Film editor and writer Apurva Asrani has contested filmmaker R Balki’s recent comments defending Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt’s skills as actors. Balki’s comments came at a time when the debate around nepotism in the film industry has been reignited.
Calling nepotism a ‘foolish argument’, Balki had said in a Hindustan Times interview, “The question is do they (star kids) have an unfair or bigger advantage? Yes, there are pros and cons. But I’d ask one simple question: Find me a better actor than Alia (Bhatt) or Ranbir (Kapoor), and we’ll argue. It’s unfair on these few people who’re probably some of the finest actors.”
In his reply on Twitter, Apurva wrote, “Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann, Kangana Ranaut, Priyanka Chopra, Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, Richa Chaddha. Many others too if we look beyond A list film families, and take a few chances. I love Ranbir & Alia, but please, they aren’t the only good actors.” In a follow-up tweet, he added, “Pankaj Tripathi, Gajraj Rao, Amit Sadh, Jaideep Ahlawat, Rasika Dugal, Swara Bhaskar, Shweta Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra, Neena Gupta, Divya Dutta, Manav Kaul, Nawazuddin, Jeetu. My god, I could go on & on about the wonderful talents we have. Stop fussing over the same 3-4 names now!”
He added, “Some filmmakers & journalists are so star struck, that they gush over mediocre actors with famous surnames. Repeatedly, these actors headline projects & the press gushes. Talented actors are mostly used as garnishing–to make the mediocre look better, but NEVER to outshine them.”
Balki had said that nepotism is an ever-present practice, and not restricted to the film business. “It’s undeniable that this happens everywhere. Think about the Mahindras, Ambanis, Bajajs… Their father passed on the businesses to them. Does anyone say ‘No I don’t think Mukesh Ambani shouldn’t run this business, someone else should?’ In every strata of the society, it happens, even a driver or a vegetable seller passes on businesses to their children. So, it’s a foolish argument. Remember we live in a free society,” he’d said.
Also read: R Balki on nepotism in Bollywood: Find me a better actor than Alia or Ranbir, and we’ll argue
Balki added, “Understand that audiences don’t like actors without talent. Sometimes, they also want to see star kids on screen. That’s only the first chance that you get, and then one needs to survive on their own. I agree it’s far more difficult for an outsider to make an entry in films, but talent gets the opportunity.”
Both Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor, who are also in a relationship, belong to families with a long legacy in the film industry. They will star opposite each other for the first time in the upcoming Brahmastra.
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