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The film farce awards

So many film awards and yet India doesn?t have an equivalent to Oscars.

india Updated: Mar 04, 2006 18:45 IST
Vinayak Chakravorty/ HT City
Vinayak Chakravorty/ HT City

Rani Mukerji must be doing it in her sleep by now: Clutching that best actress trophy on a glitzy stage and thanking everyone from her mom, dad, friends, director, producer, make-up guy, spot boy, pet dog and cat, to that sparrow on her window sill that hasn’t given her bird flu.

Rani’s remarkable act in Black has won her all the popular awards this season so far- at least four have already been conducted, and at least another four are coming up over the next few months. Which means, given the boring predictability of the outcome every time, Rani will repeat more or less the same speech (language and syntax changed, of course) at least four more times this year.

It’s a circus
Rani Mukerji isn’t the issue here - she deserves every accolade and more for her Black show. The question is: Do we really need this bombing of award ceremonies on TV?

At last count, there were eight popular annual awards — IIFA Awards, Zee Cine Awards, Screen Awards, Samsung Viewer’s Choice Awards, Apsara Awards, Bollywood Awards (held in the US) and Filmfare Awards. At the rate they are growing, we’ll have an award night every month soon.

“It’s a media circus, virtually,” says a leading actor on grounds of anonymity, one of several leading names from various fields in Bollywood who boycott such popular awards. “Most of these awards are backed by media houses, reportedly with vested interests. You hear accounts of actors ‘buying’ trophies. With so many awards being given away every year, all of them lose their relevance anyway.”

Rani Mukherji and Rekha at the IIFA awards last year.

Wanted: Indian Oscars

Obviously, what the industry needs is that one respectable award ceremony — something in the line of the Oscars in Hollywood. The Film Producers’ Guild of India started the Apsara Awards with that intention (voting here is done by industry folks, just like at the Oscars), but the Apsaras have failed to make a dent so far. They simply get lost amid the cluster of awards. The fact that our National Awards, despite being the biggest honour in cinema still, have been reduced to boring,


affair doesn’t help much either.

Recipe for tamasha
Says filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar, who has won National Awards for Chandni Bar and Page 3: “The National Awards are too traditional as a ceremony, and- despite giving recognition to Bollywood stuff in recent years- that’s the reason they lose out to these filmi awards when it comes to popularity.”

On the dam-burst of popular awards, Madhur adds: “With TV dominating everything, every channel wants a piece of the action. So, more the awards you have the merrier. I don’t think the public remembers who’s winning what. They are just pleased to watch the stars, all the live performances on stage. It’s multistarrer entertainment on TV.”

Ego boosters
Entertainment is fine, but does winning these awards boost a film or a star’s prospects? “Unlike what an Oscar victory can do to a Hollywood star or film, none of these awards actually help further careers in Bollywood,” feels trade analyst Komal Nahta.

So why do most stars still turn up at these dos, decked in their designer best? “Whoever doesn’t like an ego boost, more so in unpredictable showbiz?” quips Nahta.

First Published: Mar 05, 2006 13:00 IST