Shabana Azmi on nepotism: How do you explain Nawaz, Vidya and Deepika’s success?

Time & Us
Last Updated: August 23, 2017 at 2:56 am

NEW DELHI: The nepotism debate has gripped Bollywood, with stars weighing in with their opinion every other day. Some argue that star kids get an easy debut; many others point out that names with no filmi connections, too, have made it big in the industry. Veteran actor Shabana Azmi calls this scenario herd mentality.

“What happens is that jab ek topic chidta hai (when a discussion begins), everybody hops on the bandwagon without considering it to its full extent,” says Shabana, who has been part of Bollywood for more than four decades.

The actors refers to quite a considerable number of actors, who have made it big in Bollywood even without hailing from a film background or belonging to filmi families, and asks, “[Amid] this whole chant of nepotism being existent in Bollywood, how would you explain Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vidya Balan and Deepika Padukone — none had a direct connection with the film industry, but are here to stay.” The 66-year-old doesn’t rule out the fact that nepotism does exist, but it’s unfair to target Bollywood. “Of course, it’s an easy way into an industry, but I don’t think anything is wrong with it. If you are a doctor, don’t you give that platform to your son? If you’re a painter, a poet or anything, it becomes only natural that the atmosphere in which they are born, that’s what they are most inclined to get,” argues Shabana.

She’s quick to add that even if one does get an easy entry into a field, that doesn’t determine their future there. “After that, if you are not good, you don’t stick around. So yeh kehna ki sirf un logon ko chance milta hai jo film background se hain, yeh sahi nahi hai (To say that only those with a film background get opportunities, is wrong). Clearly, there are lots of people, who have made it on their own and done well,” says Shabana.