Distributing the benefits

Distributing the benefits

Of course, there are some equally (if not more) deserving films like Dev D, Kaminey, Love Aaj Kal and Rocket Singh — Salesman of the Year in the fray. But it appears preordained that Paa and 3 Idiots would be sharing the spoils between them this year.

After all, what is an awards function if it does not throw up big names, guaranteed to capture television eyeballs? What chance does Abhay Deol (Dev D) or even Ranbir Kapoor (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani, Wake Up Sid and Rocket Singh) stand before the Bachchan brand? Everybody knows Aamir does not attend awards functions. But there’s another biggie, Salman Khan who has produced a major hit, Wanted in 2009. Bigger than him, is Shahrukh Khan, who also had one release, Billu. Saif Ali Khan had two — Love Aaj Kal and Kurbaan. Akshay Kumar had many — from Chandni Chowk To China and Tasveer to Kambakht Ishq, Blue and De Dana Dan.

Now, each of them is aware of where he stands in the overall scheme of things. They all know that box office performance and cinematic values are of no consequence for any nomination for an award. They also understand that more than the stars needing an award, the organisers need their presence for the function. And this is where things can get a bit tricky.

For instance, what will Shahrukh expect for compering a show? Cash? Or a special award? Will Karan Johar or Saif join him on stage? How to rope in Akshay? What about the ladies? Priyanka Chopra  might agree to do an item number, but she would expect the best actress award in return. So would Katrina Kaif, Kareena Kapoor  and Deepika Padukone. How many new categories of awards can you create to oblige them?
The anxiety of organisers to keep everybody happy has already led to a proliferation of awards of dubious worth — Best Entertainer of the Year, Best Jodi (imagine, Amitabh and Abhishek for Paa), Best Face, Jury’s Choice and so on. In Aamir’s absence, Bachchan becomes the best actor by default and by way of consolation, the director (or producer) of 3 Idiots (or some other film) gets awarded. Lest others feel left out, several permutations and combinations are worked out in advance so that the benefits are evenly spread across the board — and merit be damned!

Little wonder, Bollywood awards hold zero credibility today. Not a single awards function is above board. But they provide good entertainment nonetheless. Who gets what award in which category, has ceased to matter. Given this drift, you could soon have an award for the Most Overexposed Actor of the Year and it would be as much valued as the Most Underdressed Actress of the Year. Many such new categories can be instituted. For starters, we give below some deserving claimants to eight categories we have created for 2009: 

Most Overrated Film of the Year: ‘Kurbaan’
Karan Johar tried to cash in on the chemistry between lovebirds Saif Ali Khan and Kapoor in this whodunit set against the backdrop of global terrorism. Despite the hype and a power-packed performance by the entire cast, director Rensil D’Silva failed to deliver.   

Most Overlooked Actor: Paresh Rawal
This incredibly talented veteran actor had as many as eight films in 2009  —  from Firaaq and Road to Sangam to De Dana Dan and Paa. But where have they all taken him?

Arrested Development Award: Fardeen Khan
This Khan got his chances with Jai Veeru, Acid Factory, Life Partner and All the Best last year. But his acting skills remain where they were when he made his debut in Prem Agan in 1998.  

Best Failed Franchise: Priyadarshan
This hit machine has suddenly hit a rough patch as both Billu and De Dana Dan failed to recreate the magic of Hera Pheri. But there are still many in Mumbai (as indeed in Kerala) who swear by his brand of mindless comedy.

Curse of the Living Corpse: Himesh Reshammiya
This brave man, who cannot emote to save his life, faced the camera once again, but with a new haircut and minus his nasal twang, in Radio. The film fizzled out in a hiss, but he maintains that it was a bumper hit.   
 
Dhakka Start Award: Abhishek Bachchan
It’s been 10 years since he debuted with Refugee. And after 45 films, his career continues to move in fits and starts. Delhi 6 and Paa have not taken him anywhere. He is counting on Mani Ratnam again to give him ‘the push’ — with Raavan.  

Break That Arm Again: Naseeruddin Shah
What was he doing as Naga in Red Alert — or, for that matter, as Negi in Bolo Ram? India’s most versatile actor has an incredible appetite for off-beat roles, but now he is getting increasingly miscast — and sidelined.   

Most Unnecessary Contribution to the Indian Way of Life: Blue
A disastrous, dim-witted underwater thriller set in the Bahamas. Starring Akshay Kumar, Sanjay Dutt, Lara Dutta and Zayed Khan, the film was scripted by American writers with music by a UK-based composer. Even Kylie Minogue’s guest appearance could not save the film from sinking.  

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