There was a rather peculiar question in the All-India Pre-medical and Pre-dental Entrance Examination a few years ago. The question in the biology section asked if children of doctors were genetically inclined to become doctors themselves. I am sure that there were some students who filled in the “b” or “c” circle with their No.2 pencils for all questions they did not know the answer. Some must have chosen that option.
Reflecting back to the gist of the question, I can say that it is certainly true that many physicians want their children to follow in their professional footsteps. The same also applies for practitioners of professions such as law, politics, sports, and engineering. The Hindu caste system was originally based on professions. Even today there is controversy regarding the touchy topic of race and ability. Geneticists are however, quick to point out that there is no “race gene” in the human genome.
Arguably the most visible instances of offspring following in footsteps all the way down to nepotism can be found in the Bollywood Hindi film industry. A staggeringly large proportion of lead actors and actresses who get their first “big break” in Hindi films come from filmi households.
Yes, I have heard many of the usual arguments. The parents of these youngsters finance many of the movies. They are well-connected. They have acting in their genes. They are more marketable.
Further, arguments are made that financiers can choose whoever they want in a free country.The public is not forced into watching anyone’s films. And many actors and actresses related to industry folks have flopped miserably over the decades. For every Hrithik Roshan, there is an equal and opposite Puru Rajkumar.
These are all valid points. But my question is this: if we can have rational discussions on mandatory reservations for underprivileged castes and classes in India in the public and private sector, why can’t we imagine quotas in the top-spots in films for those of us not related to film-royalty?
© 2009-2011, Anirban