Are award functions credible? Debate arises as #BoycottFilmfare trends in Twitter

Hyderabad: The recently concluded Filmfare awards 2020, held in Assam was a starry affair full of glitz and glamour. Among others, Ranveer Singh- Alia Bhatt starrer, ‘Gully Boy’ walked away with as many as 13 Filmfare awards which include the Best film, director, actor and actress.

However, many netizens were disappointed with the results and have slammed Filmfare for neglecting other promising talent. Within no time, #BoycottFilmfare was trending on Twitter. Although `Gully Boy’ was appreciated by the general audience and the critics alike, ignoring films like ‘Super 30’, ‘Kesari’ ’URI’ in various other categories has generated the backlash.

It is also to be noted that ‘Gully Boy’ is currently streaming on Amazon Prime which is the title sponsor for the event that further spurred the speculations of influencing the voting.

Recently, ‘Gully Boy’ was also criticized for selecting it as India’s official entry for Oscars ahead of films like ‘Tumbbad’ and ‘Kumbalangi Nights’ which many thought deserved.

Twitterati were particularly unhappy that Ananya Panday got the Best Debut Actress and Alia Bhatt as Best actress in a leading role. At a time, when nepotism and talent is widely discussed on public platforms, these awards have irked many for being biased.

Similarly, many opined that ‘Teri Mitti’ from ‘Kesari’ deserved to win the Best Lyrics award as opposed to ‘Apna Time Aayega’ from Gully Boy.

This has not gone well with the lyric writer, Manoj Muntashir, who wrote the lyrics of Teri Mitti’. He took to twitter and put up an emotional tweet. “It would be a great disrespect to my art if I still continue caring for you. So here I bid you a final good bye. I officially announce- I won’t attend any awards show till I breathe my last,” he said

Many have echoed his sentiments. Singer Neha Bhasin supported Manoj and thanked him for speaking up against the Filmfare.

Not for the first time

This is not for the first time, such incidents have happened. Noted actors like Aamir Khan, Ajay Devgn, Kangna Ranaut have criticized the nature of these awards and stayed away from them.

With each year, the disparities during various award ceremonies are scaling to an all time low. We look at some of the reasons why general audience and people from the film fraternity are so apathetic against award shows these days.

Money ruling the roost and lack of credibility

Let’s face it! ‘You give money and get the award’ has been the norm for many years now and it has been acknowledged even by the Bollywood biggies. Recently, an old video of Shah Rukh Khan re-surfaced where the actor was admitting to buy certain awards for the fame and the greed to possess them. Similarly, an old video of Salman Khan is doing the rounds where the actor was calling out award shows like Filmfare, where he said that he will not go to pick “such stupid” awards.

Recently, Shahid Kapoor walked out of an award show and refused to perform for being denied the Best Actor award. Director Rohit Shetty revealed that he doesn’t attend the award shows if they don’t pay him. Ajay Devgn has openly mentioned that the award ceremonies as ‘Dhandha’ (Business). There are numerous instances where an actor was given an award for merely attending the event. Now, if this is the scenario, where is the credibility?

Multiple winners for one award

We have so many awards for one category like the Jury’s choice, Popular choice, Critics choice and many more. New categories of awards which were never heard earlier are added to accommodate more stars. There were situations where four or five actors have got different versions of one award! This isn’t just a Bollywood phenomenon. Even in Telugu film industry, if you look at TSR awards, you know what I am talking about!

To generate TRP ratings

Ever since the recorded and edited version of the award ceremony is being telecasted, the essence of the awards has become completely lost. The organizers sell the TV rights for huge money and to justify that they need to rope in all the leading stars. It has merely become a spectacle of song and dance show and the ones who perform are also assured of an award. With some wry humour and fake reactions inserted into the telecast, the awards have lost their sheen. The events have only turned out to be huge commercial exercises grabbing eyeballs and to generate TRP ratings.

Need for Revamp

In a country where cinema is celebrated and actors are treated like demigods, is there at least one coveted award function which is respected and has credibility? Well, this has been a question which is ringing in everyone’s mind.

Surely it needs a revamp at all levels. Right from the nominations to the announcement of winners, it needs a methodical approach. At present, there is little clarity on the voting process and most times it is not transparent. Public voting system has to be organised in a better way which makes it easy for the audience.

The jury should ensure that the sponsors have no role in deciding the winners. The TV channels shouldn’t have any influence in the voting process. Finally, the actors and the entire film fraternity need to take the onus on themselves and take collective responsibility. Make it more authentic in a way that people will start respecting it.

It is necessary to be more transparent and ensure that only the deserving get the award irrespective of their background. Do not inform the winners beforehand and let the whole event be a celebration of acknowledging real talent.

In an ever-increasing consumerist world, and particularly in the business of showbiz, I know these aspects are easier said than done. But, is it too much to ask of an industry which boasts of being corporate, professional and have billions of loyal fans across the globe to put up one respectable award show? For now, the film fraternity, fans, media are still searching for some answers.

Kiran KS

A journalist who believes in taking the road less travelled enjoys writing on Cinema, Politics, Culture and Education. After having a brief stint as a journalist in a Newspaper and also as a researcher he is now a freelancing journalist and has written earlier for The Pioneer and VoxSpace. An alumnus of Osmania University and MIT College, Pune, he has done his Post graduation n English Literature and has a Pg diploma in Mass Communication and Politics. Other than being an avid film buff, he
is also interested in Arts and Theatre and takes part of it. Other than writing, he enjoys travelling, reading books and watching cricket.

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