It’s shocking to note how discriminatory the popular awards have become, and how quickly they are losing their validity.
For years, they with-held the Filmfare award from the mighty R D Burman, for reasons best known to the awarders. Then, as his career peaked they quickly gave him his first Filmfare award for Sanam Teri Kasam in 1982, 21 years after he struck gold, with gems like Lata ji’s Ghar aaja ghir aaye badra saawariya and Matwale aankhon wale.
He created monumental soundtracks in Teesri Manzil (1966), Baharon Ke Sapne (1977), Padosan (1968), Pyar ka Mausam (1969), Kati Patang (1971), The Train (1971), Caravan (1971), Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), Amar Prem (1972), Jawani Diwani (1972), Parichay (1973), Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Anamika (1973), Aap Ki Kasam (1974), Khel Khel Mein (1975), Mehbooba (1975), Hum Kissise Kam Nahin (1977), Ghar (1978), and these are only the ones that changed the sound of film music and forged their melodies into the innermost consciousness of posterity.
All these masterpieces went unrecognized.
On Sunday night, as I watched Nawazuddin Siddiqui clap politely for Anil Kapoor when he lost the Best Supporting Actor award at the Filmfare awards, I though of R D Burman.
How can the jury think any actor in the nominations did better than Nawazuddin in Badlapur? In fact to nominate Nawaz in the ‘supporting’ category was itself a travesty of creative justice.
Badlapur belongs as much to the antagonist played by Nawaz as the protagonist Varun Dhawan. But let’s overlook the anomaly in the categorization and focus on why Nawaz could be snubbed in this unforgivably brusque way.
You see, when you honour one Kapoor you also get the whole clan to attend the awards.
To be repeatedly snubbed for your lack of marketing acumen is a way of life in Bollywood. RD believed in letting his work speak for itself. He paid a price for it.
Nawazuddin doesn’t have a PR machinery feeding the media with tidbits about what he ate/wore/felt/experienced the night before, or the night before that. He is arrogantly aloof from all the hype and hullabaloo, while his arch-rival Irrfan Khan (yes, they can’t stand one another, and that’s no media-manufactured rivalry) has learnt the art of self-promotion quickly. His marketing team regularly sounds out information on the scarves and aviators that he wears on his glamour outings.
It was with interest that I watched Irrfan Khan storm the stage at the Filmfare awards to spar with Shah Rukh Khan on the perennial debate on ‘our films vs their films’. The debate started on a promising note when Irrfan shouted out from the audience ,in not so many words, to cut out the same crap year after year.
“Enough! Your films are films. What about our Lunchbox? Is that vada-pao?”
Irrfan was then invited on stage by Shah Rukh (trying to look rattled) where they proceeded to spar on the ‘Shah Rukh’ and ‘Irrfan’ kind of cinema. Shah Rukh did an awful take-off on Irrfan’s Piku and its scatological dialogues. Irrfan’s take-off on Shah Rukh’s Mohabbatein was equally cringe-worthy. When Irrfan wanted a proper introduction, Shah Rukh invited a Caucasian chorus girl on stage to come and dance for Irrfan.
So charming, no?
What could have been an engrossing debate on the hardcore commercial cinema of SRK and off-mainstream cinema that Irrfan specializes in, turned into a self-consciously rigged attempt to act saucy by throwing scripted insults at one another. Desperately needed: better script writers for awards nights.
It was an evening of planted insolence. Alia Bhatt sprang out of her seat to “insult” Shah Rukh Khan’s anchoring of the Filmfare awards. ‘Why the same old fashioned jokes and gags every year? Do something different. Drop your pants,’ Alia ordered.
Blessedly Shah Rukh didn’t pay heed to this weird request. (Aside: why is it cute when female celebrities make lewd suggestions, and vulgar and criminal when men do the same?)
Alia is rapidly turning into an enchantress of excesses. She is seen everywhere trying to act cute and cocky. At the Filmfare awards, her homage to the music and songs in her father Mahesh Bhatt’s cinema did not get one step right. Was this a homage or a take-off?
The real truth about awards is that the empty seats in the back rows at the Filmfare award venue testified to the rapidly diminished aura of star awards nights.
Even at home on television they are unbearable to watch.