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Shomini Sen
Tuesday , January 15, 2013 at 15 : 26

Indian award shows: It's a drag, literally


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The other day, while watching a repeat telecast of last year's Stardust Awards, I couldn't help but wonder how poorly executed our awards shows are. When I switched on the television Shahid Kapoor was gyrating to a medley of songs on stage. I'll be honest, I was surfing and I stopped only to watch Shahid dance like a dream.

Soon the hunk was joined by Nargis Fakhri on the stage to dance on 'Munni'. Needless to say, Ms Fakhri completely butchered the song with her dead pan expressions while Shahid desperately tried to save the act with his amazing dancing skills.

After an elaborate 'nach gana' on no particular theme, Shahid suddenly called actress Rekha on stage to give away an award and then 'surprised' her by awarding her the Lifetime Achievement Award. In between, Rekha and Shahid pretended to have an impromptu conversation about why she was needed on stage, and Rekha faked surprise when her name was announced.

The actress gasped and fluttered eyelashes in disbelief when they asked her to sing a few songs but happily went on to sing three songs- one as a thank you, one for her fans and one for Vidya Balan- just like that.

The entire act, even though it was supposed to be an impromptu thing, was so staged that it would make a five year old's magic tricks seem more interesting.

That was two days back. On January 14, while watching the Annual Golden Globe Awards, I couldn't help but draw comparisons between the awards shows that take place in Hollywood and the one's that take place here, back home.

If you are like me who makes it her business to watch all award shows every year, you probably know the drill. Predictability creeps in almost awards shows, whether it's in Hollywood or Bollywood and yet, somehow, the grace and elegance with which the west conduct their annual event seems missing in their Indian counterparts.

In the garb of entertaining audience, award shows in India most often adapt to buffoonery and cheap antics every year. Some do provide a few laughs, I have to admit, but most make you cringe and wonder why intelligent people (I am assuming our actors as intelligent) resort to something so juvenile.

You remember the whole Silk Smitha-Nylon Shanti act that Shah Rukh Khan and Ranbir Kapoor had put up in last year's Filmfare awards? Or during the screen awards, SRK calling himself 'cheap, besharam, vulgar' and romancing various leading heroines to different songs or the Kanta Ben jokes that SRK and Saif kept hammering down our throat a few years back during yet another of those awards nights?

Every single year, the same routine is followed. So much so, that after watching one awards night, one can safely say that all look and will be the same. Same set of jokes, same slapstick comedy, same shots exuding fake dramatic moments, same Karan Johar, same Rekha in a golden Kanjeevaram...you get the drift?

The shows in west are much shorter, lack the frills and depend purely on situational humor. Yes, they are scripted but lack the gimmick Indian award shows resort to. Unpredictability makes it work every single time for shows like the Oscars or Golden Globes. At least you will not expect a Tom Cruise to dress up like a woman or pass some insensitive gay jokes every year the way SRK does it back home. Yes, every single year!

This year's Golden Globe was hosted by two of the funniest women in the industry - Tina Fey and Amy Pohelher who had the audience in splits. Can you think of any actress taking on the entire show so smoothly on the Indian terrain that you don't need an aging superstar or an upcoming star to resort to cheap jokes? I can't. Sure there will be a performance by a Kareena or a Bipasha on the awards night, but they will never co-host a show together.

Admitted, that the society is different. You cannot expect a Jodie Foster-esque speech from a celebrity in India and song and dance sequences make our Industry what it is.

But it can surely come of age as far as content of the show is concerned. The Hindi film industry has been aping the west for years now. In fact the concept of having a glittering award ceremony to honour the best in the industry was borrowed from the west, so was the concept of having a red carpet. Then why not just ditch the drama, and have a simple yet elegant awards night to laud and appreciate cinema and people who are responsible for it?


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More about Shomini Sen

Shomini has written on lifestyle and entertainment for most part of her career. Having watched innumerable masala potboilers of the 1990s during her growing up years and worshipping Shah Rukh Khan like god, writing for cinema came as an easy option to her. One of those who gets to watch movies for a living, she hates even missing out on trailers. Yes, she is a Bollywood fan girl.
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