How justified is it to blame nepotism?

Devasish Palkar
Saturday, 27 June 2020

It has almost been a fortnight, and it’s still difficult to come in terms with the sudden demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. Among several things that are being blamed, nepotism tops the charts. Is it justified?

It has almost been a fortnight, and it’s still difficult to come in terms with the sudden demise of Sushant Singh Rajput. Among several things that are being blamed, nepotism tops the charts. Is it justified? 

Now, at the outset, I want to clear a few things.

- Karan Johar didn’t pay me to write this up.

- I have never watched or felt the urge to watch Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Dil to Pagal hai, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge (Yes, such people exist), Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, Mohabbatein, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, War, Baaghi series and many more films that I consider mindless.

One way to look at the second point is – some way that’s how I didn’t allow myself to support nepotism that everyone is blaming today. I would instead focus on a Bangladesh A versus Zimbabwe A Unofficial Test than watching them. I am also proud of the fact that I saved so many precious hours in my life not watching many of those.

Now if you have watched these films and not watched Udaan, Masaan, Tumbbad, Shahid, Aligarh, etc. then you can’t actually blame nepotism for not appreciating the real talent. But anyway, don’t be guilty, it’s not a bad time to start supporting good films, talented filmmakers, technicians and actors.

Now, nepotism does give you a head start and might win you a 100-metre run but life is a marathon, and it depends on how you plan it out. Take a look at Abhishek Bachchan and Hrithik Roshan. Two star-kids who made their debuts around the same time courtesy nepotism. One faded out, and one still continues to provide blockbusters.

And who decided this fate? Their inherent ability. The audience.

I mean no disrespect to Abhishek, who has been fantastic in several films like Guru, Paa, Manmarziyan, to name a few. Also, little is spoken about his essaying Master Da Surya Sen’s character in Khelein Hum Jee Jaan Sey.

Now I don’t know how nepotism functions behind closed doors, but it would be too self-defeating to think that talent and hard work has no place in any industry. To blame nepotism for Sushant’s death would be wrong in three ways.

- We still don’t know the personal story of Sushant, and it’s better not to speculate

- Blaming some star kids like Sonam Kapoor, Sonakshi Sinha, Alia Bhatt, etc. will keep them in trends. Actors like Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal, Bhumi Pednekar, Rajkumar Rao, etc. have done fantastically and the talks should be around them. We didn’t appreciate Sushant enough when he was alive. Did we?

- Blaming nepotism and calling Sushant failed because of that would be an injustice to the legacy of hard work he left behind. His body of work and choice of films should inspire youngsters from small town rather than freaking them out

What we don’t know and are speculating is the reason that prompted Sushant ending his life. What we know is he was suffering from depression. All the talks of nepotism divert us from the bigger issue, i.e. mental health. Shouldn’t that be the talking point especially in our part of the world where we don’t normalise discussions around that?

(Dr Devasish Palkar is currently working as a second-year MD resident in the Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College, Surat.)

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