Nepotism. Or is it simply Karma?



the practice amongst those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

Synonymsfavoritism, preferential treatment, the old boy network, looking after one’s own, biaspartialitypartisanship

Nepotism is not a new subject. Power has been passed on within Royal Families in all countries. The accepted norm worldwide is that a King’s successor is always his son. Then why is there even a debate if it happens in Hollywood, Bollywood or even in commercial organizations?


German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel recently spoke up to criticise Ivanka Trump’s role in her father’s administration, describing it as “nepotism”.

Ivanka, who visited Berlin as part of the W20 summit on women’s empowerment, is working in an advisory role to the President of the United States. Gabriel is the most prominent world leader to speak of his disagreement with the appointment, according to The Local. He said: “For me there are things that remain strange, like for example the visit of his daughter to Germany which was treated almost like a world event, while the mix of politics with family and business reminds us instead of nepotism and would be unimaginable here.”

He went on to liken the role to “members of the royal family”.


In large part because of her disparaged teenage performance in her father Francis Ford’s The Godfather Part III, Sofia Coppola has long been held up as the personification of Hollywood nepotism. Accusations of unworthiness dogged her for much of her early directorial career. With The Virgin Suicides, a Boston Phoenix critic wrote, she showed “a lot of her father’s audacity but as yet not much of his talent.” Last year, Vice referred to her career as “a clear-cut case of nepotism gone wild, on steroids, and then additionally on crack.”

Sofia Coppola and Jaden Smith are becoming the flag bearers of nepotism in Hollywood.

The list of great movie folk spawned from other talented showbiz figures runs too long to list here. Even setting aside Hollywood dynasties like the Barrymores and Fondas, the partial lineup includes George Clooney (aunt: Rosemary Clooney), Angelina Jolie (dad: Jon Voight), and Nicolas Cage (uncle: Francis Ford Coppola), Michael Douglas (father: Kirk Douglas), Campbell Scott (father: George C. Scott; mother: Colleen Dewhurst), Laura Dern (father: Bruce Dern), Jamie Lee Curtis (father: Tony Curtis; mother: Janet Leigh), Josh Brolin (father: James Brolin), Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen (father: Martin Sheen), Carrie Fisher (mother: Debbie Reynolds; father: Eddie Fisher), Melanie Griffith (mother: Tippi Hedren), Colin Hanks (father: Tom Hanks), Kate Hudson (mother: Goldie Hawn), Scott Caan (father: James Caan), Martha Plimpton (father: Keith Carradine), Mariska Hargitay (mother: Jayne Mansfield), Zooey and Emily Deschanel (father: cinematographer Caleb Deschanel), and Tony Goldwyn (the last name says it all).


It is believed that Bollywood is a tough turf to maneuver for rank outsiders and star kids have it relatively easy.

Take the case of top three Super Stars of Bollywood. Shah Rukh Khan was a rank “outsider” who worked his way through the ranks and today is at the peak of his career as well as the peak of Bollywood. Salman Khan, son of Salim Khan, famous story writer is now commanding a die-hard fan following and has the credit of giving the most hits that have entered the so-called “100 Crore Rupees” club, a name given to those movies that gross more than 1 Billion Rupees in its lifetime. Aamir Khan, son of veteran Producer Tahir Hussain and nephew of Producer, Director Nasir Hussain is now known in the film industry as a “perfectionist” who does less number of movies than his counterparts but his movies are sure shot commercial blockbusters.

The ruling roost of Bollywood

Amongst the three, Shah Rukh Khan is not in the list of those standing accused of having benefited from Nepotism.

A generation earlier the three Super Stars were Dilip Kumar, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. All three rose from being nobodies to garnering status of setting trends in Indian Film Industry. They belong to the generation of Indian cinema where the roots were laid and when nepotism almost did not exist. It is ironic that none of their relatives have really succeeded in making a mark on Bollywood. Take the case of Hrithik Roshan. A media declared “Greek God” of Bollywood who is the son of failed actor but successful director, Rajesh Roshan. Hrithik, though a subject of nepotism has worked hard to gain status amongst the top in the Industry. So, whether you get the help of your famous relatives to give you the first break, it is not a given that you will achieve success.

In the coming years, today’s young beneficiaries of nepotism will, like Coppola or Roshan, get to prove whether they deserve the hand-up they’ve been given. If they succeed, people shouldn’t criticize them for then giving a hand-up to others.


But the question remains…what does it take to actually take birth in a high society family? Why is it that some children are born in royal families or high societies and other children are born in either middle class families or in abject poverty ridden homes? The only plausible answer is that it is all a matter of chance or there is a higher force called past Karma at work. I am a believer of the latter. One needs to accumulate immense good Karma in past life in order to take birth in a rich family. However, in order to continue to deserve the good life, one needs to continue the path of good Karma.

For a person to be so popular among millions of masses (Movie Stars, Politicians, Kings), they must have amassed immense good karma in their previous life to reap the benefits in this life, though they were born in very average families. At the same time, for a star kid to be born in a successful family, s/he must have gathered good karma in previous life, but their deeds in this life depends on how high they can go in stardom.

Coming back to the Nepotism debate, I think the answer doesn’t lie in Television Chat Shows or Internet mudslinging. The answer is out there, in the Universe.

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Kiran Borkar

Having been part of the Internet Industry since the late Nineties, he believes Nostradamus goofed up by not predicting how the World Wide Web would change the world.

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