Priyanka Chopra and Arjun Kapoor
DNA (May 5, 2017)

Priyanka Chopra - The outsider
"When you use words, you start getting judgemental and I am not a judge. I believe everyone’s journey is an individual one, so, I have just focused on mine. I have not judged either the Bollywood film industry or the Hollywood one. People behave the way they behave or act the way they act and some people get more opportunities and some get less. You just have to work harder.

No complaints from my side?
I don’t hold grudges though I have had many instances in life through my career where I have been thrown out of films for wrong reasons because someone else was being cast, because someone was recommended, someone was a girlfriend — so many things that happened but I am not someone who holds that because I say, ‘Okay, next kya?’ Everybody does what they have to do and I believe in looking forward. I don’t look back ever."

Arjun Kapoor - The insider
This conversation that has started – there is a lot of history behind it. People are looking at only the history – kitne saalo se yeh nepotism chal raha hai, but in the last couple of years there has been an evolution in that — there has been a growth in the thought process. I am not saying that nepotism does not exist. I am not throwing it back at people or undermining someone’s views. Right now what has happened is that we have been pushed against the wall and almost like – ‘jawab do yeh hai ki nahin?’ That is not the solution.

Positive change
A healthy conversation leads to solution and change. I am happy that this conversation has happened but I believe that in 90 per cent of professions hierarchy happens organically. A child is sent for education in the profession the family members are involved in. They get the qualifications and pursue that profession, taking over from their family. Their certificate or degree or diploma allows them to not be questioned because they must be capable if they have the degree and they earn their spurs by educating themselves.

Filmmaking is a business
The film industry does not have a degree that allows you to do that. You can study filmmaking or acting but such courses are not a guarantee that you are good or bad at it as they are not so educative in that sense. The structure is different. Our certificate of approval comes in a very democratic way — through the audience. The audience decides whether they want to see more or less of us. So the ones cutting through the pack are the ones the audience want to see. You get max three chances but that happens for outsiders as well. Filmmaking is a business at the end of the day. My connections or my surname has allowed me to meet people, go inside the door and have conversations. They have not cast me because of my surname. Eventually I have to prove merit and worth to them. A big banner launched me because I auditioned and maybe the awareness came because of the Kapoor surname but eventually, the audition must have been worth something. My first film working must have been worth something for people to cast me again and again. My grandfather (Surinder Kapoor) too was an outsider once upon a time who was given an opportunity by this profession. And there are various families who earned their right to be here. Eg. Rakesh Roshan started from somewhere. Today Hrithik is taking that legacy forward from him in a way the audience wants him to. He’s not forcing himself upon people.

A difficult profession
I am not saying it’s easy for people coming from other parts of our country who don’t have affiliations It’s a difficult profession! Meeting people is easier for us but getting cast in films has not become easier. Ajay Devgn is Veeru Devgan’s son, yes but he has worked his way up. You can’t dilute his hard work, calling it nepotism. Is Sham Kaushal's son Vicky here today because of nepotism or because he worked really hard to get a film like Masaan?

Finding talented people?
My point is that this conversation maybe 10 years back had more validity than it does today. I want to see a positive discussion about this — how do we make it better? How do we find more talented people? Our film industry it’s actually a very secular and democratic place. There are technicians, writers, directors, cinematographers, and all forms. There are actors also who come out of nowhere and they have made a mark and continue to make a mark but nobody is speaking about that and the film industry is portrayed as a bad place which I don’t like. It’s my profession and I am very pro it! I don’t want to disillusion people and make them lose hope. The problem is that the nepotism conversation makes a lot of youngsters feel that it’s hopeless. That’s the only sad part of all this.

Discouraging debate
Imagine how many talented people are getting dissuaded from coming because of this conversation. It’s not a healthy debate. It’s a discouraging one and that makes me sad. Nobody wants to look at the good parts and that upsets me! Why are we doing that to our profession? We are only making the place look like a bitter place where people are only fighting each other when it’s not. It’s a beautiful profession which gives you love, adulation and you make films that entertain.”