My family has launched more new talent than entire Bollywood: Pooja Bhatt on nepotism

Actor Pooja Bhatt on Wednesday said her home banner Vishesh Films, under father Mahesh and uncle Mukesh Bhatt, has done far more than the combined efforts of Bollywood in launching new talent across the board in the film industry.

The actor’s comments came as a response to the nepotism debate that has intensified after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput.

Her family has been at the receiving end of the divided social media discourse, with both her filmmaker father and her half-sister, actor Alia Bhatt being criticised for riding on the privileges of an insider.

Taking to Twitter, Pooja Bhatt said it was funny how family production house, which launched one of the famous outsiders Kangana Ranaut in Anurag Basu’s 2006 “Gangster”, is now being dragged into the debate.

“Have been asked to comment on the hot topic Nepotism that people are raging about. As someone who hails from a ‘family’ that has launched more new talent – actors, musicians and technicians than the entire film industry combined, I can only laugh. Facts don’t find takers. Fiction does,” the actor-filmmaker wrote.

Pooja Bhatt, 48, said her family always tries to scout new talent so much so that the banner was “accused” of harbouring bias against established names.

“There was a time when the Bhatts were accused of having something against established actors and made to feel inferior for only working with/launching newcomers and not chasing stars.

“And now the same people play the nepotism card? Google and tweet guys and won’t even say think and speak,” she said.

Citing the example of Ranaut, who in 2017 famously called filmmaker Karan Johar ‘the flagbearer of nepotism’ on his chat show, Pooja Bhatt said Basu may have “discovered” the National Award winner “but Vishesh Films backed his vision” and invested in the film”.

Basu has previously directed “Saaya” (2003) and “Murder” (2004) for the banner.

Pooja Bhatt, who will next be seen in the Mahesh Bhatt-directed “Sadak 2”, said the upcoming film gave a new music composer, Suniljeet, a chance to board the project after her father heard his tunes.

“Even #Sadak2 gives birth to a brand new talent in the form of @Suniljeet72. A music teacher from Chandigarh who came to our office with no prior appointment, a dream, a harmonium & a brilliant song called ‘Ishq Kamaal’ that was absorbed into the film on first hearing by my father,” she further argued.

“Sadak 2”, a sequel to her 1991 film directed by Mahesh Bhatt, also features returning cast member Sanjay Dutt, and new entrants Alia Bhatt and Aditya Roy Kapur.

Pooja Bhatt said nepotism can’t be used to malign her family.

“The people who have found their way into the movies through the springboard we provided over the decades know what we stand for. And if they have forgotten, it’s their tragedy. Not ours,” she added.

The actor has also featured in her father’s films including “Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahi”, “Daddy”, “Zakhm” and “Tamanna”.

Pooja Bhatt has directed 2007 film “Dhokha” for her home banner.

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