The curse of nepotism: From Bollywood to Coke Studio

I have always been of the view that Bollywood is my best friend. Be it an advice to a friend for her estranged love life or my own lows that know no bounds, Bollywood has always had a royal solution to all. Most of my non-filmi friends (I try my level best not to make any) have the same complaint against my dramatic and filmi personality. I never clarified and instead stood guilty as charged. At least I own up.

However, Bollywood is not all about teaching us to have unrealistic expectations from our love life but also has a lot more to offer.  The way chhaiyan chhaiyan defined Urdu to be a language of the beloved, Queen taught us how beautiful life could be after being rejected and letting ourselves loose discovering the doors and horizons this absence has to bring. The idols it brought to our lives are there to stay forever. Be it SRK finding his way through a mob of ecstatic fans or Madhuri Dixit setting the world on fire with a smile worth many sunshines and moonlights.

Sadly or gladly, my diction is also Bollywood influenced. A recently heard/leant/acquired word is ‘nepotism’. Thanks to Kangana Ranaut for making this world a more understandable place for me and harder for herself by coining this term on Karan Johar’s famous show ‘Koffee with Karan’. This gave rise to a debate not just in Indian intellectual and film circles but also Pakistan’s media journalists. There are no qualms about the fact that nepotism rules the Hindi Cinema industry as much as Shah Rukh Khan or Amitabh Bachan. It is that much part of the blood. This term was soon everywhere and heated debates were the new in thing. Not only did Kanagana annoy the film tycoon but also created a stir among the bigwigs of Bollywood most of who are products of the same might: nepotism. Stones were hurled at the Queen left, right and center.

By the way, again as I mentioned above that I don’t shy away from confessing, rest of this world does. Is nepotism only a Bollywood syndrome and fails to survive elsewhere? Umm… good question eh? Should I pass on to the next one? No Milord, I won’t. I will stand my ground and still show you around; a world that is all yours but not owned by you as yet.

Let’s be in Pakistan for the moment. They say thoughts and dreams need no visa but we shall still decide to stay confined. We have also been accusing our major political parties of dynastic politics. You cannot even dream of holding a highest office in a political organisation without a certain surname. It is passed from generation to generation like an heirloom; prized and precious. When a prime minister loses his office by the virtue of whatsoever the reason, the most appropriate new candidate has to have the same surname. Well you can’t acquire one. Don’t even think about it.

By no means do I dare saying that coming from a family that has been practicing a certain profession for some time you ought to be labeled unfit on merit. Benazir Bhutto proved this point by taking over Pakistan People’s Party and giving it new heights. But do expectations count?

My sincere apologies to the readers who hold no obvious interest in space travel and politics. Express my heartfelt sorry for starting from Bollywood and going to the pillars of power in politics. Alright, we shall stay where we were meant to be.

Coke Studio? I come from a generation that never had much exposure to the country folk, Sufi and classical music. Thanks to Coke Studio for being that candle in the wind and not letting our ears become an alien to the music from our own soil. However even that has taken a toll. One such example is season 10 where merit was looked down upon and nepotism was given a stride. From being someone’s brother to coke official’s friends, from being someone’s daughter to being just a pretty face, this season has made me question the young talent that exists in Pakistan, unheard; undiscovered.

You were a platform that was meant to promote the local music scene, not just your local kith and kin. Not only a disappointment, it is a shame. On one hand we say that legends like Abida Parveen and Noor Jehan are not born anymore. On the other hand we forget to acknowledge that many mothers still gave birth to children with greater fire. But thanks to the Pakistani bigwigs like Coke Studio for extinguishing their fire by only promoting the young lot that had a chance to play with them in school grounds. Thank you for blatantly murdering the raw talent ruining here and there in the streets of this country while you hold your feathers and ratings high.

As they say, in the centre all things are one. Nepotism does not believe in visas and borders; continues to flourish everywhere possible. It is ferociously fertile this way. Enough said, no?

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