Kajol, Soundarya Rajinikanth Share Their Views on Racism, Nepotism in Indian Showbiz Industry And We Couldn't Agree More
Actor Kajol and director Soundarya Rajinikanth, who were recently in the city to promote their upcoming film VIP2, showed no qualms in sharing their perspective on the issues – nepotism and racism – everybody has been busy talking about.
When the 2016 Oscar acting nominations included white actors for the second consecutive year, #OscarsSoWhite started trending, giving people across the world an insight into colour bias that still exists in Hollywood. Unfortunately, this racial bias also exists in Indian showbiz industry where actors despite exhibiting exceptional acting prowess, continue to lag behind - those who are fair and supposedly prettier - both in terms of stardom and monetary gains.
Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui’s recent tweet that clearly hinted at Bollywood’s racist underbelly and how he had a brush with racial profiling.
Thank U 4 making me realise dat I cannot b paired along wid d fair & handsome bcz I m dark & not good looking, but I never focus on that.— Nawazuddin Siddiqui (@Nawazuddin_S) July 17, 2017
For the unversed, the actor’s tweet came in reply to what Sanjay Chauhan, the casting director for the upcoming film Babumoshai Bandookbaaz had told a daily. "We can't cast fair and handsome people with Nawaz. It would look so weird. You have to take people with distinct features and personalities when pairing them with him," Chauhan was quoted as saying.
While it was heartening to see how several fans and director Hansal Mehta praised his talent, we spoke to actress Kajol and director Soundarya Rajinikanth about the harsh realities of racial bias in the Indian showbiz industry.
Kajol, who has completed 25 years in the industry, denied witnessing racial inequality. “For camera, let me put it this way – the darker you are the better you look on camera. It is a scientific fact any cameraman will tell you. As far as biases are concerned, our film industry is truly one of those places – as I said before – that doesn’t have it at all. I don’t see it, I haven’t seen it.”
Soundarya echoed the same sentiment and maintained that the showbiz industry should have zero tolerance for such racial discrimination. “Colour biases don’t happen predominantly. But I think content of films – doesn’t have language, caste and colour. At the end of the day, it is just the characters you see and relate to. So I don’t think entertainment should have any of these things.”
On being asked how nepotism – a debate that kicked of when Kangana Ranaut mocked Karan Johar during an infamous Koffee with Karan episode – Soundary said star kids don’t have it easy. “At the end of the day, talent is what is going to stay – no matter who you are and which background you come from. If you aren’t talented and if people don’t accept you – both on and off camera, I don’t think it matters what your background is. So as children from the film fraternity, I think we have a lot of pros, but also a lot of cons.”
In addition to standing the test of time, stars kids also have to deal with the additional pressure of meeting mammoth expectations from almost everyone in the industry.
“We are always watched, our actions are also watched and what we say are also watched. And there are a lot of expectations from star children. But like I said, we also have our pros. But end of the day, if you aren’t talented and people don’t accept you for what you can give them and how you can entertain them, it doesn’t matter where you come from.”
Recently at the IIFA awards, Varun Dhawan with the show’s hosts Karan Johar and Saif Ali Khan slammed Kangana Ranaut in the wake of the nepotism controversy. Following their massive criticism on social media, they had to ultimately apologise for their behaviour.
Kajol too feels there shouldn’t be any issue if a kid wants to take up the profession of his parents. And this could include anything from medicine to law and acting. But yes, what matters the most is one’s talent and hardwork to prosper in life.
“Like she said, our film industry is one of those awesomely amazing places where we actually are truly multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-everything. It doesn’t really matter which religion, colour, creed, race you come from. If you are talented, you will win. And your hardwork will see you through to the top. As far as children from the industry are concerned, which I’m myself I think it is the same like you’d have with any doctor, lawyer. Whatever the parents are, children naturally progress to take up that particular career. But I don’t think it is a sure shot. As I said, the only thing that works in the industry is your talent and hardwork. I believe that of the greats like – Dilip Kumar, shyam benegal or for that matter even Rajinikanth.”
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