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Nepotism Kills? No Way

Nepotism is a much-abused word lately, and the media, with its limited vocabulary, loves to flash it — be it politics, sports or films.

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Sushant Singh Rajput

Since the demise of young and promising actor, Sushant Singh Rajput, nepotism is one word that is much in currency. Does nepotism really exist in the film industry? And if it does, can it make or mar a career? Can nepotism lead a person to end his life?

Nepotism as described in dictionary is: the practice among those with power or influence of favouring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs.

Okay, so nepotism has been in existence all over the world but was so taken a given. Probably still is, even in the age of qualified management graduates. These, the qualified lot is used only as subordinates even when an enterprise grows too big, say, like a corporate business house.

In the film industry, nobody, no production house, no enterprise ever grows so big to need to outsource the management of business. The recent trend of the corporate houses entering film business on the strength of management wizards has not been very successful. It is still a one man show.

All over, it is always the next of kin who inherits a business and it is called as a family business.

So, why has the word nepotism suddenly become operative in relation to the film industry? And, do the accusations of nepotism bear so true to lead to the suicide of a young actor?

Favouring one over the other is a human nature with each with its own reason. Favouritism has been a way of life since birth, in family, with parents, with kin and at school as well as at the place of work. Nobody ends life because a mother or a father finds a favourite in another kin, and the same goes when it comes to a school teacher or the boss at work.

Not being a parents” or teacher”s or a boss” favourite has never ruined a person”s prospects, let alone lead to suicide!

The media in India, the electronic kind, decided to sit in judgement and decided that prevailing nepotism in the film industry was the cause of Sushant”s death. That he was driven to it. The channels ran a tirade on prime time TV debates. The panelists consisted of some film-related persons who had not been able to make a mark — mostly film industry rejects.

In a debate, both sides should be represented as in ones who are accused of nepotism as well as those who accuse them in keeping with the channel”s view. The funny thing about these panelists was that, each of them thought they had got into Rajput”s mind and come back. Not only that, they talked as if all of them had a first-hand experience of committing suicide!

Coming back to nepotism, the Hindi film industry has never been run by a single producer”s body, which would look after the sector”s interests. It has as many as four bodies representing the production sector. And we have just about half a dozen major production houses. As things stand now, these production houses have actors on their rosters. Like the oldtime studio system, their careers are managed by these production houses. In that case, it is obvious that these producers would promote only their in-house artistes.

Film producers are a selfish lot. They chase only successful stars who land a face value and, who, they think will assure guaranteed returns. The same producers who ran after Rajesh Khanna were soon chasing Amitabh Bachchan. That is the way it works.

The filmmakers seek the reigning stars. Yash Raj Films was launched with “Daag”, a film with the then superstar, Rajesh Khanna. Don”t know if that is why the company”s name includes the word Raj. “Daag” was a blockbuster but this was just around the time when Khanna”s career had started tapering. The choice shifted to Amitabh Bachchan, and later to Shah Rukh Khan. It was all about worshipping the rising sun.

Sajid Nadiadwala, one of the most successful makers, made films with Salman Khan and the combination worked wonders for both. A few years back, I asked Sajid how things were different, now that he was a big maker with many hits and enjoying a great rapport with Salman!

What he said, was sort of a statement on how things worked in the film industry. Sajid said, earlier I used to take a rickshaw to go to Salman”s house for dates and wait for four hours for him to meet me; now I go in my Bentley to meet and seek dates from him and wait for four hours.

Karan Johar, another big name in today”s scheme of things, swore by Shah Rukh Khan. One saw his pictures in papers like family with the Khan family kids. It looked like a big brotherhood and a lifelong bond of loyalty. After all, Shah Rukh was the reigning superstar and a deity who helped build the empire, miniscule though it may be in terms of real money outside of the film industry.

So, who was it who could have been a threat to the career of Sushant, enough for him to take that drastic step of ending his life?

Akshay Kumar is the reigning superstar of the day. Yash Raj made just one film with him at the beginning of his career, Karan Johar never made a film with him till recently and Sajid Nadiadwala, though Akshay”s schoolmate and a family friend, started working with Akshay only after working with Salman was no longer possible. Yet, Akshay has been around for 30 years now, Yash Raj or not, Karan Johar or not!

Sushant had been around for seven years with 11 films to his credit, which is not bad by any standards. He was on his way to the top. And, nepotism and favouritism notwithstanding, the makers would have come to him eventually.

Money did not seem to be a problem with Sushant considering he paid a few lakh in rent for his sea-facing apartment, equipped with all things dear to him including a professional telescope to gaze at the galaxy, his prime interest. Sushant had also recently made donations of Rs 1.25 crore each to the flood relief funds of Nagaland and Kerala. He was generous with his charity work despite his aspirations to own a house of his own. Besides, he did not seek publicity for his charity work.

There was no dearth of offers, even from reputed filmmakers, and Sushant was known to refuse many despite lucrative offers. Depression strikes to those who have been on the top say, like Manmohan Desai, Prakash Mehra and such who saw the real glory to finally sit at home alone. Rising stars can”t afford depression.

Nepotism is a much-abused word lately, and the media, with its limited vocabulary, loves to flash it — be it politics, sports or films.

(Vinod Mirani is a veteran film writer and box office analyst. The views expressed are personal)

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Male sex hormones may help treat breast cancer: Study

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

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breast cancer

Sydney : Researchers have found new evidence about the positive role of androgens, commonly thought of as male sex hormones but also found at lower levels in women, in breast cancer treatment.

In normal breast development, estrogen stimulates and androgen inhibits growth at puberty and throughout adult life.

Abnormal estrogen activity is responsible for the majority of breast cancers, but the role of androgen activity in this disease has been controversial.

The new research published in the journal Nature Medicine showed that androgens have potential for treatment of estrogen receptor positive breast cancer.

A cancer is called estrogen receptor positive if it has receptors for estrogen, according to Breastcancer.org.

Using cell-line and patient-derived models, the global team, including researchers at the University of Adelaide and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Australia, demonstrated that androgen receptor activation by natural androgen or a new androgenic drug had potent anti-tumour activity in all estrogen receptor positive breast cancers, even those resistant to current standard-of-care treatments.

In contrast, androgen receptor inhibitors had no effect.

“This work has immediate implications for women with metastatic estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, including those resistant to current forms of endocrine therapy,” said lead researcher Theresa Hickey, Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide.

“We provide compelling new experimental evidence that androgen receptor stimulating drugs can be more effective than existing (e.g. Tamoxifen) or new (e.g. Palbociclib) standard-of-care treatments and, in the case of the latter, can be combined to enhance growth inhibition,” said Wayne Tilley, Director of the Dame Roma Mitchell Cancer Research Laboratories, Adelaide Medical School, University of Adelaide.

Androgens were historically used to treat breast cancer, but knowledge of hormone receptors in breast tissue was rudimentary at the time and the treatment’s efficacy misunderstood.

Androgen therapy was discontinued due to virilising side effects and the advent of anti-estrogenic endocrine therapies.

While endocrine therapy is standard-of-care for estrogen receptor positive breast cancer, resistance to these drugs is the major cause of breast cancer mortality.

“The new insights from this study should clarify the widespread confusion over the role of the androgen receptor in estrogen receptor driven breast cancer,” said Elgene Lim, a breast oncologist and Head of the Connie Johnson Breast Cancer Research Lab at the Garvan Institute.

“Given the efficacy of this treatment strategy at multiple stages of disease in our study, we hope to translate these findings into clinical trials as a new class of endocrine therapy for breast cancer.”

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Azim Premji and Dr Devi Shetty chosen for PCB awards

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

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Azim Premji Wipro

Bengaluru, Jan 19: The chairman of Wipro Limited Azim Premji and the founder chairman of Narayana Health Dr Devi Prasad Shetty are among those who have been selected for the annual awards given by the Press Club of Bangalore.

Premji has been chosen for ‘Press Club Person of the Year’, while Dr Shetty and actor-Director Sudeep Sanjeev have been selected for the ‘Press Club Special Award.’

Besides them 25 senior journalists have been selected for the ‘Press Club Annual Awards’, a release said.

Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa will facilitate the awardees at a function scheduled for the third week of February, it said.

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Elizabeth Olsen: Nepotism creates fear that you don’t deserve the work you get

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

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Elizabeth Olsen

Los Angeles, Jan 19 : Hollywood star Elizabeth Olsen says she once thought of changing her surname and distance herself from the success of her family because it was insanity growing up in the spotlight.

“It was insanity. There were times when my sisters would always be spotted and I would be in the car with them and it would really freak me out. It has helped me navigate how I want to approach my career,” said the actress, whose older sisters are Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen.

The actress added that she “always had this need to prove myself to everyone around me that I work really hard”, adding: “I couldn’t walk in a room without everyone already having an opinion.”

Elizabeth opened up om the fears of nepotism.

“The thing about nepotism is the fear that you don’t earn or deserve the work. There was even a part of me when I was a little girl that thought if I’m gonna be an actress I’m going to go by Elizabeth Chase, which is my middle name. And then, once I started working, I was like, ‘I love my family, I like my name, I love my sisters. Why would I be so ashamed of that?’ It’s fine now,” she said.

The actress said fame has made her more of a homebody.

“Fame has also made me someone who is more of a homebody than maybe I would like to be but I know where not to go. If I could do whatever I wanted for the day, I’d start with the gym, then I’d go to the grocery store, because it’s my favourite thing,” Elizabeth told The Sun.

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