'Nepotism' - a word that triggered conversation and debate in the media ever since Kangana Ranaut first brought it up in the much-talked-about episode from Koffee with Karan. A lot of actors have come forward since to express their opinion on whether nepotism exists in Bollywood, and of course opinion is divided.
One of the stars who stood out with her comment on nepotism was Taapsee Pannu, who made her Bollywood debut with her stellar performance in the movie Pink. In 2016, the actress tweeted a rather controversial statement on the issue that had people wondering if she was referring to her co-star in Judwa 2, Varun Dhawan.
Nepotism. Finally LEARNT the MEANING of this word. Now will learn to deal with it. 🤔
— taapsee pannu (@taapsee) December 1, 2016
She then stated in an interview that the tweet wasn't directed at Dhawan, but was an observation of the trend that existed in the industry.
In an interview back in 2016, she said, "In the South, I never faced it (nepotism). But I am pretty new comparatively in Hindi, so I'm observing things around, and I'm coming across some situations where I see nepotism. Which makes me feel, 'Okay, this is there, now let's live with it and learn to deal with it.'"
Taapsee has opened up once again about the influence star kids enjoy in Bollywood. In a recent interview with Indian Express, the actress revealed that she saw how they're preferred over actors and actresses without connections who've had to 'work twice as hard to get where they are'.
"Around that time, I was about to start something—it was after Pink when there was no more a question ki yeh acting nahin kar sakti or that she is not a name that people will like to see on screen, but you are still swept aside and someone else is chosen over you because they are related to so and so," she said.
"You just get sidelined in a matter of few seconds and it has got nothing to do with your talent. So I got introduced to that,” added Taapsee.
“There are so many times our presence is not valued as much as a star kid’s presence even though they haven’t earned that space which people like us have slogged for. We have worked from scratch to be where we are. Despite that, we are very easily taken out of a project, and that hurts.”
But of course, this hasn't stopped the Pink actress from being grateful to the film industry for making room for her.
She is thankful to her audience, particularly in South India, for accepting her in the industry. It was one of the reasons, she said, that compelled her to learn South Indian languages for her films.
“Meri ek guideline hai - jiska koi nahin hota, uski janta hoti hai," she said. "The people’s support made me want to give back so I went to a language school, learnt Tamil and Telugu and also the craft. I am happy the way things are turning out.”
Taapsee will soon be seen in a variety of films, including Mulk (a thriller), Dil Juunglee (a romantic comedy), and Soorma (a sports biopic).