|HOME | MOVIES | GUEST COLUMN|
Swing vote, win award
Isn't the whole point of awards the recognition of excellence? And isn't it assumed that a trophy ought to be deserved?
Doesn't look like it going by the way film awards are given out these days, like chocolates to greedy children. More and more categories are added so that every camp is kept happy.
Even at the Oscars, there is hectic lobbying because a win -- or even a nomination -- can alter the fate of the film or the people involved in it. Over there, it really is a neck-and-neck race, and a little bit of push can swing a vote. But it is very rare that a totally undeserving film or person gets the coveted statuette.
In Bombay, the moment the list of releases (for voting) is announced, the powerful camps start leaning on the organisers of the awards to see to it that their film gets something. And awards become a way of returning favours given throughout the year in the form of exclusive stories and photoshoots, appearances at events or performances at shows.
Though how it matters one can't say, since popular awards make no difference to the box office collections of a film in India. And in actual terms, a trophy means nothing more than a showpiece on the sideboard.
To begin with, the system of selecting winners isn't foolproof. A popular vote can easily be manipulated by sending in fake entries and a jury is often made up of people who can be influenced -- usually people who have no knowledge of cinema or any interest in it
Sadly, a great performance is likely to be overlooked if the film was not a big hit, or if it was not produced by a powerful lobby.
Last year, for instance, one of the best performances was by Anil Kapoor in Pukar. But he didn't even come close to winning, since the film was not a huge hit.
If at all Hrithik Roshan deserved an award, it was for Fiza, not for Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai. The latter was a regular star turn with hardly any scope for performance.
Anyway, he is a good actor, and there can be no quibble about the trophy going (all three so far -- Screen, Filmfare and Zee) to him, even if it was for the wrong film.
Madhuri Dixit's performance in Pukar was also ignored because of the fate of the film. Of course the talented Karisma Kapoor did well in Fiza and Tabu worked hard in Astitva, but Madhuri brought many more shades to her character.
Funnily enough, Tabu got one popular award and one critic's award for Astitva, and so did Karisma for Fiza. Similarly, Sanjay Dutt won one popular award and one critic's award for Mission Kashmir, making one wonder whether critics are supposed to commend a performance in an offbeat film which would have been missed in a popular selection, or pat a star on the back because he/she missed the big one!
How come Amitabh Bachchan wins a best supporting award in Mohabbatein and Shah Rukh a critic's award for the same film? Is the critic's award meant to be a consolation prize?
There could be differences of opinion over what constitutes excellence, but can Sunil Shetty's over-the-top performance in Dhadkan and Sonali Bendre's irritatingly cute one in Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai be considered award-worthy by applying any criteria? (Sonali on the same platform as Jaya Bachchan? Shocking!)
And when there is a truly outstanding performance like Paresh Rawal's in Hera Pheri, who can question all awards going to him? In fact, if he were in the West, he would have got a best actor award and not a best comedian sop, since he was the 'hero' of the film.
Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai was a well made film and the year's only real hit, but not too high on the quality stake -- best of a bad lot, one could say. But does any awards organiser have the guts to say that the top award is not being given because no film comes up to scratch?
Will anyone stick their necks out and opt for merit over might? No way, because awards functions are now big-money entertainment shows, and the success of the programme is measured by how many top stars danced on stage and how many attended.
The entertainment value of awards nites now has event companies putting up Bollywood extravaganzas in the US, UK and, this year, also in South Africa. The more the merrier -- everyone gets money, junkets, media exposure and ego massages.
The next newsworthy awards are the National Awards, and there are rumours of Mumbai stars lobbying frantically for this gold-plated or silver medal that somehow confers on them a stamp of 'respectability' that a popular award cannot guarantee.
Till some mainstream Bombay stars started getting the National Award, nobody bothered about the it, since it was given to some vague films nobody had heard of and actors (as opposes to stars) whose work nobody had seen. Now it is one more status symbol worth fighting for.
Except for Aamir Khan, who professes not to give a damn for awards and hence doesn't win any, every other star pulls strings to win a trophy.
Which brings us back to the original question, what's the value of a metal figurine if the winner knows deep down that he/she didn't deserve it. And if a statuette can be acquired just like that, then it has much worth as a paperweight or doorstopper as someone (Naseeruddin Shah?) once said.
E-mail Deepa Gahlot
Tell us what you think of this feature
ASTROLOGY | NEWSLINKS | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEDDING | ROMANCE | WEATHER | WOMEN | E-CARDS |
HOMEPAGES | FREE MESSENGER | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK