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Nepotism exists in Bollywood because Indians love lineage: Kay Kay Menon

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Speaking at Democracy Wall, the actor says he faced hurdles because of nepotism but now accepted it as ‘a fact of life’. 

New Delhi: Nepotism exists in Bollywood, but also in the rest of the country because it is deeply engrained in the Indian psyche which loves lineage, actor Kay Kay Menon said Friday.

Menon admitted to having faced hurdles because of nepotism but said he had now accepted it as ‘a fact of life’.

“You as an audience go and make that film a hit, so we (the audience) are to blame,” said the actor.

Menon was in conversation with Manasi Phadke, associate editor at ThePrint, at the eighth edition of Democracy Wall.

Democracy Wall is a monthly free speech campus initiative organised by ThePrint in collaboration with Facebook. The event was held at Symbiosis Centre for Media & Communication, Pune. Politician Raghav Chadha, rapper Feyago, comedian Abhineet Mishra and researcher Richa Sekhani were the other speakers at the event.

On freedom of speech

Asked about whether certain outspoken celebrities suffered professionally because of their opinions, Menon emphasised the importance of being “smart”.

“Be rebellious, don’t be nonsensically rebellious,” he said.

Menon said he believed in free speech but within defined boundaries without which freedom would cease to exist altogether. “The concept of freedom needs to be adjusted in the head. Freedom is different from free for all,” he said.

On censorship

Menon, whose films Paanch (2003) and Black Friday (2007) had come under the scanner of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), and later the Bombay high court, said there are no easy answers when it came to censorship.

“I think we are mistaken anyway. It’s not called censor board any which way. It’s a certification body. Obviously we are giving them some other degree,” said Menon.

Talking about the doomed release of ’93 blasts-set Black Friday, which was stayed by the high court over a sub-judice case, Menon said he had spoken out at the time because he was ‘hurt and sentimental’ but respected the ruling.

Impact of Netflix, digital platforms

Menon said most of his work was content driven and would have performed better online on the new digital platforms such as Netflix.

“That’s because people don’t go to theatres. They would go for a mainstream star. Not for Kay Kay Menon… Movies like Vodka Dairies (2018) have now become very popular but no one went to see them then,” he added.

Menon, who will be soon be making his debut in the Marathi film industry, said Bollywood could learn a lot from regional cinema.

“Unfortunately, sometimes our industry believes content is poison. But I do defy those norms and do as many content films as possible. Regional cinema is very rooted, has still got its ethos correct. Most of regional cinema is rich content though not very commercial,” he added.

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