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Friday, February 20, 2009


Hello Pals,
My tryst with Awards started the very first year I shifted my base from Kolkata to Mumbai. Soon I realized that Bollywood Award nights are far beyond giving recognition to the latent talents of Bollywood. It’s more like a business proposal for the Film Magazines, who have created this platform to make money from the sponsors, advertisements and of course the satellite rights. When we have a high handed pressure of sponsors mounting on us, we tend to fall into their trap. It’s a constant fight between the editor and journalists (who wants to give awards to the genuine and deserving) and on the other hand we have sponsors and publishers who come with their wish list. A list you would not wish to see.
Of course most of the awards have jury members has hogwash act. It becomes easy to blame on the jury when the actor calls the editor directly. Don’t we all know the actual function and power of the jury members? In fact, the publishers and channel heads give strict instruction to the editorial team that if the actor is not present physically to receive the award (for the mainstream category) then they can change the name of the winner backstage and give it to someone who is present at the function.
Even Lifetime Achievement Award is also a big farce. Let me be precise, just to explain that how it works. The Award season starts with Star Screen Award, then Stardust Awards and Film Fare Awards. Finally it’s Zee Cine Awards and IFFA which completes the season. These are the five important awards, along with Lions Award, V Shantaram Award, NDTV Indian Award so on and so forth. One veteran actor mentioned me once that, “Every year they must be doing a Google search and looking at actors who were born in 1950s and then find out that they are still alive or dead. They will call them and make them sit through the award and after giving the award they will ask them to give short speech. Tamasha dekho tali maro aur ghar jao.” Which is true. I mean they started with Shammi Kapoor and Nimmi, but every year the find it difficult to find someone senior. So they eventually end up giving Prem Chopras and Mac Mohans of the world!
In fact most of the time the actors would call the journalists or the editor to get a confirmation about the award and then they would step out. They are not at all interested in joining the award show, cheering up others and celebrating the success. Like for instance any front line actors like Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Akshay Kumar or Hrithik Roshan, they would never attend any award show unless they are winning the award or they are paid to attend the award. (Clarification: The actors are paid huge amount to perform and later they agree to grace the occasion with their presence.) For instance, this year Rani Mukherji was shooting somewhere in Chembur, but still she didn’t attend Star Screen Awards because she was not nominated in any category. But these stars take out time (they would talk to their secretary, director, producer) if they are confirmed that they would win an award.
So finally it boils down to the fact that are they winning the award or not? Like every year Filmfare Awards (without failure) give some award to Shah Rukh Khan. Amitabh Bachchan and Yash Chopra. If they can’t find any suitable category, then they would create a new award and give him a trophy. It seems that SRK clearly states the award organizers that he needs to win some award if he is attending the show. Same goes for Hrithik Roshan. Since his Koi Mil Gaya days, he has decided that he would either perform on stage (get few crores for his seven minutes act) or would attend if he or his family member is winning the award. In fact the year Hrithik didn’t have any release or nomination, some organizer planned to give Rakesh Roshan Lifetime Achievement award and then backed out last minute because Hrithik was not available and they wanted him to give away the award to his papa!
There are instances like this which I can rattle off in one go. There are actors who would call the editor and senior journalist to do some ‘miracle’ and get them the best critic’s choice award. There are producers who would even offer money to plug their film on the stage and also give their film some silly award.
This year Akshay Kumar made a fool of himself by dumping the Best Popular Actor Award at Screen Awards, which he won for his loud performance in Singh Is King. He thought that people will think highly about him if he dedicated the award to Aamir Khan for Ghajini. But now a tabloid published that he actually gave it to Aamir because he didn’t want the Popular Award, but he was eyeing for the Best Actor Award, which went to Hrithik Roshan.
This year even Priyanka Chopra would pull all her strings to win award for Fashion (deserving again). But she needs to lobby hard because Aishwarya Rai is a very strong contender. I am sure Arjun Rampal must have been as shocked as we are, when they announced his name as Best Supporting Actor for Rock On, while Anupam Kher and Jimmy Shergill were nominated for Wednesday.
Zee Cine Awards and IIFA sounds little weird for me because they basically focus on the entertainment value on stage. They would fly down most of the actors, and the front line actors would win awards. I even know small time actors who would ask for passes for the awards and would like to sit with the stars and get their photograph clicked. For award shows which happened abroad, the wannabe actors make the maximum use of their opportunity. They would get their PR act at its best and meet the top notch producers and directors.
Most of the time the awards become very predictable. Like don’t we all know that this year Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai will sweep away the awards for their outstanding performance in Jodha Akbar (truly deserving). Actors plan their lines, speeches and even their red carpet costume. They talk to their PR agencies and ask them to think of ‘smart plug’ which would help them in positioning better in the market.
Not just that, there are some actors who just bluntly refuse to give away the awards to technicians. “Aare yaaar, don’t call me for those silly categories.” That’s what they would say to the backstage event management people. And for your kind information, those ‘silly’ categories are the one which actually makes these dimwits pretty and presentable on screen!
So, the award nights are nothing but a kind of Business Fair, where everyone makes fortune. The actors dance on stage, few collect award, few host the show and the organizers make loads of money and go back home smiling. The channels make most of it, because they get badly behaved host like Sajid Khan to raise the TRP bar, while some get SRK and Saif Ali to spoof the entire film industry, while some are happy giving away the awards to newcomers (at least they would attend the function without throwing any tantrums). This is a money game, one must realize the fact that no one should take it seriously. While I was having this argument on commercial Bollywood awards, a senior actor suggested that barring National Award and Padma Award rest are all rigged!
To that, I remember how every year National Award is targeted for being biased. We have seen the films which won awards. In fact I was reading Business Standard, which stated that recently when playback singer Kumar Shanu met External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, he couldn’t find an appropriate song from his repertoire to sing for him, so he sang a Tagore song from Ray’s Charulata. Shanu however was not entertaining Pranab babu for fun. It seems that Government of India has started the process of selecting the Padma award nominees from Bollywood, so celebrities from Mumbai are making beeline to showcase their talent. Even Bappi Lahiri, Udit Narayan are also trying their luck. Not just that, Shanu had to even please Mr Minister’s secretary and sing Ek Ladki Ko Dekha from 1942 Love Story, before meeting Mr Minister.
The trend however is not new. Mithun Chakraborty tried his luck few years back when he visited South block to meet senior government officials, in fact the security of the government office in South almost collapsed as most of the employees, helpers, and clerks were scrambling for his autograph. Days are not far when we will see huge hoardings like Manikchand Padmasri Award and Paan Parag National Award all over the city. I am fine with everything, till the ‘saas bahu’ channel doesn’t ask our President or Prime Minister to a throw a fit on stage and create some controversy for TRP! I think even TRP king Sajid Khan will also agree with me on this…


  1. check CB next issue okies... u can write more about awards then :D

  2. Hey shubarna... thanks for your feed back on both the articles. I will check the latest issue and revert back. Ciao.


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