Saturday, January 12, 2008

14th Star Screen Awards: Unintentionally Funny

The first awards for Hindi Films in 2007 - 14th Star Screen Awards - have been announced, setting the stage for a jamboree of farcical film awards in the coming months. Enough has been written about how film awards in India are biased, corrupt, redundant, serve no purpose, etc. etc. But I wonder why no one – I mean those who give away these awards – even tries to change that perception and build at least a modicum of credibility. No, I’m not asking for more transparency in the process. I don’t even care if they invent new categories just to please everyone. All I’m asking for is at least a credible list of nominees and a consistency in the definition of each category. Does anyone even care?

I wouldn't go into each and every category of the 14th Star Screen Awards, but there are a few categories where the list of winners left me speechless!

The most ridiculous nomination, in my opinion, was for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female) category. Usually, each category has 4-5 nominees, but what would you say if a category has 19 nominations!! And 16 of them walk away with the award!! That's exactly what happened: 'Chak De Girls' was one of the nominees for this award and won!! So be prepared for the nominations in 2008, when 'Akbar's Army' in Jodha Akbar is sure to emerge victorious. That said, I’m still curious as to why the Chak De Girls didn't get nominated for the Best Actor (Female) category. If you count them as one, they were certainly the female leads in the film?

Then I come to the Best Actor in a Negative Role category. Does this mean that you can get the Best Actor or Best Supporting Actor award only if you play a positive role? And what is negative anyway? The winner of this award was Pankaj Kapoor for The Blue Umbrella. His was a negative character? Just because he stole a poor kid’s umbrella in the film for purely selfish reasons? Then what was Guru Kant Desai of Guru… he was not only selfish, but largely unrepentant till the end. Yet Abhishek Bachchan, who played Guru, got nominated for the Best Actor Category and Pankaj Kapoor, whose was the best lead performance of the year, had to settle for the less prestigious 'Negative' Category. If you want to have a separate category for 'negative' roles, at least have some consistency!

Ditto for the Best Actor in a Comic Role category. You get witty one-liners to mouth, and lo, you're relegated to the Comic Role category! Who in his right mind would call Irrfan Khan's role in Life in a Metro 'comic'? Is it more 'comic' than Arshad Warsi's role in Lage Raho Munnabhai, for which he got the Supporting Actor (not Actor in a Comic Role) nod last year?

Now I'm looking forward to the nominations for the mother of all awards – Filmfare, which was once considered very prestigious but over the years has become the fiefdom of a few! Will they have the guts to deny SRK an award this year? I doubt. When they couldn't do so when he didn’t deserve it, how can do it this year when he at least deserves to be nominated among the best? But wonders never cease. Who knows….?