Be It Aryan Khan Or Ananya Panday: We Love To Hate Star Kids

Actor Ananya Panday ,NCB on Ananya Panday, Ananya Pandey drug case Ananya Panday NCB, NCB summons Ananya Panday, NCB raids Ananya Panday home

Actor Ananya Panday’s old statement, when she participated in a newcomer’s roundtable came back to haunt her, when the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) summoned her for interrogation in a drug case. The NCB had conducted a raid at Panday’s Mumbai Apartment on October 21, following which she was asked to appear for questioning at the agency’s Mumbai headquarters and then again the next day. As soon as the news of the raid at Panday’s apartment began doing rounds, the anti-star kid brigade on Twitter began trolling the 22-year-old.

Back in 2020, during a roundtable discussion, Panday had addressed the issue of nepotism and being born into a film family, saying, “I have always wanted to be an actor. Just because my dad’s an actor, I will never say no to an opportunity to act. My dad has never been in a Dharma film. He never went on Koffee With Karan. So it’s not as easy as people say. Everyone has their own journey and their own struggle.”

Panday was heavily trolled for her statement, while her co-panellist Sidhant Chaturvedi gained an underdog status, when he responded to her statement by saying, “Everyone has their own struggle. The only difference is jahan humare sapne poore hote hain, wahan inka struggle shuru hota hai.” Many people have been sharing memes and clips of this exchange in light of NCB raid at Panday’s apartment.

Panday’s house was raided after NCB allegedly found WhatsApp chats on the phone of Aryan Khan, in which the two star children discussed the procurement of weed. Khan has been in police custody since October 3, after NCB apprehended him in connection with a cruise ship drugs case. Khan was in the company of one Arbaaz Merchant, who was caught with six grams of charas hidden in one of his shoes. While no drugs were found on Khan himself, he has been denied bail by the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Act) Court in Mumbai, observing that he indulged in “illicit drug activities on a regular basis”.

Actors support Aryan Khan

Actors support Aryan Khan

Khan’s arrest too had been celebrated by trolls on social media. Aryan or Ananya, Alia Bhatt or Varun Dhawan, why do we love to hate star kids so much? And what do we aim to achieve from this abhorrence? There was a time when film launch of star children generated excitement. As late as the first decade of this millennium, the country watched in excitement, when a Kapoor or Roshan or Bachchan kid made their film debut. Will they be able to replicate their parents’ talent, many would wonder?

However, with social media, we got more and better access to the lives of these star kids, and many didn’t like what they saw. Gradually the sentiment that star kids have it easy and don’t know how to spell struggle began gaining momentum. It was furthered by clips of Alia Bhatt failing to get the name of India’s President right, and then even more by death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput- who was touted to be a rare outsider making it big without Bollywood connections.

Rajput’s death might have made trolling of star kids worse, but it isn’t as if it was non-existent prior to the tragedy. There are two reasons why it has emerged as a favourite pass time in India. First, cinema-goers have internalised the very underdog narrative that Bollywood has been feeding us for decades. In our heads, we are all talented, underprivileged and righteous individuals, taking a stand against the rich and mighty star kids who have film debuts and perks of life handed down to them on a silver platter.

Secondly, social media usage comes with zero to little accountability for users. No one cares about how such vicious trolling can affect an individual and why it is wrong to digitally abuse someone, no matter what their background. What trolls do forget is that while star kids have easy beginnings, only those who are bankable and loved by the masses manage to have solid film careers. The rest fade into oblivion or gradually move down the ladder to supportive roles. If you are not sellable, then your connections are of no use to you. I don’t need to drop names here for you to know how true this is.

And here’s another truth bomb- we need another pass time. The rich and famous will move on with their lives, they will figure out how to survive, or they will step away from the limelight. What about us? What does this rage earn us? Have we even managed to change how Bollywood functions? How have we personally benefitted from trolling Khan or Panday or Bhatt? Because if we haven’t (and we certainly have not) then haven’t we be wasting our precious time and energy?

Views expressed are the author’s own.

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