Nothing Wrong with Nepotism in Indian Film Industry – It is not a Public Office

Nepotism is only wrong when it involves public office or publicly listed companies -this too with some caveats.



With the sudden and shocking death of Sushanth Rajput Singh, the debate on nepotism has caught fire and the consensus seems to be that the Indian film industry big wigs are sinners for promoting and providing opportunities to their kin. 

As the title suggests, I completely  disagree with the assessment that nepotism is wrong and I have concluded this based on the following arguments:

Public vs Private:

There needs to be a discretion between what is a private business and what is a public office or publicly owned company.  Most of the film business is run by individuals who use their hard-earned or inherited wealth to produce films – in effect, they are using their own money and have every right to spend it on whatever or whoever they want to. If you say this should not be the case and a more deserving actor should be promoted instead of their kin, then one can also argue a Kirana Store owner should not give away the store in inheritance but should give to the best employee who works in his store, why doesn’t  Nepotism argument apply here? but this sounds weird right – that’s only because we think of nepotism only when it involves public personalities. 

“one can also argue a Kirana Store owner should not give away the store in inheritance but should give to the best employee who works in his store”

The same applies to all private businesses-wether it is a construction company, a local bar, or a restaurant run by individuals, no one should give them away, and doing so should be considered immoral as many seem to consider for the film industry.  However, nepotism is wrong when it involves public office, As the public office is not private business. However here too, some differentiation is needed. For example, making Rajiv Gandhi the Prime Minister after the demise of Indira Gandhi is the worst kind of nepotism. Rajiv Gandhi was not even in politics, had no skin in the game, but was given the highest office in the country just based on the last name. On the other hand, an individual should not be barred from holding a public office just because he or she is a son or daughter of a MLA/CM/PM. They need to earn their way up, consider the example of  Telangana Finance minister -Harish Rao, he is the nephew of Telangana CM KCR but no one can accuse him that he is in this position of power, only because he is KCR’s nephew – he toiled hard during the Telangana agitation and has become a leader by his right. Nepotism is when an individual is destined to be the Prime minister of a country or a president of a party right at their birth as is the case with the Gandhi Family. 

Talent is Perception & Contextual

During this debate on Nepotism, there was a lot of commentary on how talented people were overlooked for industry insiders in the context of films. but who is talented and who is not varies from one individual’s perception to another, this is especially true when it comes to films because unlike an engineering or medicine admission, there can’t be set examination to filter out who is more talented or less talented when it comes to creative arts like films. 

“Nawazuddin Siddique is considered the most talented actor, but can you imagine him playing Bahubali ?”

Let’s take the craft of Acting, Acting is a visual art, so a choice of an actor depends on a lot of things like a person’s face & physicality, his background, Language, etc. Particular actors face and physicality is crucial for any director as he needs to look believable in the world the director is imagining. Even a world’s most talented actor can’t be cast in every role, for example, Nawazuddin Siddique is considered the most talented actor but can you imagine him playing Mahendra Bahubali ? for this particular role Prabhas will fit the bill most appropriately even though he may be considered less talented than Nawazuddin.

Insiders were once Outsiders

In this debate of Insiders vs Outsiders, many forget the so-called insiders like Amitabh Bachan, Dharmendra, etc were also outsiders once. Take a recent example of Anushka Sharma, she is an outsider who has made it big in the Industry, she has recently started a production company called “Clean Slate”.

The co-founder of this production company is her brother Karnesh Sharma. Now, will you consider Anushka Sharma an insider or outsider ? as she has made her brother a producer instead of giving a chance to any other talented outsider. Will you also accuse Anushka Sharma of Nepotism?

Nepotism is in Human DNA 

If we examine carefully, nepotism is in every field and every family as it is in human DNA to help create opportunities for the near and dear ones and also take their cooperation and help in managing the business you help build. The only exceptions need to be for Public Office and Public stakeholding companies.


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