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Neeraj Pandey believes nepotism is ‘bakwaas’, ‘an excuse’ and ‘boring’

Manoj Bajpayee, one of the lead actors in Pandey's next film Aiyaary, agreed with his view.

Director Neeraj Pandey. Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Keyur Seta

The word ‘nepotism’ has been trending throughout 2017. It all began when Kangana Ranaut called Karan Johar the flag-bearer of nepotism. This sparked a series of exchanges with some film personalities agreeing that nepotism is rife in the industry and others claiming that it is not such a major issue.

Filmmaker Neeraj Pandey today made it very clear that he belongs to the latter group. Pandey was speaking about his upcoming film Aiyaary (2018) with actor Manoj Bajpayee at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT-B).

Pandey didn’t mince any words to slam the brouhaha over nepotism. “Actually I have a very clear-cut opinion on this, that the founder [of the first family of Hindi cinema] Prithviraj Kapoor was an outsider. Toh hum kya bakwaas kar rahe hain isko leke [So what is this nonsense going on about it]? Nobody asked you to go into the film business. It was your choice. Now don’t take up these excuses about [nepotism],” he said.

Surprisingly, Pandey also said nepotism is a ‘responsibility’. “Of course people will be biased with one another," the filmmaker said. "But it’s part of our job to survive that. It’s as simple as that. If today a person favours his son or an immediate family member, that’s [also] a responsibility, right? So I don’t see that it [the subject of nepotism] should be used at all. It has got boring and passé now.”

Bajpayee, also an outside entrant into the Hindi film industry, agreed with his director. “Initially, when I was doing theatre, all of us were very clear that we have to be very skilful," the actor said. "We really need to work hard to train ourselves to compete in a cut-throat industry like Bombay. And that has given us tremendous amount of confidence that tomorrow if we get a better opportunity, we will be able to showcase ourselves and people will not be able to ignore us.”

For good measure, he added, “Who said the world is fair? The world is not fair.”