#Voices: Kareena Kapoor Talks About Nepotism, Says She Wouldn’t Have Survived This Long If She Hadn’t Worked Hard. We’re Not Sure She Gets It
Another day, another star has spoken up about the nepotism debate that’s been going on from ages, or did it start last month only? I can’t remember anymore. Let’s not even get into how it all started; we know it all too well by now. So let’s move on. A lot of celebrities, both privileged and strugglers aka “insiders” and “outsiders,” have weighed in on the raging discussion and it seems like there’s no end to this debate. After hearing about a ton of celebrity opinions, and writing about a bunch of them, I can say that this is not ending anytime soon. That, and nepotism very much exists and Bollywood, which was kinda predetermined by now. But anyway, moving on.
What I’ve also realised from all these interviews is that most of them don’t even get what nepotism actually stands for and what this debate is all about. Take the latest comment on nepotism by Kareena Kapoor Khan, for instance. In an interview with Barkha Dutt, she said she doesn’t think she has got anything because of her privileged background. It was her struggle and hard work that she has been in the industry for over two decades. She said, “21 years of working would not have happened with just nepotism. It is not possible. I can take a long list out of superstars’ children for whom it’s not been able to happen that way.” While she may be right on the working hard bit, that’s so not the point here. Last I checked, nepotism was how easily the insiders get opportunities and not how far you get in your field and how hard you work. It’s the struggle to get in.
For a star kid, a 100 doors are open even if their first film tanks at the box office but the same can’t be said for an outsider. And that’s what nepotism is. The whole debate was about how these outsiders don’t get equal opportunities and lose roles to the star kids all the time, and Kareena clearly missed the point here. She said, “It might sound weird but my struggle is there. There is a struggle but it probably is not as interesting as somebody who comes in a train with just Rs 10 in his pocket. Yeah, it’s not been that and I can’t be apologetic about it.”
Also Read: #Voices: Vidya Balan Said When She Was Replaced In Many South Indian Films, She Thought Her Career Was Over. But She Never Gave Up
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) August 3, 2020
What’s even more surprising is that she shifts the blame to the audience saying they are they ones who make nepotistic kids stars because they are watching their movies. “The audience has made us, nobody else has made us. The same people pointing fingers, they are only making these nepotistic stars. Aap jaa re ho na film dekhne? Mat jao (You are going to watch the films, right? Don’t go). Nobody has forced you. So I don’t understand it. I find this whole discussion is completely weird.” This is the part of the interview I really don’t get. It has got nothing to do with nepotism. Audiences are not the one who give these star kids opportunities and promote nepotism.
She further adds, “The idea is that today so many of our biggest stars whom you (the audience) have chosen, whether it is Akshay Kumar or Shah Rukh Khan or Ayushmann Khurrana or Rajkummar Rao, are all outsiders. They are successful actors because they have worked hard. Whether it is Alia Bhatt or Kareena Kapoor, we have also worked hard. You are enjoying our films and watching them. So, it’s the audience that makes or breaks us.” I just want to say here that these successful stars didn’t just get the first film they auditioned for like Alia Bhatt. They probably went through a dozens of rejections, modelled and did commercials, even did TV for years before landing their first film. All these outsiders who are successful today didn’t get the same opportunities as the star kids.
Kareena here talks about her struggle and hard work which I am sure she has gone through. Nobody survives in a competitive and ever thriving industry quite like this one on merely an entrance ticket. However, we can’t deny the fact that while the real talent is snubbed and outsiders have to struggle a hell lot to even get their ticket to stardom, opportunities that often star kids or the people with connections have at their feet. The struggle to survive and hard work comes much later.
Surprisingly, some of the new-age star kids like Janhvi Kapoor and Alaya F have acknowledged the issue and owned up to it the right way. They said that they are aware of the opportunities they have which other people don’t. In an interview, Alaya said, “We need to realise that even in our struggle, we are privileged. If we got rejected in 10 auditions, someone else has got the thumbs down 100 times. Their struggle is greater than ours. But just because I’m privileged, doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do what I love and work hard at it.”
Janhvi Kapoor too talked about nepotism in an interview with Rajiv Masand. She said, “You need to acknowledge that there are people out there that might not even get the opportunity to audition, let alone get the film. And you are here living your dream and they are going to be watching you thinking like mein yeh kar sakti thi ya mein yeh kar sakta tha isse kyon chance mila sirf kyonki yeh iski beti hai? (I could’ve done that, why did she get a chance, just because she is his daughter?).”
At least, they have got the concept of nepotism right and are putting their view forward in a mature way. This is exactly what’s expected of the celebrities–to give an honest opinion about what’s happening, rather than supporting something unreasonably. Nepotism is not about how hard you work once you get the opportunity but how you get the opportunity in the first place, if you even do, that is. In simple words, it’s about the struggle to get in. The struggle to survive is the same for both. Of course, once you land a film, the scales for insiders and outsiders are balanced as both have to work equally hard to make it in the industry.