If regular people like you and me want to find what dudes-we-don’t-really-give-much-of-a-crap-about are doing with their lives, we add them on Facebook and spend 10 minutes stalking their profiles, if only to silently judge them for statuses like, “Om sai ram…. Ate rajma today… om sai ram… fart.”
When Bollywood wants to find out what people-they-usually-don’t-give-much-of-a-crap about are doing with their lives, they ask some poor sponsor to spend millions on an award show. Why millions? Because the idea of an awards show for our Hindi film industry will only sound convincing to a part of the world that’s all, “Bollywood? Is that like, a super bendy-tree or something?”
And that’s how we get the TOIFAs, the IIFAs, the Wifis, the Alfa Alfas, the FIFAs and the Banyan Awards. Some of these are around purely for the purposes of exaggeration, but I am sure that even as we speak the wheels are turning in some event company executive’s head, and a mail is being drafted to Dixcy Scott. The IIFA awards, also known as the Annual Bollywood Circle-Jerk (ABCJ) – not related to ABCL… okay maybe just a little bit – are the worst of the lot. In fact, it’s surprising that there wasn’t a bikini-clad Amisha Patel dancing herself into relevance at the arrivals lounge of Macau airport as our luminaries arrived in their carefully-selected-to-look-like-they-were-casually-thrown-together airport outfits, while Pritam sang, “There’s Orgy On My Mind”.
In other more culturally advanced parts of the word, movie awards actually mean something. They are given as an acknowledgement of an actor’s exceptional performance (usually as a retard or as a prostitute), but at least it will never come to pass that they watch Bol Bachchan and think, “Bravo, Abhishek. You deserve an award for that! Here take, Best Comedy Actor. You are welcome yaar. Dost kisliye hotey hain?”
In India, organisers are more worried about who is dancing to what song and if it was played at enough Ganpati pandals, so that next year they can introduce a category called “Best Dance Performance from Last Year’s Show on an Item Song.” Celebs are more concerned with how many twitpics they can generate, showing them rubbing noses with the same people whose voodoo dolls they spend the rest of year sticking pins into. There’s also the whole, “Look at how we live in high-class, oh yeah!” undertone, inasmuch as Madhuri Dixit tweeted about being in, I kid you not, a hovercraft with Shahrukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Abhishek Bachchan. I mean, if I need extra armrest space on a flight, I have to do cartwheels, rescue a panda and answer a riddle posed by a sphinx for every 0.2 millimetres. Ms Dixit, on the other hand, casually throws in “hovercraft” (and not in a “Let’s talk about the Hindenburg” kind of a way), and gets away with it.
If Bollywood spent this kind of time, money, effort into making half-decent movies or sending a hitman after Rohit Shetty, perhaps we’d have cinema that could justify the 2635 award shows. Until then, all they are and all they will ever be are hastily-thrown together tamasha that celebrate the superficiality of an industry hankering for depth. Now if you excuse me, I have to go collect my award for “The Most Annoying Bollywood Opinion Haver after KRK” at the CHUP-BEY awards.