Sharmila Tagore's son Saif claims he is a "nepotism victim"
In the aftermath of actor Sushant Singh Rajput's tragic demise, many celebrities (read star kids) are coming forward to clarify their stance on privilege and nepotism in the industry. However, Saif Ali Khan, the son of noted actor Sharmila Tagore and late cricketer and former "Nawab" of Pataudi, Mansoor Ali Khan, believes that he himself has been a victim of nepotism. Cute, isn't it?
While interacting with The New Indian Express, Saif said there exists a larger inequality in the country that needs to be addressed. He opined that nepotism, favoritism, and camps are "different subjects". "Even I have been a victim of nepotism but nobody speaks of that," said the Nawab's son. He added he is happy to see "people from film institutes" come to forefront.
To recall, actor Kangana Ranaut, an industry "outsider," had once called filmmaker Karan Johar the "flag-bearer of nepotism" on his own chat show Koffee With Karan. Saif was seated beside her. Reacting to this, Saif said he has no idea what Kangana was talking about. "The truth is always complicated. There's much more to it but people aren't interested in that," the actor said.
Saif also said that Karan has been receiving flak because he is a "large symbol" in the industry. Notably, Karan was brutally trolled and subjected to incessant online hate as fans sided with "outsiders" and called out certain filmmakers and actors for promoting nepotism, after Sushant's demise. Actors like Alia Bhatt, Sonakshi Sinha, and Sonam Kapoor (all star kids) also received hate messages.
Meanwhile, talking about Sushant, his co-star in upcoming film Dil Bechara, Saif stated the late actor was talented, good-looking and intellectual. He said, "I thought he had a bright future. He was polite to me and appreciated my guest appearance in the film. He wanted to talk about many topics like astronomy and philosophy. I got the feeling he was brighter than I was."
In another recent interview, Saif said that talented actors often do not get opportunities in India that some privileged people do. It should be noted that Saif's daughter, Sara Ali Khan is also a film actor and starred opposite Sushant in her debut movie Kedarnath.
By calling himself a victim of nepotism, Saif has mocked those who have actually suffered. But this isn't the first time he did so. In 2017, along with Karan and actor Varun Dhawan, he infamously chanted the slogan "Nepotism rocks!" at an award show. After a row, he clarified through a letter, that "It's not something that I wrote or something believe in."
It is imperative to note that many celebrities have lately come forward to call out the industry's hypocrisy and unfairness. Raveena Tandon recently said that "mean girl groups" and "camps" do exist in Bollywood, while director Abhinav Kashyap accused Salman Khan of bullying him and sabotaging his career. Separately, Abhay Deol slammed Bollywood award shows for being biased.
However, despite the massive uproar, nothing seems to have changed on the ground or so suggests a recent incident. Streaming platform Disney+ Hotstar recently announced the release of seven major films. They invited stars like Alia, Ajay Devgn, Abhishek Bachchan, and Akshay Kumar but snubbed actors Kunal Kemmu and Vidyut Jammwal as well as their films. This shows favoritism isn't going away anytime soon.