
Forget Kapoors (and Khattar); the Khans are coming (Instagram of Janhvi Kapoor)
Even a cover photo of Jahnvi Kapoor, in comparison, seems justified now as she has at least done a movie, and many people seemed to have pretty much liked her.
From here, the narrative takes an old turn. Like Alia, Jahnvi too may impress the audience with her mettle.
So may Suhana, once she is actually launched.
And there will be many star kids who will be gradually forgotten despite their dazzling launch and many like Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Irrfan Khan and Priyanka Chopra, will do well despite not being ever launched like a rocket.
Meanwhile, the occasional social media outrage gives Bollywood an occasion to celebrate its pedigree, to laugh at nepotism, which it has no qualms in claiming as its own.
Already outraged: We are yet to see the complete picture (Photo: Instagram)
Suhana’s cover photo on a fashion magazine is just the trailer of nepotism 2.0. Her big brother Aryan Khan is yet to be launched. And then, there is AbRam who has grabbed enough eyeballs. Not to forget, there are other star kids too like Saif Ali Khan’s daughter Sara, Akshay Kumar’s son Aarav Kumar, who all must be “students, theatre lovers, future stars”.
Outrage on social media won’t be able to stop their Bollywood debuts, unless we stop drooling over the photos of star kids like Taimur.
Meanwhile, some people continue trolling Abhishek Bachchan for being a flopstar, despite being a star kid.