Kunal Kemmu, Vidyut Jammwal rake debate on level playing field in Bollywood… Is it just an illusion?

July 1, 2020 0 By admin

“A BIG announcement for sure!! 7 films scheduled for release but only 5 are deemed worthy of representation. 2 films, receive no invitation or intimation. It’s a long road ahead. THE CYCLE CONTINUES,” — this one tweet by actor Vidyut Jammwal has now gone viral.

It all started when an OTT platform announced it’s slate of upcoming releases, with actor Kunal Kemmu’s Lootcase and Jammwal’s Khuda Hafiz among five others. Kemmu, too hinted at the two films not getting any attention among the other star-studded affairs.

These tweets have again put the focus on the state of affairs in the Hindi film industry, amid the ragingnepotism debate: Are things fair for everyone here? Do actors get a level playing field, that is, an equal chance to work and be visible? Or is it just reserved for a few?

No, admit celebrities. Actor Vikrant Massey, who tweeted in support of Kunal by writing, “Fair & Lovely se FAIR toh hata diya… Par yeh system kab FAIR hoga???”, tells us there is a ‘heirarchical system’ at play.

“If all this is true, that they were not even sent an invitation, speaks of this system that exists, and it won’t be a surprise for us to see the transition from films, to the same thing happening even in OTT platforms. Voh class system yahaan bhi aayega, it should not, will not be a surprise. We are living in a capitalist society. But at the same time, talent and merit will be recognised,” says the 33-year-old.

Aahana Kumra, who co-stars in Khuda Hafiz, admits she felt the pinch of how things have turned out. “I think everybody can co-exist on OTTs and a film platform. It’s important that nobody tries to pull anybody down, and everybody tries to uplift each other, only then we can move forward as an industry. It is important that we do it honestly,” she says.

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Several other celebrities called out this example of how there isn’t a level playing field between ‘stars’ and ‘actors’. Genelia Deshmukh and Randeep Hooda both tweeted in support of Vidyut.

“Every film is made with a lot of love, a lot of sweat & a lot people giving it their all. Its only fair to want a little respect, its only fair to expect an invitation, its only fair to have at least been intimated. But then, sometimes even life is not fair. keep walking my friend,” wrote D’Zouza, while Hooda, his short tweet said, “More power to you brother Vidyut .. will watch your film the day it releases”.

Actor Amit Sadh feels that the film industry needs to come together and make ‘fair trade and fair play’, and every artist must get his/ her due, with a support system.

“Then delete ‘main hero/ lead hoon’, and how we project two people. It hurts. People give decades of their life to their career. Kunal has been working for long. I messaged him ‘bro, you are doing great, keep marching on’. I feel we need to support each other. Ek ko chhota karke doosra bada nahi hota, sabko saath lo” he elaborates. 

On the other hand, actor Sophie Choudry, who retweeted both Jammwal and Kemmu’s tweets believes this is a business and every platform has a right to look out for their interests.

“But I think it’s fair for artists to want an equal platform. Everyone works as hard as each other. Yes, some stars are more popular but we have also seen a shift in the industry where often success is based on content and not just superstars,” the 38-year-old opines.

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Actors even say that this has been going on for a long time. Iqbal Khan, who has known Jammwal since their college days in Delhi, admits every actor has gone through this.

“There’s an old saying ‘Ugte sooraj ko salaam’. When things are going amazing, then everybody is there. Vidyut is still in a better space, he is someone who has a price per territory. No one can do action better than him. After the Sushant Singh Rajput episode happened (the actor died due to suicide recently), people must have actually thought things might change a little, it’s too soon, nahi aaya,” rues Khan. 

Actor Freddy Daruwala put up a tweet hinting at this bias, though he soon deleted it. However, when asked, he calls out another issue of the prevalent star culture that’s evident right down to even the posters.

“I have to stand with them and their films because tomorrow, what if my film might face the same fate? But what I’m trying to say is come on, you’ve been in the business, you know it’s a part and parcel of it. Why did we never say anything when the second lead in a film or a character artist was not put even on the poster of the film?,” questions the 36-year-old.

And Massey fears that all this is an indicator of a not too distant future, now that film actors too have started making their presence felt on OTT platforms. “Aaj aapke jitne bhi OTT ke actors the, voh sab sideline ho jaayenge. Many film actors are doing work on OTT today. This is the unfortunate reality, class system does exist. And not just Bollywood, everywhere,” he admits.

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