The nepotism debate in Bollywood that has resurfaced after the tragic death of Sushant Singh Rajput doesn't seem to abate anytime soon. In fact, it only seems to grow as more insiders come out with their experiences in the entertainment industry. Singer and actor Sonu Nigam recently shared a video on Instagram in which he talked about the "music mafia" and how nepotism is way more pronounced in the music industry than it is in films.
“Today, Sushant Singh Rajput has died. An actor has died. Tomorrow you might just hear of a singer, a composer, or a lyricist doing the same because there is a bigger mafia in the music industry than the film industry. I understand that you have to do business, people want to rule the business,” Sonu said in the video.
He added, “I was lucky; I came into this industry rather early and therefore could get out early and avoid the mess, but for the scores of newcomers, it can be very difficult. I keep talking to them, they all confide in me - they are worried - a producer, director and music composer wants to work with you but music company will say ‘this guy isn’t our artist’."
Sonu has also shared that most of the power in the music fraternity lies with a couple of labels and how unhealthy this skewed power dynamic happens to be. In another video, Sonu had heavily criticised Bhushan Kumar (of T-Series), accused him of functioning like a 'mafia,' and warned him to stay away. Soon after, Bhushan's wife Divya Khosla Kumar had taken to social media where she accused Sonu of running a deceitful campaign against her husband and also called him "thankless" for all the work that he got from T-series.
However, Sonu is not the only one against the music mafia. Sawaar Loon singer Monali Thakur has come out in support of Sonu's statement in a recent interview with a digital media platform, "Yes, yes, it is very true. It is true that nepotism exists in a country like this which has so many talented people." She further said that she has had her taste of the same and intentionally distanced herself from the mire owing to her mental health:
“I was thankful to him because he is a senior and he has been in the industry for so long. He is a very big name and an iconic musician. He is over all these things... But it is so true that there is lot of ‘mafiagiri’ in the music industry. Nobody gets their due. That is the reason why I do not like the atmosphere and ecosystem of the music industry. I don’t even try to get movie songs anymore. I alienated myself because I care for my mental health."
Talking about the toxic culture and how young talent is sabotaged in the industry, the singer further added, “They do not care. Pees dete hai (They crush you) like an ant. They will keep promoting people who are mediocre, I will be very honest, and can hardly do anything to save their lives.”
Reiterating Sonu's point of view and the general atmosphere of the music industry, Monali also talked about how the balance is exponentially tilted against the new talent or the outsiders who have to make huge compromises to find their place in the industry. She said, “If you are signed up with a label and giving away 80 per cent of your income, only then you get work. Why? It’s not healthy,” adding that music labels were like ‘gangsters’, ‘looting’ what rightfully belongs to the musicians. She added that there may not be any nepotism in the music industry but there is ‘goondagardi’.
Singer Adnan Sami also took to Instagram on Monday as he called out the music mafia, “The Indian Film & Music Industry SERIOUSLY needs a ‘Herculean‘ SHAKE UP. Especially in the context of music, New Singers, Veteran Singers, Music Composers & Music Producers - who are being exploited to the HILT!! ‘Fall into the DICTAT or you’re OUT’... Why is creativity beyond ‘CONTROLLED’ by those you have no clue about ‘creativity’ & are trying to play GOD??."
Calling the reigning names of the film and music industries ‘arrogant’, he wrote, “Have you, the Movie & Music ‘Mafia’ who have arrogantly entitled yourselves as the ‘self professed & self appointed gods' not learned anything from history that you can NEVER control art & the ecosystem of creativity of any field? ENOUGH!! MOVE OVER!! ‘CHANGE’ is here & it’s knocking on your door!! Ready or Not, it's coming in! Brace yourselves!”
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The Indian Film & Music Industry SERIOUSLY needs a ‘Herculean‘ SHAKE UP. Especially in the context of music, New Singers, Veteran Singers, Music Composers & Music Producers - who are being exploited to the HILT!! “Fall into the DICTAT or you’re OUT”... Why is creativity beyond “CONTROLLED” by those you have no clue about ‘creativity’ & are trying to play GOD?? We have 1.3 Billion people in India by the grace of God- Is all that we have to offer is ‘remakes’ & ‘remixes’? For God sake, STOP THIS & allow the truly talented new & veteran artistes BREATH & give you creative peace Musically & Cinematically!!! Have you, the Movie & Music ‘Mafia’ who have arrogantly entitled yourselves as the ‘self professed & self appointed gods‘ not learned anything from history that you can NEVER control art & the ecosystem of creativity of any field? ENOUGH!! MOVE OVER!! “CHANGE” is here & it’s knocking on your door!! Ready or Not, it‘s coming in! Brace yourselves! As Abraham Lincoln said - “You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time!!”
Since the debate of nepotism has reopened in the Indian entertainment industry, the general atmosphere has been that of anger, agitation, and widespread outrage. Cases are being filed, people are being called out, and celebs are under a constant scanner for their ties and connections in the industry. Consequently, a lot of celebs including actors Sonakshi Sinha, Aayush Sharma, and Saqib Saleem quit social media last week.
Nepotism remains a long due conversation that is frequently pushed under the carpet by those regarded as its flagbearers. Perhaps it is time that the industry insiders join each other as a team and come out with their testimonies in this fight against nepotism because, as Adnan says, one should never control art!
Featured Image: Instagram