Kareena Kapoor Khan, a fourth-generation actor, has weighed in on the nepotism debate that has been reignited in the wake of Sushant Singh Rajput's death. Those from film families have been at the receiving end of much criticism amid allegations that the late actor was shunned for being an outsider.
In an interview with Barkha Dutt, Kareena said that instead of actually understanding the situation, people are in attack mode. She added that instead of looking at everyone from a privileged background in a negative light, the 'larger picture' needs to be looked at.
"21 years of working would not have happened with just nepotism. It is not possible. I can take a long list out of superstars' children for whom it's not been able to happen that way," she said, adding that the idea is to keep working hard and moving ahead.
Kareena said that she does not look at her journey as having got opportunities just because of her lineage. "It might sound weird but my struggle is there. There is a struggle but it probably is not as interesting as somebody who comes in a train with just Rs 10 in his pocket. Yeah, it's not been that and I can't be apologetic about it," she said.
According to Kareena, the audience is the final decider of who becomes a star. She cited the example of Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar, who came with no connections to the film industry, but became successful because the audience welcomed them with open arms.
"The audience has made us, nobody else has made us. The same people pointing fingers, they are only making these nepotistic stars. Aap jaa re ho na film dekhne? Mat jao (You are going to watch the films, right? Don't go). Nobody has forced you. So I don't understand it. I find this whole discussion is completely weird," she said.
Kareena said that those coming from film families work just as hard as outsiders. "The idea is that today so many of our biggest stars whom you (the audience) have chosen, whether it is Akshay Kumar or Shah Rukh Khan or Ayushmann Khurrana or Rajkummar Rao, are all outsiders. They are successful actors because they have worked hard. Whether it is Alia Bhatt or Kareena Kapoor, we have also worked hard. You are enjoying our films and watching them. So, it's the audience that makes or breaks us," she added.
After Sushant's death on June 14, it has been alleged that he was replaced from films for being an outsider. Kangana Ranaut claimed that the 'movie mafia' had a role to play in isolating him and destroying his career.
However, Sushant's father KK Singh believes that Rhea Chakraborty abetted his suicide and misappropriated crores from his bank account. An FIR has been filed on his complaint against her and six others in Patna under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
In an interview, Vikas Singh, the lawyer of Sushant Singh Rajput's family, said that the case has nothing to do with nepotism. "If tomorrow, the Mumbai Police feel that any outsider or any person who comes from a small town to this industry needs protection and they feel like it is a cognisable offence, then they can go ahead and do that angle," he said.
"Maybe an actors' association or producers' association can take up this matter but I don't think that this case has anything to do with what Kangana has suggested or anybody else is talking about," he added.