R Balki, who famously directed Akshay Kumar’s Padman, has stirred a hornet’s nest by sensationally claiming that there were no better talents in Bollywood than Ranbir Kapoor and his girlfriend Alia Bhatt. His comments amidst heated debate over nepotism in Bollywood particularly in the aftermath of Sushant Singh Rajput’s tragic death will compound embarrassment for Alia, who’s had to lose more than a million followers after angry fans launched a drive to unfollow her on Instagram for being a beneficiary of nepotism in Bollywood.
In an interview to a newspaper, Balki said that the debate over nepotism in Bollywood was ‘foolish.’ “The question is do they (star kids) have an unfair or bigger advantage? Yes, there are pros and cons. But I’d ask one simple question: Find me a better actor than Alia (Bhatt) or Ranbir (Kapoor), and we’ll argue. It’s unfair on these few people who’re probably some of the finest actors,” Balki told Hindustan Times.
Balki’s comments evoked angry reactions from fans on Twitter where both Alia and Ranbir trended for the most part of Friday. Also reacting to the Padman director’s ill-fated comments was Bulbbul actor Avinash Tiwary, who tweeted, “Dear #RBalki Sir, you would not know of the better Actors if they are not given an opportunity and you don’t step out to watch them.”
Screenwriter and editor Apurva Asrani tweeted, “Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkummar Rao, Vicky Kaushal, Ayushmann, Kangana Ranaut, Priyanka Chopra, Taapsee Pannu, Vidya Balan, Richa Chaddha. Many others too if we look beyond A list film families, and take a few chances. I love Ranbir & Alia, but please, they aren’t the only good actors.”
He added, “What about @vineetkumar_s? I think you should watch him to know his caliber.. An actor par excellence… @vineetkumar_s don’t worry…coming Time will be yours.. Hard work always pays rich dividend.”
Fans did not react kindly to Balki’s comments:
Shame on you Mr #balki you forgot Ayushman, Rajkumar, Nawaz, Radhika, Vicky Kaushal, Neena Gupta, Gajraj Rao and Irrfan and Sushant amongst the gone…. Can’t look beyond filmi families. Inke alwa bi honge par aap log dete kaha ho filme unhe, aane kaha dete ho unhe limelight me😔
— आत्मनिर्भर Middle Class (@JayaTheRana) July 17, 2020
Ranbir Kapoor is a good actor but Alia is average . Nothing extraordinary . There are better actors like Rajkumar Rao , Ayushman Khurana and ofcourse late Sushant . There are many more small actors who’re legends but never got their dueThis Balki is a puppet of the bolly biggies
— trinamukherjee (@trinam2015) July 17, 2020
Mr. Balki @diR_Balki there are & were many more..ur wife casted her in one of her movies..Sridevi. U want names? Tabu, Bhumi Pednekar, Irrfaan Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Nana Patekar, R Madhavan, Paresh Rawal, Boman Irani & last but definitely not the least Sushant Singh Rajput. https://t.co/iwXnNhqqb9
— Debaleena Shah (@debaleena_shah) July 17, 2020
Comments made by Balki will also cause more discomfort to Alia, who’s had to face her fans’ ire as Sushant’s death triggered a full-blown debate over ‘outsiders’ vs ‘insiders. Many Sushant fans felt that the Kedarnath actor was forced to end his life in frustration of his inability to cope with rejection from Bollywood’s established coterie.
Angry fans had begun unfollowing Alia Bhatt, Karan Johar and other star children on Instagram. Alia’s number of followers plummeted by more than a million on Instagram. Karan Johar has reportedly plunged in to depression with one report claiming that the filmmaker was often seen crying. Karan has not posted anything on social media since 14 June, the day Sushant ended his life.
Sushant’s body was found inside his house on 14 June. The 34-year-old actor from Bihar had made his Bollywood debut with Kai Po Che before acting in successful films such as MS Dhoni: The Untold Story, PK, Raabta and Kedarnath among others.