New Delhi: Once upon a time the most glamorous, eagerly-awaited and coveted award was Filmfare. It was the oldest, truly defined hi-glitz event that captured the seductive magic of star-power. This was a time way before Facebook and Twitter or the whos-sleeping-with-who brand of journalism invaded our lives.
Stars were elusive and this lends them a mystique aura that is impossible to imitate. This of course, like most other things, was borrowed from Hollywood, where studios identified, created and managed the image of stars through rigid ground-rules and monitoring. Anyone who dared to step out of line (no matter how big a star) would do so at their own peril.
The studios believed (with some truth) that distance lends enchantment and creates a climate of curiosity that can be converted with smart publicity into footfalls. The National Awards (instituted later) was an information and Broadcasting ministry event with a different agenda. The vision and values were exemplary; to identify, recognise, promote, publicise and celebrate the best of Indian cinema across all regions and states. The focus would be strictly on creativity and quality, impervious to distractions like glamour, stars, exotic locales, bloated budgets, special effects, drooling item-numbers...and whatever else the mainstream cinema of today specialises in to do their Rs 100 crore in a week films.
As film critic Saibal Chalteyee says, Its a simple case of the Muse and Mammon offering their respective wares to the public....