Abhay Deol on nepotism: Talent everywhere deserves a chance to shine
“If we are serious about making changes for the better, then focusing on only one aspect, one industry, while ignoring the many others, will be incomplete,” the actor wrote
Actor Abhay Deol has shared his thoughts on nepotism and privilege in Bollywood. In an Instagram post, Abhay wrote that his uncle, actor Dharmendra, broke into the industry as an ‘outsider’. He said that while he is glad that there is an active debate about the practice, it is just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.
“I’ve only ever made one film with my family, my 1st, and I’m grateful to be blessed and have that privileged,” Abhay wrote. “I’ve gone that extra mile in my career to make my own path, something (Dharmendra) always encouraged. For me he was the inspiration.”
Abhay reasoned that nepotism exists in all walks of life, be it politics, business or film. The actor even credited his background for pushing him to experiment in his career.
“I was well aware of it and it pushed me to take chances with new directors and producers throughout my career. That is how I was able to make movies that were considered “out of the box.” I’m glad some of those artists and films went on to have tremendous success,” he wrote.
While agreeing that nepotism is a part of every country, Abhay said that it has a more complex dimension in India.
“I suspect caste plays a major role in it being more pronounced here than in other parts of the world. After all, it is “jati” that dictates that a son carry on the work of his father, while the daughter is expected to marry and be a housewife. If we are serious about making changes for the better, then focusing on only one aspect, one industry, while ignoring the many others, will be incomplete and possibly counter productive.”
He, therefore, called for a systemic revolution in the country. “We need a cultural evolution. After all, where do our filmmakers, politicians and businessmen come from? They are people just like everyone. They grow up within the same system as everybody else. They are a reflection of their culture. Talent everywhere deserves a chance to shine in his or her medium.”
The suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput in June sparked a debate on the treatment of outsiders in Bollywood. Sushant, who came from a non-film background, was allegedly sidelined by the bigwigs of Bollywood. The debate spilled over into the music world, with singers like Sonu Nigam calling out the ‘mafia’-like hierarchy of the industry.
“As we have learnt over the past few weeks, there are several ways in which an artist is either uplifted to success, or beaten down to failure,” Abhay wrote. “I’m glad more actors are coming out today and speaking of their experiences. I’ve been vocal about mine for years now, but as a lone voice I could only do so much. It’s easy to smear one artist for speaking out, and I have been at the receiving end from time to time. But as a group, a collective, that becomes difficult. Maybe now is our watershed moment.”