Bollywood and filmgoers are yet to come to terms with the suicide of promising actor Sushant Singh Rajput a week ago. As the probe into his untimely death is on, no one can say with certainty what exactly drove this brilliant Patna boy to take his life. Did nepotism by entrenched cliques in Bollywood and the 'outsider' tag cost Sushant chances despite a clutch of notable films to his credit. Well, many think so. While debates around blatant favouritism in Bollywood, which is known for powerful film dynasties, have surfaced occasionally, it has picked up momentum in the past few days in Mollywood as well with actor-dancer Neeraj Madhav's shocking Facebook post.
For the unversed, Neeraj Madhav called out nepotism and hierarchy in the Malayalam film industry. More than pin-pointing nepotism on a whole as a curse, Neeraj Madhav talked about how one needed to fake humility, cooperation and subservience on the sets. The artiste also added that he lost out on several opportunities as he came across as a little demanding. While FEFKA, an industry guild, demanded an explanation from Neeraj on the same, discussions as to whether nepotism really existed in Mollywood are rife on social media.
On Monday, actress Ahaana Krishna shared a pic on her Instagram stories with regard to the ongoing 'nepotism' talks. Ahaana is the daughter of veteran Malayalam actor Krishna Kumar.
“If I had the privilege of being a favoured child or daughter of an influential father/daughter I'd have done minimum 10 films and won at least a single award in the past 5 years. So don't pull me into that privileged gang okie?” (sic.), she wrote.
Ahaana made her debut at the age of 18 with Rajeev Ravi's 'Njan Steve Lopez' and she admitted in many of her interviews that no offers came her way post the film. But that didn't deter her from attending auditions. “The auditions helped me to shed my inhibitions,” she had said in one of the earlier interviews. And thus happened 'Njandukalude Nattil Oridavela' where she played the role of Nivin Pauly's sister. 'Luca' happened much later and it was her (not her father's) friend Nimish Ravi who suggested her for the movie which gave her the big break. Apart from occasional movies that come her way, Ahaana keeps a tab on her social media pages. In fact, during the lockdown period, she along with her three other sisters made sure to keep in constant touch with her fans by uploading videos and pics. She is one of those rare actresses who made her own audience.
Out of the comfort zone
It's quite natural for actors to make a spectacular debut and then fade away from the limelight. That had happened to popular actor Fahadh Faasil. Fahadh began his film career at the age of 19 in his father Fazil's 2002 romantic film 'Kaiyethum Doorath'. Despite this favourable launch, it wasn't easy for him to carve his own identity. The film was a critical and commercial failure. He soon went into a sort of hibernation by moving to the US. He even enrolled for an engineering degree course, dropped out midway and did a philosophy course. He reportedly did some film and acting studies as well and came back. After return it took a while for him to come out of the comfort zone and began to choose his roles wisely. 'Chappa Kurish' and '22 Female Kottayam' were few of his initial films that gave him his own identity in the Malayalam film industry. Now, undoubtedly he is one of the finest actors Indian cinema has got. Without any fan clubs or social media pages, the star amazes us with each role he does.
Carving one's own identity
As Mammootty's son, Dulquer Salmaan could have opted for a flashy debut. But his first movie 'Second Show' was directed by a debutant and also featured a bunch of newcomers. But the film didn't click at the box office. If you think, acting was in Dulquer's genes, he did make sure to polish it as well before his quiet entry. The business graduate, left his job in Dubai and did a three-month acting course at the Barry John Acting Studio.
Slowly and steadily, he began winning people's heart with movies like 'Ustad Hotel' and 'ABCD'. He came to be addressed as 'Kunjikka' like how his father's fans lovingly addressed him as ‘Mammukka’. And since then, there was no looking back. Though he tasted success with a few, Dulquer had his own share of failures as well. It wasn't really a steady graph. Probably, he was trying to establish on his own without his father's name. He soon forayed into Tamil, Telugu and Hindi and today he has become an actor with a pan-Indian appeal.
A star is made, not born
Son of actors Sukumaran and Mallika, Prithviraj, was pursuing his bachelor’s degree abroad when director Ranjith asked him to come for a screen test. It was in a recent interview that Fahadh revealed Fazil had first approached Prithviraj for 'Kaiyethum Dhoorathu' but since it did not happen, Fazil later recommended Prithvi for the Ranjith movie. In spite of being a star kid, Prithvi had his own flaws as an actor. But there was a genuineness to the films he did. And there came a time when his 'English usage' and his attitudes were more discussed than his films. He also made headlines for speaking openly. Mammootty and Mohanlal should play their age instead of starring opposite inversely younger women, was one of his earliest and bold comments. He made his own choices by signing a Vinayan movie at a time when the later was barred by film associations.
But his passion for cinema never dies down. He probably belonged to the category of actors who wanted to explore different characters. From 'Classmates' to 'Vasthavam' to 'Thalappavu', he made sure not to fall into the stereotyped roles and rather did his experimentations. After his stint with other languages too, he even stepped into direction. With passage of time, his arrogant image faded and he managed to create a brand of his own.
Remember Simba from 'The Lion King'? Though Mufasa paved way for Simba, the cub has to bring out its true potential.