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SSR’s Family Releases Nepometer App Meant To Check How Much Nepotism Is There In A Movie

Posted: July 6, 2020

Sushant Singh Rajput’s family has just released a Nepometer App, which is meant to tell you how much nepotism is involved in the making of a movie. But is that enough?

Sushant Singh Rajput’s family has released a nepometer app, which tells us how many family members vs independent artistes are involved in the making of a movie, thereby telling us how nepotistic it is. While this is a good initiative, nepotism exists on many levels and across industries, and we must make an attempt to weed it out everywhere.

Speculations following the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, by suicide, added fresh fuel to accusations of nepotism in Bollywood that has been ongoing for a long time now. Now, his family has come up with a ‘Nepometer’ app, to objectively measure how nepotistic a movie is.

In a post shared on Facebook and Instagram, the family wrote about the motivation behind building the nepometer. “I’m afraid that this momentum and outrage might fade away in few weeks. We all signed up for change. org petitions with great unity and it shows that we are looking for this Bollywood nepotism to change.”

The post further said that the best way to make this change happen is to “use our wallets,” by refusing to support nepotistic movies, and that the nepometer would not only remind people of what movies not to watch, but also bring to light alternative independent movies.

Sushant Singh Rajput’s brother in law, Vishal Kirti, also clarified that the app, created by his brother Mayuresh Krishna is a tribute to Sushant Singh Rajput and hasn’t been created with an intention to profit from it.

How the nepometer app works

The nepometer rates a film on 5 criteria – Producer, Lead Artists, Supporting Artists, Director & Writer, and identifies how many of them have family ties, or are independent artists. On the basis of his it assigns a percentage score to the movie. The higher the percentage, the more the nepotism.

For example, it rated the upcoming movie, Sadak 2, and gave it a rating of 98% nepotistic, as 4 out of 5 criteria indicate that the people involved in the movie, have family ties.

The app has been critiqued for not counting the grassroots technicians in this analysis. Nepometer responded by saying that they are just getting started, and that their aim is to ensure that these grassroots technicians get more opportunities to be in the limelight.

Nepotism is indefensible

Meanwhile, Director Milap Zaveri called the nepometer ‘ridiculous and said that audiences embrace artists who do good work irrespective of whether they belong to film families or not. “The nepotism debate is a joke,” he added.

What he is missing was best expressed by actor Siddhant Chaturvedi, who in response to actor Ananya Panday’s comment about the struggles of star kids said, “Jahaan humaare sapne poore hote hai, waha inke struggle shuru hote hai.” (Where our dreams are fulfilled, is where their struggles start). While he later clarified that the statement was not a jibe at Ananya, the essential truth of the statement cannot be denied.

Yes, eventually those who are not talented don’t find acceptance by the audience. However, it is easier for them to get a break; it is easier for them to get repeated opportunities, despite not flops; and it is easier for them to find other positions within the industry, behind the camera, if not in front of it.

Nepotism exists, and it is indefensible.

While it is not correct to target and troll star kids for the same, it is also necessary to provide a balanced, objective check on nepotism, and the hope is that the nepometer app can do that.

Nepotism is a cultural and systemic issue

The movie industry is certainly not the only place we find nepotism though.  It is a concept that is embedded in our culture and sociopolitical systems. Nepotism is not just a problem of individuals either. As this post (which is in the context of Indonesia, but the logic of which applies to India too) shows, it has negative consequences for organizations and for the economy as a whole too.

From politics, to the judiciary, to business, and even in the everyday lives of the common people.

As Manu Joseph wrote in this 2012 piece, “The urban middle class, too, is a beneficiary of the generous and tenacious Indian family, which subsidizes its children far longer and deeper than is generally accepted. Only a young Indian who is not supported by a family purse will appreciate the simple fact that he or she does not compete with other young people for a shot at a decent life but with whole families. The Indian is less an individual and more the mascot of his family background.”

So none of us can honestly take a moral high ground on this issue and point fingers only at celebrities. We need to take a deep look at ourselves, and question how we ourselves have benefited from our family/social connections, and in what ways we further the problem.

The nepometer app is a good beginning, but it is only a beginning. We must do the difficult work of uprooting nepotism from our society.

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