Thursday, June 25, 2009


A few months back, we had been watching the 15th Annual Star Screen Awards 2009 on Youtube. Later, we watched the 81st Academy Awards on the ABC Family channel, here, in USA. And not to mince words, the contrast between the demeanour of nominees and participants at the two awards ceremonies could be best summed up in the adjective 'stark'.

When I contemplate the Star Sceen Awards, I cringe at the way Ashutosh Gowariker publicly insulted Sajid Khan at that occasion, paving the way for the media to mire the incident in controversies that leave a bitter taste in the mouth. Ensuring one would remember that ghastly moment first of all when one recalled this year's function. Not others that had eminently more recall value, such as Akshay Kumar's abdication of his most popular actor's trophy in favour of Aamir's role in 'Ghajini' (however cynically detractors may dismiss or decipher that) or the sensation that a relatively low budget (and certainly less hyped) film like 'A Wednesday' created by director Neeraj Pandey getting to share stage space and acclaim with the best director of the best film 'Jodhaa Akbar'. Or how 'Rock On' really did rock the Bollywood community, sweeping off several successive awards (Best Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Most Promising Male Newcomer, Best Male Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Female Actor in a Supporting Role). It's a different issue that Sajid's jokes did often sound forced or insipid and even seemed to border on the inane or farcical at times, but even an audience of laymen would vouch for his disarming non-malicious good humour at any point of time. If you are part of the 'acting' industry but cannot laught at jokes directed at your actor's persona, then you're in the wrong place at the wrong time and need a reality check pronto. It was all fine when Gowariker, coming up to accept his prize for the best director, began to express his grief at how he felt Sajid and Farah were capitalising on box-office collections as a means of dismissing films like 'Love Story 2050' or 'Tashan' that saw a whole film crew's vision falling flat on its face. But those in the audience secretly lauding his representative humane side received a rude jolt when he threw a crude "shut up" at Sajid and proved to be as bad as Sajid, if not worse, using the podium to make a mockery of the sponsors' goodwill, effectually jeopardising the reputation of this annual event. The trepidation on the face of Suzanne Roshan or Hrithik or Priyanka Chopra sufficed to suggest that Gowariker would do better to limit his philanthropism to directing films.

I couldn't but help compare this bizarre turn of events to the poignant cameraderie that bonded nominees for this year's best actor and actress awards at the Oscars. It was a moving moment when yesteryear's awardees were called on to announce and accolade this year's shortlisted few. Be it Anthony Hopkins on Brad Pitt, Nicole Kidman on Angelina Jolie or Sophia Lauren on Meryl Streep, the warmth and emotional connect in the film fraternity was evident from the body language of everyone present. The actor giving away an award seemed to be as proud of his role at that point of time as the awardee him/her-self . Everyone seemed to subtly sense that the occasion was one that highlighted the entire Hollywood film industry and was more about them all than any particular winner as such. Their behaviour happened to be commensurately classy.

And now this , this , and this !

Bollywood, er, Ashutosh Gowariker I mean, is getting bizarre by the day. And I so agree with Subhash K. Jha's conclusion, although that could be applicable to himself too. On mumerous occasions, he has received verbal brickbats from newspaper readers for dismissing /dissecting/ detractive statements on actors of known stature and calibre, which have indeed called his integrity as a critic into question. But let that rest for the moment. The question is why AG needs to portray Bollywood as a squabbler's h(e)aven to the rest of the world. At the rate he's endearing himself to the film fraternity, he might soon have to contend with a premature termination of his career due to all the lead actors making themselves scarce to him !


Clezevra said...

There's proffesionalism for you!!!

little boxes said...

oh yes,it is getting weirder weirder.
very interesting perspective

Discovering M said...

just goes to show that the two awards are a class apart ! dont even try comparing :-)


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