And The Award Goes To: Bollywood’s best director, actress, actor and tech wizzes in 2016

We have already given you my pick of the best 10 Bollywood films released in 2016. Here now is a list of nominees and winners in categories recognised at most film awards functions worldwide. I am giving you a minimum of three and a maximum of seven noms per slot.

Sometimes the impact of a film is governed by the performance of the entire team of actresses and actors, though it may not necessarily be what is conventionally considered an ensemble cast film, so I am including a Best Cast category here.

Look forward to debates, disagreements and civil discussions.

BEST FILM

I have already covered this in my Best Bollywood Films of 2016 article, but just to refresh your memory, here goes…

Nominees:

Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

Neerja

Nil Battey Sannata

Phobia

Raman Raghav 2.0

And the award goes to…

Kapoor & Sons (Since 1921)

For reminding us that sensitivity, subtlety and sobriety can be supremely entertaining. For having the courage to stand up and be counted in a homophobic society. This is a beautifully acted and shot film, with writing that provides rare insights into family life, and directed with the assurance of a veteran by young Shakun Batra.

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Alia Bhatt and Sidharth Malhotra in Kapoor & Sons. Youtube screen grab.

BEST DIRECTOR

Nominees:

Anurag Kashyap (Raman Raghav 2.0)

Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari (Nil Battey Sannata)

Pavan Kirpalani (Phobia)

Ram Madhvani (Neerja)

Shakun Batra (Kapoor & Sons)

And the award goes to…

Shakun Batra (Kapoor & Sons)

For assuring us that his first film, the lovely though unfortunately low-profile Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, was not a shot in the dark. For defying formulae yet managing to entertain. For being unapologetic about his social conscience. For extracting superlative performances from a superb cast. And for providing us with some of the most heart-wrenching and hilarious moments ever seen on the Hindi screen, all within the span of one film.

 

BEST WRITING

Nominees:

Ayesha Devitre Dhillon and Shakun Batra (Kapoor & Sons)

Pavan Kirpalani, Arun Sukumar and Pooja Ladha Surti (Phobia)

Ruchika Oberoi (Island City)

Saiwyn Quadras and Sanyuktha Chawla (Neerja)

Vasan Bala and Anurag Kashyap (Raman Raghav 2.0)

And the award goes to…

Vasan Bala and Anurag Kashyap (Raman Raghav 2.0)

For a breathtaking study of twisted human psyches. And for a profoundly insightful take on responses to violence that are governed by social bias and not by revulsion for bloodshed.

 

BEST ACTRESS

Nominees:

Alia Bhatt (Dear Zindagi)

Hetal Gada (Dhanak)

Kirti Kulhari (Pink)

Radhika Apte (Phobia)

Sonam Kapoor (Neerja)

Swara Bhaskar (Nil Battey Sannata)

Vidya Balan (Kahaani 2)

And the award goes to…

Sonam Kapoor (Neerja)

For a measured performance as a real-life heroine, Pan Am flight purser Neerja Bhanot who was killed in 1986 while protecting those on board a hijacked flight. Sonam Kapoor has for too long been that girl who showed tremendous spark in her debut film yet has been defined in later years by her glamorous image more than challenging roles. She did not set a foot wrong in Neerja which is, without question, a turning point in her career and perhaps a message that she wants to be known now as an actress as much as a star.

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Sonam Kapoor in Neerja. Image courtesy: Youtube

BEST ACTOR

Aamir Khan (Dangal)

Manoj Bajpayee (Aligarh)

Randeep Hooda (Sarbjit)

Shah Rukh Khan (Fan)

Vicky Kaushal (Raman Raghav 2.0)

And the award goes to…

Manoj Bajpayee (Aligarh)

For disappearing into the part of Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a professor who was harassed in reality by Aligarh Muslim University for being homosexual. Manoj Bajpayee first attracted headlines as Bhiku Mhatre in Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya in 1998. In the 18 years since, he has struggled for good roles and visibility. He got both with Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh in which he had us weeping for a man robbed of his privacy and his dignity in an ultra-conservative society simply because he was gay.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Nominees:

Alia Bhatt (Udta Punjab)

Amruta Subhash (Raman Raghav 2.0)

Lisa Haydon (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)

Riya Shukla (Nil Battey Sannata)

Shabana Azmi (Neerja)

And the award goes to…

Shabana Azmi (Neerja)

A veteran genius got a role worthy of her in Ram Madhvani’s film and delivered a resounding lesson in acting. It would have been easy to overplay a mother whose brave daughter is killed in her youth, but Shabana Azmi chose the low-decibel path less trodden in commercial Hindi cinema and in the bargain broke the hearts of those watching.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Nominees:

Angad Bedi (Pink)

Pankaj Tripathi (Nil Battey Sannata)

Rishi Kapoor (Kapoor & Sons)

Shah Rukh Khan (Dear Zindagi)

Tahir Raj Bhasin (Force 2)

And the award goes to…

Pankaj Tripathi (Nil Battey Sannata)

In an interview after the release of Nil Battey Sannata, Pankaj Tripathi told me: “There is such a thing as maatra, amount. An actor should be aware of the economics of his gestures and emotions. Is this too much or too little, if I go beyond this will it be a waste? I learnt this from my guru, Baba B.V. Karanth at the National School of Drama. He said, Pankaj, you should not waste your gestures, they should be measured with care.” Playing a deadly serious yet amusingly peculiar Mathematics teacher, Tripathi made sure he got the maatra of his expressions absolutely right. Let’s just say he did the late Karanthsaab proud.

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Nawazuddin Siddiqui in Raman Raghav 2.0. Youtube screen grab.

BEST CAST

Nominees:

Aamir Khan, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim, Sanya Malhotra, Suhani Bhatnagar, Sakshi Tanwar, Aparshakti Khurana, Girish Kulkarni, Vivan Bhathena (Dangal)

Kirti Kulhari, Taapsee Pannu, Andrea Tariang, Amitabh Bachchan, Angad Bedi, Vijay Varma, Raashul Tandon, Tushar Pandey, Dhritiman Chatterjee, Piyush Mishra, Mamata Shankar, Mamta Malik (Pink)

Vinay Pathak, Amruta Subhash, Tannishtha Chatterjee, Uttara Baokar, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Ashwin Mushran, Samir Kochhar (Island City)

Sidharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan, Rishi Kapoor, Rajat Kapoor, Ratna Pathak, Alia Bhatt (Kapoor & Sons)

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Ashok Lokhande, Saksham Sudhija, Mukesh Chhabra, Vipin Sharma, Anuschka Sawhney (Raman Raghav 2.0)

And the award goes to…

Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Vicky Kaushal, Sobhita Dhulipala, Amruta Subhash, Ashok Lokhande, Saksham Sudhija, Mukesh Chhabra, Vipin Sharma, Anuschka Sawhney (Raman Raghav 2.0)

Because the only thing more intimidating than the gruesome violence in this film was the near-perfection of the performers on screen.

 

BEST MUSIC

Nominees:

Amit Trivedi (Dear Zindagi)

Pritam (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)

Shankar Ehsaan Loy (Mirzya)

Tapas Relia (Dhanak)

Vishal-Shekhar (Sultan)

And the award goes to

Pritam (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil)

Truth be told, this was not a great year for music in Hindi cinema but the nominees in this category gave us hope. Pritam’s tunes – some lively, some moodily melodic – were an intrinsic part of the narrative in Karan Johar’s Ae Dil Hai Mushkil. This is one of his most memorable soundtracks till date.

 

BEST LYRICS

Nominees:

Amitabh Bhattacharya (Dangal)

Gulzar (Mirzya)

Jaideep Sahni (Befikre)

Kausar Munir (Dear Zindagi)

Varun Grover (Jabra fan, promotional song for Fan)

And the award goes to…

Amitabh Bhattacharya (Dangal)

For words that matched the mood of the film and its characters. For extracting poetry out of earthy everyday language. For making us laugh and cry in the bargain.

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Aamir Khan in Dangal. Image courtesy: Youtube screen grab.

BEST EDITING

Nominees:

Aarti Bajaj for (Raman Raghav 2.0)

Monisha R. Baldawa (Neerja)

Namrata Rao (Kahaani 2)

Pooja Ladha Surti (Phobia)

Shivkumar V. Panicker (Kapoor & Sons)

And the award goes to…

Pooja Ladha Surti (Phobia)

Because not a single shot used in Phobia was out of place. Because the film featured not one superfluous glance or spoken word or moment of silence. Because each second of 6,720 in the film meant something.

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Nominees:

Binod Pradhan (Baaghi)

Jay Oza (Raman Raghav 2.0)

Jayakrishna Gummadi (Phobia)

Jeffery F. Bierman (Kapoor & Sons)

Laxman Utekar (Dear Zindagi)

Mitesh Mirchandani (Neerja)

Russell Carpenter (Parched)

And the award goes to…

Russell Carpenter (Parched)

Rajasthan has been a favoured destination for photographers and cinematographers but Russell Carpenter managed to find novelty even in its oft-explored beauty. From his lens emerged a spectacular parade of shadow and light, colour and darkness, but the highlight of his stunning visuals was the manner in which he captured the faces and body language of the lovely women of Parched.

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Radhika Apte in Phobia. Youtube screen grab.

BEST SOUND DESIGN

Nominees:

Shajith Koyeri (Te3n)

Vinit D’souza (Raman Raghav 2.0)

Vivek Sachidanand (Phobia)

And the award goes to…

Vivek Sachidanand (Phobia)

Because he played mind games with viewers in Phobia with a dramatic departure from the screeching, creaking ploys used by Hindi thrillers for at least a decade now. Bollywood seemed to have forgotten, until Sachidanand reminded us via this film, that the sounds of silence and murmurs of suspense induce far greater fear than screaming and squealing.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

Nominees:

Acropolis (Mirzya)

Krishnendu Chowdhury (Island City)

Rajat Poddar (Baaghi)

Satyen Chaudhry (Phobia)

Tiya Tejpal (Raman Raghav 2.0)

And the award goes to…

Krishnendu Chowdhury (Island City)

For truly getting the essence of Ruchika Oberoi’s writing and translating it into three distinctive looks for the three separate stories in the film: from the cold whites of a corporate office peopled by mechanical humans, to the warmer hues of a middle-class home unexpectedly experiencing happiness, and the dusty shades of a dismal, despairing environment in Mumbai’s poorer quarters. Chowdhury’s imagination was geared not towards getting it pretty, but getting it right.

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A still from Island City. Image courtesy: Youtube

MOST INTERESTING DEBUTANT IN A LEAD OR SUPPORTING ROLE

Nominees:

Andrea Tariang (Pink)

Hetal Gada (Dhanak)

Riya Shukla (Nil Battey Sannata)

Sobhita Dhulipala (Raman Raghav 2.0)

Suhani Bhatnagar (Dangal)

Yashaswini Dayama (Phobia, Dear Zindagi)

Zaira Wasim (Dangal)

And the award goes to…

Hetal Gada (Dhanak)

Five hundred children were auditioned in Mumbai, Jodhpur, Jaipur, Bangalore and Hyderabad before director Nagesh Kukunoor found Hetal Gada and her little sparkler of a co-star Krrish Chhabria who is not on this list only because it was a year filled with brilliant newcomers and an extremely tight race in this category. Gada was 10 when Kukunoor shot the film. She is to the camera born. Her confidence belies her age and inexperience. She also possesses a curiously adult charm without being in the least bit precocious. It will be Indian cinema’s good fortune if Gada decides that acting is how she wants to spend the rest of her working life.

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Related links

Best Hindi Films of 2016: A year of courage, risk-taking stars and defying convention

Pink, Kapoor & Sons, Dear Zindagi: 10 stand-out moments from Bollywood in 2016