There’s nepotism in every aristocracy, every enterprise in India. Politics, films, public limited companies—the power usually stays ensconced in the family. Those outside of these aristocracies and enterprises, the majority of Indians, whine about it and joke about it. In fatalistic, and sometimes funny ways, the belief that privilege is a matter of birth permeates us all. Nepotism is under the spotlight again after the sudden demise of Sushant Singh Rajput.
Everyone loves receiving an award for the hard work they’ve done and award shows are considered to be a platform where genuine talent is appreciated. But, over the last few years, Bollywood award shows seem to have lost their credibility, especially when it comes to Debut Awards.
Let’s look at the actors who won Filmfare Best Debut Awards over the years:
1- In 2020, Ananya Pandey, daughter of Chunkey Pandey, won Best Female Debut for Student Of The Year 2. The same year, Tara Sutaria also made her debut with SOTY 2 and Ankita Lokhande made her movie debut with Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. But they lost the award to Ananya.
In the same way, Abhimanyu Dassani, son of yesteryear actress Bhagyasree, bagged the award of Best Male Debut for his film Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota. And Siddhant Chaturvedi and Vishal Jethwa failed to win the award as they were outsiders.
2- In 2018, Sara Ali Khan, daughter of Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh, won Best Female Debut for Kedarnath. In the same year, Radhika Madaan made her debut with Pataakha and Gitanjali Rao made it with October. However, both the actresses failed to bag the award.
3- In 2015, Sooraj Pancholi, son of Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, won Best Male Debut for Hero. In the same year, Vicky Kaushal made his debut in Masaan and failed to bag the award despite his impeccable acting skills.
4- In 2010, Sonakshi Sinha, daughter of Shatrughan Sinha won Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for Dabangg. In the same year, Amrita Puri made her debut with Aisha and National Award-winning actress Priyamani made her Bollywood debut with Raavan.
5- In 2003, Esha Deol, daughter of Dharmendra and Hema Malini, won the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut for Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe instead of Konkona Sen Sharma who made her English film debut with Mr. and Mrs. Iyer and won the National Award for it. Gauri Karnik also made her movie debut with Sur at the same time.
6- In 2002, Tusshar Kapoor, son of Jeetendra, won the Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut for Mujhe Kucch Kehna Hai instead of R. Madhavan who made his Bollywood debut with Rehnaa hai Terre Dil Mein. Madhavan won several accolades for his acting but failed to bad the Best Debut Award.
7- In 2000, Kareena Kapoor, a descendant of Kapoor khaandaan, won the Filmfare award for Best Female Debut for Refugee even though Ameesha Patel’s debut performance in Kaho Naa… Pyaar Hai was better received.
8- Filmfare has not awarded the Best Female Debut award thrice between 1990 to 2020. And yet Twinkle Khanna, daughter of Rajesh Khanna and Dimple Kapadia, won it for Barsaat in 1996.
9- Similarly, from 1990 to 2020, Filmfare has not awarded the Male Best Debut award six times, including in 1995, after Rahul Bose made his debut with English, August. However, in 1996 Bobby Deol, son of Dharmendra, won the award for Barsaat and in 1999, Fardeen Khan, son of Feroz Khan, won it for Prem Aggan.
In the history of Filmfare Debut Awards, out of the 30 female winners, 19 were outsiders. Among the men, out of the 27 winners, only five outsiders won.
Nepotism is a never-ending debate. While it would be unfair to accuse Filmfare of bias, but given the sharp scrutiny in the digital age, award organizers, jury, and even the voting fans must note that only the deserving candidates should win. Any dubious decision only questions your credibility.