Finally, sanity is being restored, or at least an effort is being made to do so, in the 54th Filmfare Awards. I was so glad to see movies like Rock On, OLLO and MMJ winning, and movies like RNBDJ and Dostana taking a backseat. Although the nominations were a little fuzzy[some categories had 5 nominations and some had 6, just to please a few people I guess], but given the limited scope of the nominations, most of the awards were well deserved.
Let me start with the Lifetime Achievment Award section. Bhanu Athaiya was a very good choice, especially because costume designers have never really been given their due. In fact, the Best Costume Design category was introduced so late, in 1994, only after seeing what Manish Malhotra’s costume did to Urmila Matondkar; from a demure girl next door he turned her into a sex symbol overnight. Back to Bhanu, she won the Oscar for Gandhi and that’s been her greatest achievement till date. But considering her work in Bollywood, she did a good job in Lagaan, Swades,1942ALS, Chandni and Razia Sultan. Her list of work shows her predilection and brilliance for period dramas where she has a fantastic sense of color, fabric and designing.
Om Puri being awarded this, ahead of Naseeruddin Shah, that was a bit of a disappointment. I think they should have been awarded together at least. These two giants of the arthouse cinema in the 1980’s did some terrific work. They have not been given enough credit, but this award is probably a way of doing so.
Coming to the Critics Award, Shahana Goswami was deserving of it. Her work in Rock On was awesome, her raw talent and the spontaneous expressions shone through very well. But at the same time, Manjot Singh for OLLO was not a very good choice in my opinion. In fact, Paresh Rawal and Abhay Deol deserved it more than Manjot. And outside ofOLLO, Paresh Rawal for MMJ or Naseer for A Wednesday would have been a much better choice. Nishikant Kamat forMMJ was again a good pick, but I don’t understand this Special Jury Mention for Prateik Babbar and Purab Kohli. What does this award mean? And why Prateik Babbar?? For slouching on the couch, being untidy, and having the foresight that Sushant Modi[Ayaz Khan] is not the right guy for his sis?? And Purab Kohli! He had nothing to lose in Rock On, he was just caught in-between Arjun Rampal and Farhan Akhtar’s ego clash. When they called the band off, he happily joined his dad’s business; when the band was reinstated he started driving around in the SUV once more. He was happy either ways and did not help further the cause of the story.
Talking about stories, Best Story for Rock On was a little surprising. Lots of films in 2008 had amazing stories to tell, like Aamir, A Wednesday, MMJ. I kept cosoling myself that Dostana and Ghajini did not win it. Best Screenplay was awarded to MMJ and Best Dialogues to OLLO and I had no complains with it.
In the techincal awards section, two awards that I didn’t agree at all are Best Costume Design and Best Art Direction. I thought OLLO was shot on location, so where was the Production Design. And the costumes looked like everyday stuff, jogging suits, sneakers, waist-coats, casual wear. In fact, Jodha-Akbar deserved both these awards, for the elaborate sets and the intricate jewellery and costumes. I would like it if someone can explain this to me.
I was happy with all other awards, like Best Cinematography and Sound Design for Rock On, Best Editing went toMMJ, it could have gone to A Wednesday or Aamir too[except for the dragged last 20 mins]; and I cared less for Best Choregraphy, Best Action and Best Visual Effects where the winners were Pappu Can’t Dance Saala, Ghajini andLovestory 2050, respectively.
I was totally ok with the debut award for male, being shared by both Farhan Akhtar and Imran Khan; similarly the female debut award should have been shared by Asin and Anushka Sharma, instead Asin took it home.
Arjun Rampal for Best Supporting Actor was good, but Kangana Ranaut for Best Supporting Actress was unexpected and undeserved. Shahana Goswami for Rock On or Ratna Pathak for JTYJN would have been a much better choice. The problem with Kangana’s performance is that, she is unidimensional and has no range. Give her such a role, and 9 out of 10 times, she will just sleep-walk through it like in Life…In A Metro or Gangster or Woh Lamhe.
Music awards were doled out pretty judiciously. Sukhwinder Singh for Haule Haule and Shreya Ghosal for Teri Orewere really good choices. For the award of Best Music Director, I am sure it must have been a close fight betweenShankar-Ehsaan-Loy who produced some great score for Rock On and ARR who was also competing against himself with 3 nominations. But, ARR winning for JTYJN did not go down well, I shall consider this as an award for all the good work Rahman did in 2008, i.e., Jodha-Akbar and Ghajini included. And ARR for Best Background score of Jodha Akbar was good news. Regarding the RD Burman award, not sure how this is rewarded, but I think Amit Trivedishould have been awarded. Finally, the lyrics award for Javed Akhtar was also fine for his simple and meaningful words in Jashn-e-bahara.
Talking now about the mainstream awards, no complains about the Best Director and Best Movie. Ashutosh Gowariker did a great deal of research and a lot of hardwork went into Jodha Akbar. There was nobody more deserving than him, in the category. I would like to contest the Best Actor and Best Actress, though. Taking for granted that its more of a popular vote, Hrithik and Priyanka still did not deserve it; they may have won but they were not the best. In fact, newbie Anushka Sharma and Aishwarya Rai did a better job in RNBDJ and Jodha Akbar, repectively. Even if it was popular vote, then Aamir Khan and Aishwarya Rai should have won.
All said and done, I think the awards were balanced out pretty well. I would any day accept these results than watchRNBDJ/Ghajini/Dostana take away awards and accolades. I would like to see some transparency in the entire process, though. The system should change, at least introduce a jury for popular award and give 50-50 weightage to public votes as well as jury members votes. That way, there will be more clarity in the process.
At the end of the day, good cinema won. At least the awards will help further the cause of independent cinema and meaningful work, and be appreciative and motivational for film-makers who want to tell us new and different stories. And I hope this trend will stay, not just prove to be an abberation. Perhaps, haule-haule se hawa lagti hai …
This post was first published on PFC