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Globes are not really a judgement on the best artistic films: Sudhish Kamath

IBNLive.com
Jan 16, 2013 at 11:03am IST

The Hindu's film critic Sudhish Kamath joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the Golden Globe Awards.

Q. Hey... Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, amid being hailed as one of the year's best by many critics, did not even get a single award. Do you think it's because of its commercial failure? Asked by: Sai

A. Hey guys, just got online. Will start right away. The Globes are not really a judgement on the best artistic films... they are at best what the media liked. Awards for the media-savvy... since the voters are from Hollywood foreign press, their votes will obviously have a lot to do with what they liked which is probably influenced by how accessible or media savvy which producer, director or actor is!

Globes are not really a judgement on the best artistic films: Sudhish Kamath

The Hindu's film critic Sudhish Kamath joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on the Golden Globe Awards.

Q. I just loved Tina Fey and Amy Poehler...They just rocked it!! Do you agree? Asked by: heartbeat

A. Totally, the Globes belonged to Tina and Amy. They were simply the funniest hosts for any awards show in recent times simply because they made it seem effortless and easy.

Q. Why aren't Indian films getting awards like Golden Globe, Oscars etc? Is it because western audience does not understand Indian culture and its depiction in movies? Asked by: Narayan

A. These awards are primarily for Hollywood and international cinema. The day we start making films for an international audience, maybe we will reach out to them.

Q. Why are the Golden Globes notorious (especially of late) for picking films that do not go on to win the Oscar as the year's top film? Asked by: Arunachalam

A. The norms for Globes and the votes are by the press. The votes for the Oscars are by Academy (industry insiders). So they are bound to differ. The media is likely to honour people they like and the Academy made up of really senior Hollywood industry professionals are likely to honour what it thinks is great cinema.

Q. Ben Affleck won the Golden Globes for best director. He is not even in the final six of Oscars which of these awards is credible? Asked by: Arunachalam

A. None of the awards are credible if you mean to ask which awards are proofs of a film's quality. Like Woody Allen does not go to award shows simply because he does not believe it is possible to prove or explain why one film is better than the other because it's evaluation of art which is subjective compared to a race where you know who's winning. The one who finishes first.

Q. Is there a lobbying agency at work for getting the prizes to it's clients? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. There probably is. I am not familiar with the workings of the business but I can guess every award with voters can be influenced directly or indirectly through market forces.

Q. Oscar awards and Golden Globe awards are won by quality or popularity? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Popularity with the voters of course.

Q. Why aren't Indian films getting awards like Golden Globe, Oscars etc? Is it because, the western audience does not understand Indian culture and its depiction in movies? Some of the Indian movies are better than the ones that have won Oscars Asked by: Narayan

A. We can't ever say for sure which film is better than the other. It's art. But yes, most films made are trash and don't even qualify to be called cinema.

Q. 'Life of Pi' not in the race in Golden Globe awards? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. It was. They were invited.

Q. Understand Tabu was stunning on the red carpet. What was her visit there for? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. When your film gets nominated, you can take your lead actors.

Q. Golden Globe/Oscar - which award comes with more prize money? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. Hahaha! I don't think Prize money is what they are fighting for. But if you melt the Oscar trophy, you will make more money than the Globes trophy is what I hear.

Q. Is Golden Globe trying to compete and overtake Oscar's prestige in the film industry? Asked by: sundar1950in

A. They both have their place. They are competing for eyeballs though. The Globes this time I hear got a 28 per cent increase in viewership and rose to 19.7 m viewers... About 2 crore people.

Q. Why wasn't Suraj Sharma nominated for any of the big shot awards? Are they lobbying against Indians, just as 'Lagaan' didn't get the Oscar? Asked by: Munai

A. He did get nominated at the BAFTAs! It depends on which circle you are popular with. The Hollywood Foreign Press or the Academy probably thought they had more deserving candidates for Best actor this year. I think Suraj was brilliant. But he has time. He's just got started.

Q. Fair enough. . . I would also like to have Mr Sudhish's views on IIFA, Filmfare, Starplus cine awards, Videocon awards, Zee awards and now Micromax Awards. Asked by: Santosh

A. Any award is a product of a group of people liking it. To understand what an award means, just see who is voting for it. If the voters are people and say Salman Khan wins Best Actor... it tells you more about who the voters are than who the Best Actor was... I don't judge actors or filmmakers by awards. I judge the award show hosts by who they have honoured. I don't think even one of them have acknowledged the growth of the independent cinema. No category there! Shows how cinema literate they are!

Q. Is the Indian audience as a whole still not evolved enough to appreciate good cinema? While in Hollywood we do see good films doing good business. Asked by: Shruti

A. I don't want to say one kind of cinema is superior than the other. So it's not about evolving but yes, there is very little awareness about the other kind of emerging cinema in India that's not driven by stars but an independent vision and an offbeat script. While Hollywood has created an ecosystem for the smaller independent films to exist, we haven't succeeded in putting together an environment for small films to flourish yet! 95 per cent of the people are happy with the Khans. I don't see anything wrong with that. But we are a huge country of over a billion. So even the five per cent interested in offbeat cinema means there's a huge potential... we just need to put a system in place. PVR has done a great job with Director's Rare that releases films with very little marketing budgets.... To give you an idea, to get to the Rs 100 crore club, a film spends Rs 20-25 crore on just marketing and publicity. You can make 50 films with just the marketing budget of a Rs-100-crore film. But we don't have the ecosystem to sell those 50 films right now.

Q. Just like Kamal Haasan says, Oscars & Golden Globes are all stuffs made for them, by them! But a common Indian moviegoer still has the misconception that Oscars are the ultimate! How and when will it change? Asked by: Sidd

A. To win outside in a market that's not yours, in a playground so far away from yours, will always be a special feel and an aspiration for any filmmaker. So you cannot change that perception.

Q. Does use of excessive special effects lessen a film's chance to get the awards except a few like the 'Lord of The Ring'. Also last year at the Oscars, 'Avatar' did't get best picture award. Asked by: Aditya

A. Anything that distracts you from the story is bad. Though I wouldn't say that holds good for 'Avatar'. But it's possible that the voters didn't see beyond the visual effects. But it just reflects their intelligence and in no way the quality of the film.

Q. George Clooney doesn't age, does he? And he has excelled even as a producer! What do you put that down to? I mean all top actors earn bucket loads of money but only few have the right mind to invest in good movies! What does Clooney do right where others have failed? Asked by: obuli

A. Hahaha! Maybe because he stayed single and just dated one hot woman after another. But it's not just Clooney, there's Affleck, there's Wahlberg and even Tom Cruise once in a while invests in great films. You need to have that desire to back good stuff. Sometimes, if you don't have the money to produce it, waive your fees... A lot of young Hollywood actors are doing that. Ryan Gosling, Joseph Gordon Levitt, James Franco... That's as good as producing the films.

Q. Had 'Aaranya Kaandam' been lobbied well, do you think it had any chance at the Academy? Asked by: Anand

A. That's a tough question. But yeah, it probably had a good chance of a nomination if it did have that kind of a marketing budget to ensure that the members got to attend the screening. You have to take out a lot of ads, throw parties and stuff... It's a lot of work and money that doesn't always translate to return on investment for Indian films.

Q. Amitabhji said that we don't need a Oscar/Golden Globe to do justice to our talents. What is your take on that? Asked by: Munai

A. He's right. Nobody should make films for awards. We make films because we want to. We make them because not making them would kill us.

Q. Is this whole Golden Globe, Oscars purely down to marketing? Who gives American critics the right to say this is the best film, they can't connect with locally flavored movies that much right? Why isn't there an independent international organisation to award great films from all over the world? We see only region specific awards like Cannes, Oscars! Asked by: obuli

A. They don't claim what it's not. They are the Hollywood press. They will only honour Hollywood films. And the odd foreign film that releases there. There's the Spirit independent awards for indie films. There's Sundance and Slamdance that are always looking for entries from around the world. There are many fests... We need more fests with standing so that more films have a chance of winning.

Q. Let me put it another way. Should you have been an Academy member or FPA member, which film would you have voted from India in the last 3 years? (apart from GNGM) Asked by: Anand

A. 'Ship of Theseus'. It ranks up there along with 'A Separation' or any foreign film that's won an Oscar.

Q. Indian audience tries hard to focus and understand movies like 'Inception', 'Memento', 'Looper'..But when it comes to our very own 'Hey Ram', 'Anbe Sivam', 'Aalavandhan' - they just rub it off saying they couldn't understand it ! Funny no? Asked by: Sidd

A. I think all those three Kamal films you mentioned have a cult audience. An audience that fiercely protects and defends these films. What more can any film ask for? No film can please everyone. There are many people who hate 'Inception', 'Memento' and 'Looper' as well...

Q. Songs and dance in Indian films is also responsible for non-recognisation of our films in the international market. Because I read the international reviews of TZP and all critics say songs make film slow and distract the movie goer. As far as I am concerned, TZP is much better than Slumdog. Asked by: Aditya

A. Hahaha! Yes, I'm sure TZP is a better film in your book. But like I said a few questions ago, awards tell you more about the voters than the films nominated. Sometimes a film is honoured because it gives them an experience unlike anything they have seen before. Slumdog probably marketed Indian cinema to the west in a way that no Indian film before managed to. And this was a film that was supposed to go straight to DVD. It became this big film purely on word-of-mouth publicity after playing at film festivals. So there's obviously something in the film they liked which you didn't like or see. When I see it through their eyes, I see a great film.

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