Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s untimely death has reignited the debate on nepotism and many a stars have come forward to raise the issue on social media. It’s being said that Sushant wasn’t given his due in Bollywood. And this has seen a direct impact on the social media handles of some celebrities, who have lost or gained millions of followers depending on the side they have chosen to be or speak.
Across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, social media users have unfollowed those who are being accused of fuelling nepotism in the film industry. Between Monday night and Tuesday evening, actor Kangana Ranaut saw an increase in Instagram followers (from about 2 million to 3.2 million and counting) while Karan Johar’s profile registered a rapid drop (from 11 million to 10.9 million, which was within 20 mins on Tuesday afternoon). The numbers are changing dynamically as you read this story, since social media users are enraged by the non-recognition of outsider talent in Bollywood.
While Karan Johar has lost followers by the minute on Instagram, Kangana Ranaut has gained followers over night. “Kangana has always spoken for what’s right. In fact she was among the first ones to come to Koffee with Karan chat show, and speak up on nepotism as an important issue in the industry. Recently, she made a video addressing the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput and the problems that outsiders face in the film fraternity. This has been an eye opener for me. So I started following Kangana’s social media handles. I would like to see talent on my timeline rather than a relative of a famous Khan or Kapoor,” says Thunlai Brahma, a Delhi University student, adding, “I relate with this because I know what it feels like to come from a small town to a metro and compete to prove your worth even when you’re more qualified than some of the urbanites.”
There have been talks previously on why newbies, who are not starkids, are almost never awarded and have to mostly struggle harder to find a footing in the industry. “I unfollowed Karan Johar on Instagram and across all social media portals. I cannot support celebrities who value personal relationships over talent when it comes to giving work in the industry. Why should I pay for a movie that has star kids when I can instead pay for a movie that I will enjoy seeing because of its story and acting? Gone are the days when people would just pay to see a glamorous star cast. We want to see good movies and if this point has to be driven across through social media, through unfollowing certain film personalities then that’s what we are going to do,” says Santi Sankar, a Gurugram-based entrepreneur.
Some people have also started an online petition requesting others to boycott movies of the more popular clans in the film industry. “I have signed an online petition requesting for a ban on movies of Karan Johar and the star kids of the Khans,” says Soumyaa Shrivastva, a banker. She has shared the petition on her timeline, and opines, “Enough is enough. Bihar has lost Sushant because of the impact of nepotism which has created a divide among star kids and the outsiders. Even though Sushant was more talented, he wasn’t offered one film after the other. Reports of him going through tough times financially, and of not having enough work are doing the rounds, and are not completely baseless. This is unacceptable! He had taken to twitter asking public to watch his movies because he doesn’t have a godfather in the industry; we can’t overlook that. This is unbelievable; I’m shaken by his extreme step!”
People in general have started questioning why movies with a glamorous star cast are usually the ones that drive most award events. Piyush Dixit, a Bengaluru-based psychologist says, “I had stopped watching award shows the day I got to know that they are completely rigged. But now, it’s time to make our voices heard. If you cannot value our voices and opinions, you do not have our support at the theatres. I’ve unfollowed Alia Bhatt and other star kids and followed newcomers who have talent to make it big in the industry.”