190503 Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt.
Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt. Image Credit: IANS

Bollywood’s award-winning filmmaker R Balki has courted controversy after making a statement where he tackled the ongoing debate about nepotism in the film industry, while defending star kids such as Alia Bhatt and Ranbir Kapoor.

Filmmaker R Balki Image Credit: IANS

“The question is do they (star kids) have an unfair or bigger advantage? Yes, there are pros and cons. But I’d ask one simple question: Find me a better actor than Alia (Bhatt) or Ranbir (Kapoor), and we’ll argue. It’s unfair on these few people who’re probably some of the finest actors,” Balki told Hindustan Times in an interview.

The statement, though, didn’t go down well with many fans of late actor Sushant Singh Rajput who have been calling out nepotism in the film industry and Bollywood camps that fails to give outsiders a chance to shine.

However, Balki’s statement has also riled up a few feathers in Bollywood as well with veteran filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and acclaimed screenwriter-editor Apurva Asrani among industry names who have disagreed with the opinion.

“Have huge respect for you, Balki. But I just saw ‘Kai Po Che’ again last night. Three new young actors at that time. And stunning believable performances by each,” tweeted Kapur.

TAB 200224 Director Shekhar Kapur 1-1582529658861
Shekhar Kapur Image Credit: Agencues

Asrani also responded to Balki’s comment with a string of industry names who he thought were better than the two stars the filmmaker mentioned.

“Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann, Kangana Ranaut, Priyanka Chopra, Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, Richa Chaddha. Many others too if we look beyond A list film families, and take a few chances. I love Ranbir & Alia, but please, they aren’t the only good actors,” tweeted Asrani tweeted.

The writer went on to share more names, including Pankaj Tripathi, Gajraj Rao, Amit Sadh, among others.

“My god, I could go on and on about the wonderful talents we have. Stop fussing over the same 3-4 names now!” Asrani, who scripted the critically-acclaimed ‘Aligarh’, wrote in a separate tweet.

Meanwhile, filmmaker Anubhav Sinha also waded into the debate to clarify and took a more neutral stand.

“I don’t think Balki meant Ranbir and Alia are the best actors right now. They aren’t. There is no yardstick to compare two good actors. I think what he meant was that they are both truly deserving stars despite their illustrious pedigree. And I agree with that,” tweeted Sinha.

Sinha went on to explain why he feels an actor’s child becoming an actor cannot be described as nepotism.

“In the 30s There was an actress called Rattan Bai. She had a daughter called Shobhana Samarth who would also act. Shobhana had two daughters that acted, Nutan and Tanuja. Tanuja’s daughters are Kajol and Tanishtha. Is that Nepotism???? N.O.,” Sinha stated.

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Sushant Singh Rajput Image Credit: IANS

The nepotism debate has raged on ever since Rajput was found in his Mumbai residence on June 14, with Mumbai Police stating the actor died by suicide. There has been talk that the actor was depressed as well after several projects of his being shelved and Rajput being blacklisted by Bollywood camps.