FILM AWARDS GENERATE CONTROVERSY
FILM AWARDS GENERATE CONTROVERSY

By Suhel Johar

Magic Lantern

click for larger view
It's silly season again in Bollywood---the time of the year when the film industry pats itself on the back with a series of awards-Screen, Filmfare, Zee and several others. The air is thick with intrigue. There are stories upon stories of juries being influenced, magazines being bought in the thousands to skew the votes, editors plugging their favorites and., of course, the eternal one about the awards being sold.

click for larger view
Everybody knows that the awards are primarily a business. Stars get paid to perform at these shows-as much as Rs 20-30 lakh for one performance. The publications make money by selling the telecast rights; the sponsors get airtime and a high profile. It's a live entertainment show that is only incidentally about promoting excellence in cinema. But since this is all Bollywood has to offer, we make the best of it.

click for larger view
Incidentally, it is around awards time that the traditional rivalry between the Screen Cine Awards and the Filmfare awards reaches a zenith. It is also at this time that stars are hot property, especially for performances, and the show with the most stars is the more "happening" one.

click for larger view
The Asian Paints Screen Awards will usher in the awards season this year. The nominations have been already been announced and have already generated a bit of a controversy. In fact, for many in the industry it has come as a jaw-dropper that the biggest director of the year, Karan Johar, has been snubbed with no nomination in the Best Director category. Karan is said to be extremely surprised and a tad upset by the decision although he has given no official comment. The nominees for the best director are Ashutosh Gowarikar, Anil Sharma, Madhur Bhandarkar, Farhan Akhtar and Shyam Benegal. Ironically, his film does gets a nomination in the best film category.

When you consider that Karan Johar's 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham' was the one of the biggest hits of the year (which apart from 'Lagaan' and 'Gadar' offered little for cine buffs), the rejection seems surprising, to say the least.

click for larger view
Similarly, in the Best Music category, not a single film of Nadeem-Shravan has been nominated! It seems as if the most successful music composer duo of today doesn't even deserve a nomination. This despite the fact that that their scores for Vikram Bhatt's 'Kasoor' and Suneil Darshan's 'Ek Rishta- The Bond Of Love' feature among the top selling albums of last year. But Nadeem-Shravan's absence from the list of nominees is not hard to figure out. You don't need your sixth sense to know who has exerted pressure on the Screen editor and awards panel to keep Nadeem-Shravan out. It seems that the paper is returning favors to one of its frequent advertisers.

It may be recalled that even last year there was a lot of controversy attached to the nominations, with Aditya Chopra not featuring initially in the "Best Director" category for 'Mohabbatein'. Later, at Yash Chopra's intervention, 'Mohabbatein' ended up with 11 nominations, including best director.

If this sort of situation continues, the awards are bound to lose all credibility.

EVENT PICTURES

Move cursor over picture to see description