First Take: Our Awards Vs. Their Awards

By Monica Arora

The Indian film Awards like the Filmfare and several others are indeed very “transparent”! Please don’t get me wrong here…The actual trophy or the ‘black lady’ as it is fondly referred to is a perfectly carved statuette of a lady which is solid and opaque but it is the ceremony that is completely akin to the big, fat Indian wedding, where the intricacy of the outfits and the weight of the jewellery easily reveal the immediate family of the bride and groom, followed by friends and acquaintances in relatively lighter outfits depending upon their degree of separation from the couple getting married.

 In the same light, depending on the nominations for that particular year, the winners can easily predicted by those sitting smugly in the first row. So if films of say Akshay Kumar, Shahrukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Anil Kapoor and Aamir Khan are nominated, and one spots Anil Kapoor beaming with his khandaan in tow in the first row, then it’s a no-brainer that he will win the best actor trophy eventually and if Amitabh Bachchan makes his presence felt till the very end of the excruciating 6-hour long ceremony, then he is bound to win the Best Actor Critics’ Choice Award at the very least. 

Vis-à-vis our desi Awards, the Academy Awards or the Oscars are like a huge carnival of stars. Anyone and everyone who is associated with Hollywood shows up immaterial of who will win eventually. Forget the stars being aware of who the winners will be…at Monday night’s Oscar Ceremony, even the presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were clueless and apparently took the wrong envelope – the one for best actress winner Emma Stone – onto the stage. The biggest oops moment occurred when the gushing ‘La La Land’ team were midway between their ‘Thank you’ speeches and Price Waterhouse Coopers officials raced onstage to try and rectify the gaffe. Host for the evening Jimmy Kimmel cracked a lame joke but the gracious ‘La La Land’ Producer, Jordon Hurwitz, eventually made the way for the stupefied ‘Moonlight’team on stage as he held up the card for the Best Picture winner ‘Moonlight’. And we thought that it happens only in Bollywood…

The saving grace was that Viola Davis, won the Best Supporting Actress trophy for ‘Fences’whilst the first Muslim ever to be awarded an Oscar was Mahershala Ali, for ‘Moonlight’, and of course both were not White actors as has been the rant against the Oscars for many years. Talking of rants, many Bollywood stars such as Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgan and recently Kangana Ranaut, have boycotted the Filmfare Awards calling them “un-credible and pre-determined” for various reasons ranging from personal to other more valid instances of very major upsets. For instance, when both SRK and Aamir were nominated for Best Actor for ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jaayenge’ and ‘Rangeela’ in the same year, and SRK won, Aamir decided to never ever attend any award other than the National Award ceremony in India.

The most famous “rejection” of the Oscars was by none other than ‘Godfather’ Marlon Brando when in 1972 he announced that he would boycott the ceremony, and would send an actress of the Native American community, Littlefeather, in his place. When then James Bond actor Roger Moore presented the Oscar to Littlefeather, she read a portion of Brando’s statement that stated: “The motion picture community has been as responsible as any for degrading the Indian and making a mockery of his character, describing his as savage, hostile and evil.”
And coming to hosts and hostesses, the Oscars had Chris Rock last year when the #OscarsSoWhite movement was at its peak and he made no attempt to be politically correct at all! Besides, the propah Oscar favourite hosts have been Billy Chrystal, Whoopie Goldberg, Ellen De Generes, and even Anne Hathaway accompanied by James Franco, an insipid team if one could be. 
Meanwhile, the Filmfare Awards have seen Shahrukh and Saif Ali Khan at their wittiest best when they co-hosted the 2008 Filmfare Awards clad in blue towels and literally bludgeoned the “bluish inspired” cinematography of ‘Saawaria’, the Sanjay Leela Bhansali filmthat launched Ranbir and Sonam Kapoor. As is well-known, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, took offence and so did Ashutosh Gowariker at the 2009 edition of Filmfare with then host Sajid Khan for making fun of the Hindi film fraternity, and as recently as 2016, Neil Nitin Mukesh took offence at his name being parodied at the award ceremony. Thank God, Hollywood stars still have their sense of humour intact!

Of course, the outfits donned by the superstars are another story by themselves at both the Indian and the American ceremony. So whilst we still have the quintessential diva Rekha donning her Kanjeevaram silks, gold necklaces and jasmine blossoms in her hair, whilst pronouncing the winner of Best Actor trophy at the Filfare Awards every year, this year we had DeepikaPadukone and Priyanka Chopra rock the Oscars’ afterparty with stunning designer gowns, not to forget the Hollywood beauties sporting some of the best names in the business including a Ralph & Russo gown and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry sported by the ‘desi-girl’ Priyanka besides the usual suspects such as Cristian Dior, Oscar De La Renta, Gucci, Givenchy, Armani, Versace, Alexander Mc Queen and so on. But of course, the newsmaker was Deepika Padukone who repeated her 2012 gown at the afterparty and gave immense food for thought to Indian celebs who would rather die than be seen repeating an outfit… more power to the women!

(The author is a nitpicky editor and a movie enthusiast. The views expressed above are the author’s own)