Bollywood constantly fetes itself for its films. Now, there are a few jeers among the untiring cheers
Sharmila Ganesan Ram | TNN (THE TIMES OF INDIA; March 18, 2012)
In the film Rockstar, Ranbir Kapoor’s character wants to experience pain so badly that he volunteers to fall in love and deliberately has his heart broken. “He could simply have watched Bodyguard instead,” offered an aspiring standup act at a comedy club in Lower Parel not too long ago. Yesterday, the same venue hosted an awards show where Bodyguard received four nominations. Oddly though, this didn’t kill the comic’s jibe but only made it better.
The Ghanta Awards was the kind of event where most of the nominees did an Aamir Khan. Who would want to attend a function that rewards their mistakes after all? Out of all the nominees, only Sonam Kapoor who was nominated in the ‘Worst Couple’ category (along with Mausam co-star Shahid Kapoor) attended the show while Anurag Kashyap had tweeted saying he would happily collect the award if his film That Girl In Yellow Boots, which had been nominated in the Worst ‘Holier Than Thou’ category, won. This category, refers to ‘parallel’ films that are allegedly inspired by the grammar of world cinema but often end up being as rotten as their Bollywood counterparts. But despite some worthwhile nominees, the award surprisingly went to Dhobi Ghat.
SRK’s biggest gamble Ra.One emerged as the worst film. Salman Khan bagged the worst actor (Ready and Bodyguard) while the ever-pouting Nargis Fakhri was voted as the worst actress for Rockstar.
Despite its nature, though, the intention of the show was not to humiliate. The idea was simple. “There are more award shows in a year than there are reasonable films. Now if these multiple shows are going to celebrate five out of hundred films over and over again, at the very least we need one award show that celebrates the other 95% films,” says film critic Karan Anshuman, who along with friend Prashant Rajkhowa launched the indepedent show last year where Rakhi Sawant was kind enough to pause for a moment before declining the offer to be chief guest.
This horribly skewed ratio of good films versus bad ones had, in the past, led to other desi versions of Hollywood’s famed Golden Raspberry awards such as Outlook’s Follywood awards and the three-year-old Golden Kela awards (which will see B-grade director Kanti Shah of Gunda fame as the chief guest this year). “We don’t want to offend or generalise but to acknowledge that a particular piece of work was bad,” says Jatin Varma of an alternative media house whose brainchild is the Golden Kela. Among its categories this year are unique ones such as ‘Baawra Ho Gaya award’ for someone who has “lost their mind”. Here, Big B is a nominee, thanks to Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap.
Follywood, on the other hand, is not a show but a simple poll conducted by Outlook magazine every year, which offers readers a chance to punish the people who took their time and money for granted. “The makers must realise that it’s not just about three hours a day. You are robbing people of at least a month every year by making idiotic films,” says Mahesh Peri of the Outlook group, referring to the poll that has lately taken a beating due to the overload of news content. But, he assures us, it is still on.
An inevitable question that such awards bring to mind is: what makes Bollywood so prolific in garbage? While Varma points to the lack of respect for good writing, film critic Sudhish Kamath feels that it’s money that ails Bollywood “and the need to recover it, no matter what it takes—star or cleavage”. Plagiarism is another modern industry handicap. “Make original films. Stop buying the rights of mediocre Hollywood films because you can’t afford to pay for the better ones and end up making a movie that’s many times worse than the original,” says Karan Anshuman, whose show awarded Desi Boyz for ‘worst rip-off’.
Given that a sense of humour is not among the film industry’s virtues, awards such as these never go down well. “Bollywood is too self-congratulatory and incestuous as proved by the numerous award functions. It is averse to the slightest criticism,” says film critic Rajeev Masand, who was on the Ghanta jury. “Our film guys need to take a cue from Sandra Bullock who personally collected the Raspberry ‘Worst Actress’award in 2010 for All About Steve.”
That likelihood, however, seems more remote than David Dhawan making an art film. “Very few are sporting about it,” says standup comic-cum-writer Varun Grover, one of the hosts of the Ghanta awards. Among the minority are Uday Chopra who last year tweeted that he was “excited”about winning the Ghanta Award for ‘Worst Couple’ and Abhishek Bachchan who acknowledged his award for the worst accent in Raavan.
In fact, till the eve of the awards every year, Varma fields calls from irate actors and producers who want him to justify their films being nominated. Varma’s standard reply: “Voting is done online. You can vote for the competitor.”