When I am asked my take on nepotism in the Indian entertainment industry my answer is simple. There is the plus, Ranbir Kapoor. And then there is the minus Armaan Kohli. And the twain shall not meet.
For every member of the Kapoor family from Rajiv to Armaan, who has been rejected there is Kareena Kapoor. And if the ever-gorgeous Sharmila Tagore's son Saif made it, there is Saif's sister Soha, who is at best an also-ran (married to an also-ran).
What is really worrying is not the nepotism in the film families but the one from the outside. Those who had no connection to the industry have toiled for years to get the success that they so craved are now busy promoting their bhai-bandhu.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui who struggled for 15 years before recognition knocked on his door, has a brother who looks after his brother's business and wants to make films as well.
Well good for you. Best of luck. To us, I mean.
It is really ironical that Kangana Ranaut who brought up the whole nepotism debate has her business and career being looked after by her sister. This arrangement was arrived at after Kangana sacked her earlier manager on grounds of inefficiency. But how efficient can a star-sibling be? Govinda, another outsider to have made it big in Bollywood, found out the hard way that siblings can be an awful baggage to carry around, when Govinda pumped in all his hard-earned into his brother's dream project Radha Ka Sangam.
Like they say, one brother's dream is another another's nightmare. Let's hope Nawazuddin's brother doesn't blow up all of his star-brother's savings in making a film that would take Nawaz nowhere except to the laundry.
Why do enlightened artistes who take years to get where they are, make such a fool of themselves with their siblings? Anurag Kashyap's brother had followed Kashyap into direction. But nothing has been heard of the director's brother's directorial dreams since the record-breaking failure of the Kashyap sibling's Besharam. Besharam, indeed.
I am so glad the self-made Gwalior product Kartik Aryan, the new flavour on the block, has no siblings who can follow him into the film industry. We joke about this. And, Kartik tells me without a trace of irony, "Akela tha, akela hoon, Akele rahunga… I have a sister, and she has no interest in movies beyond the ones I feature in."
It is a sweet thought and one that our self-made stars should adhere to. Why must Kangana depend on her sister to broadcast all her complains about 'being Kangana Ranaut'. It's not easy being a star sibling, I know. The great Tanuja has spent a lifetime being compared with the greater Nutan. And Asha Bhosle, for all her exquisite talent, could never be Lata Mangeshkar. But they both had it in their genes. The talent, I mean.
How can Nawazuddin's brother claim to be a filmmaker just because his brother has proved himself a born actor? Does it follow that cinema is inherent in every member of the Siddiqui family? Would we soon have more members of Nawaz's family desirous of cracking the Bollywood code?
In that case, bring them on. Let's see what they have to offer.
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed above are the personal views of the author and do not reflect the views of ZMCL.)