Opinion: Bollywood award shows are just high-end kitty parties

I still remember getting all dressed in my party frock, tie my hair with matching satin ribbons and seating myself in front of the television on Filmfare night. Even as a little girl, I was taken in by movies, music, actors, and the celebration of them all – the award shows.  

But as I grew up, the dubious side of these ceremonial celebrations started to dawn upon me. With actors like Akshay Kumar and Varun Dhawan admitting that awards are less of an admiration of their flair and more of a part-payment for shaking a leg on the flamboyant stages, the gravity of it all has evaporated. The Filmfare awards held last weekend destroyed the credibility of these vacuous accolades, some more.

Though a lot of noise has been created on social media after the award for Best Lyrics went to Apna Time Aayega despite having the tear-jerking Bekhayali and soul-stirring Teri Mitti on the nomination list, I was particularly shocked to see Ananya Pandey grab the black lady for Student of the Year 2. Not that she is totally bereft of talent, in fact, she looks adorable as well. But, when we have Ankita Lokhande making a power-packed start in the industry with Manikarnika, does the Pati, Patni aur Woh actress justify being awarded the most promising new comer of the year?

Its not that Bollywood awards are being handed out to unconvincing nominees only now. Filmfare left me flabbergasted by presenting the award for Best Actress to Kajol for playing Anjali Raichand in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. That she is a fabulous actress who took her craft to new heights with every performance is universally established. But, did the flat, uninspiring, and loquacious Anjali stand a comparison to the depths and dimensions of Mumtaz Ansari of Chandani Bar? Add the precision with which Tabu executed the role to it, and then reflect on the choice.

The following year, Filmfare awarded Akhsay Kumar as the Best Actor in a Negative Role for Ajnabee, snubbing Urmila Matondkar and her brilliant prowess showcased in Pyar Tune Kya Kiya as a hopeless girl suffering from unrequited love and ending up in an asylum. Her psychotic outbursts send chills down the spine of an average audience. A singing-dancing-scheming villain essayed by Akshay had little to offer to counter the emotional extremes perfected by Urmila. The actress returned empty-handed from the Filmfare awards 2002.

I won’t name the Filmfare as the only award show guilty of goofed up judgments.

Remember how IIFA 2017 hired three privileged male members as hosts to roast a female colleague who had struggled to secure a ground for herself? Surprisingly not many feminists in Bollywood called out this depravity, though, the actors tendered their respective apologies later.

IIFA, the way I look at it, has turned itself into a total joke over the years. It became a laughing stock last year by naming Deepika Padukone the best actress of the 20 years for Chennai Express. Apparently, they concur that no better movie has released in Bollywood after Kaho Naa Pyar Hai in 2000. The list of movies that surpass the Hrithik Roshan starrer is so exhaustive, I won’t even begin to enlist them. These entertainers were crafted on the time-tested mould of masala-movies and banked huge collections. But what was their value-add to the industry?

The aim of awards by movie magazines doesn’t seem to be honoring talent anymore; its a means of establishing rapport with a chosen and closed circle of celebrities who will provide them bytes and interviews which will keep the sales figures up. To satisfy them all, they come up with these weird categories. I mean, what even is the purpose of “Nothing to Hide Award" rolled out by Star Screen Awards? How does how much of his personal life a star shares on social media determine his artistic excellence?    

But, as a disenchanted yet ardent Bollywood fan, I would keep gobbling these award shows for a few more years. Look at the bright side: at least the glamour quotient is soaring, and red carpet appearances keep getting better every year.