Felicitating yourself because no one else will do it seems like a rather narcissistic tendency to me. Despite the fact that a lot of Indian movies are ruthlessly lambasted by critics well worth their salt, the industry does find a way to get back at them – by rewarding itself and feeling mighty proud about it. The idea per se is not flawed; every major cinema industry in the world does it. However, when the Indian film industry does this, it crosses the line of sensibility because most of the films that they churn out from their gargantuan crap-maker week after week do not deserve a certification of quality. Yes, I might sound a little harsh here but very few deserving films are rewarded. According to me, these macabre ceremonies bear a stark resemblance to the Most Beautiful In The World contest that was held in Murmansk, Russia (true story) with the only nominees being Marilyn Manson, Marty Feldman and Jocelyn Wildenstein after her surgery.
Like everything good or bad, theses ceremonies too had an inception. Yes, what I am saying is that some person actually sat down after having too much to drink and in that state (advanced state of inebriation) thought, We really need to reward ourselves more handsomely; the crores we earn through revenue is just not enough. And so it happened – beginning with the Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards in 1937. Why anyone would do that while the entire nation was fighting for independence still remains unfathomable to me.
Soon enough, the virus spread. The Indian film industry decided that one award function was nowhere close to enough, considering the plenitudes of “talented” people who remained left out. The National Film Awards cropped up, presenting an inkling of hope. With the likes of Shyamchi Aai, Pather Panchali and Kabuliwala winning the ‘Best Feature Film’ category, it lauded films deserving the appreciation. In the same year, almost as a cruel dichotomy, a Frankenstein’s monster came into existence – The Filmfare Awards. The film that is loved the most by people and grossed the highest was given the ‘Best Film Award’. The remaining winners are chosen by a throw of darts. Quality is as important as a rat’s ass.
Despite being an exercise in futility, the presentation ceremonies have something to boast about. Self-parodying never made much sense to me, but that is how the dice rolls here, and for the good. The emcees will bring out the worst that occurred in Indian cinema that year and make a massive, embarrassing snowball out of it before tossing it into the crowd. Though juvenile, the jokes are funnier than most of what we see in Indian films. The courage one requires crack jokes of the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan or even Himesh Reshammiya, is something that ought to be appreciated. And considering that they are all forgiven, these ceremonies are like The Hangover of Indian cinema – whatever happens tonight will be forgotten the next morning. So if you want to stab Rakhi Sawant, do it then.
Besides all the horsing around that is on public display, another spectacle that one undoubtedly gets to see are lots of hip-gyrating, body-bouncing, neck-twisting dances. For every celebration Indians have, dancing is a must, which works even better when you don’t know how to dance. Don’t get me wrong. I love dancing; I ardently believe that every once in a while the simian in us should be let loose in front of millions of onlookers. And when the simian is in the form of Katrina Kaif forcing her body to move to that hairless Chameli song, who even cares if she can dance or not?
There are things every award ceremony in India have – absolute bare necessities. Every actress, regardless of how hideous she looks, will wear the best dress she can find to out-beautify the others. Ask Rekha. She still hasn’t given up those dreams. Salman will still try to impress Katrina as she performs, by clapping the Dabangg-est in the hoard and hoping she takes notice. Shah Rukh will turn up with a bottle of oil he calls Gauri Khan and crack some self-deprecatory jokes to showcase his modesty.
Regardless of ones’ opinions, these festivals, just like Celine Dion’s heart, will go on. Aamir will give them a skip for the right reasons. Emraan Hashmi will give them a miss too, just because the critics aren’t very fond of semi-pornstars. Public fodder will be rewarded, talent will be given the cold shoulder, black ladies will be handed out and we’ll continue being racist, though it is a commodity most Indians cannot afford. Like Volkswagens.