Quotas for the underprivileged in the Bollywood Hindi film industry

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.

Will we ever see this story outside of the The Indian Bakwaas?

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


5 thoughts on “Quotas for the underprivileged in the Bollywood Hindi film industry

  1. Liked that ‘equal and opposite’ thing 🙂

    Every argument is logical, or at least fair, from some angle and/or to some people. For every argument in favor of any reservation, there will be an equally counter-productive opposite argument.

  2. I like your use of “counterproductive” since it is absolutely accurate. Our politicians are experts in counterproductivity.

  3. Yes,it is right that there is no ‘race gene’ in the human genome.

    Nepotism is a virus. This virus now flows to Bollywood Hindi Film from the Indian politicians. Now Indian Democracy is in the hands of a few no. of political families. They hold power like past zamindars, kings and emperors in India.

    Yes, genes are more marketable than other actors and actresses. Indian Media is also responsible for this euphoria. In a free-market even human beings are commodities. Everything is a marketable item.We are helpless.

    Quotas for underprivileged in every sphere of our life is good for a certain period of time but not for ever.

    Biplab Majee
    West Bengal, India

    1. Thanks for your well thought-out response. Look forward to reading your new books released at the Kolkata Book Fair.

  4. Hola. I enjoyed browsing your website because you usually post great postsSweet blog post.. Awesome Job once again. I have already add this website to my favorites list. I believe I shall subscribe to the websites feed also. I intrigued by bollywood movies next year…..

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