Except for the Best Actor Award, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani missed out on all the major awards at the 22nd Annual Star Screen Awards. Instead it won the award for — don't laugh — Best Visual Effects. That’s like honouring The Martian for best choreography.
This seems like a direct snub to Bhansali’s historic epic which has been heavily criticised in some quarters for tampering with historical facts. A section of the Marathi community, including actor Nana Patekar, opposed what they see as Bhansali taking cinematic liberties in depicting the life and battles of Bajirao.
But not even the harshest critics of Bajirao Mastani have denied the film’s creative and aesthetic merits. To deny these seems somewhat unbecoming. While I have no quibble with Kabir Khan’s victory in both the Best Film and Best Direction categories, I feel it is resolutely unbecoming for any popular awards to ignore the excellence and popularity of Bajirao Mastani.
So supreme is the snub to Bajirao Mastani that the award for Best Music has been withheld. No film has been given the award for best music! The songs in Bajirao Mastani redefined the raga-based Hindustani classic space that was for all practical purposes, lost to Indian cinema. To not acknowledge the importance of the music in Bajirao Mastani in reclaiming the roots of our musical heritage is clearly a sign of colour blindness.
Luckily Ranveer Singh’s performance as Bajirao was acknowledged by the Screen awards. He tied with Amitabh Bachchan (Piku) for Best Actor.
It seems to be the year of bravura performances. While I am happy with Priyanka Chopra’s subtle and tender performance as the wronged wife in Bajirao Mastani getting awarded, to give her the Best Supporting Actress award is akin to Vyjanthimala being given the Filmfare award for Best Supporting Actress for Bimal Roy’s Devdas. An honour that Vyjanthimala had refused.
Incidentally, Screen’s Best Supporting Actor award went to Deepak Dobriyal for Tanu Weds Manu Returns — just to let you know what Priyanka is up against.
Screen’s Jury Awards have acknowledged Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar and Irrfan Khan’s performance in the film. But there were other non-mainstream films during 2015 like Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan and Kanu Behl’s Titli which made as strong an impact as Talvar,if not stronger.
In any case how does this segregation of performances between ‘popular’ and ‘jury’ awards work? Irrfan in Talvar was liked by the Screen jury. But Irrfan in Piku was not that much liked? But The Big B and Deepika were.
From Deepika's dress to Ranveer's dance performance, take a look at the best moments from the Star Screen Awards