Why the Bollywood Awards are struggling to stay relevant

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Oscars or Golden Globes? Prestigious. It’s different with Desi counterparts like the 60 year old ‘Filmfare Awards’ or the much younger ‘Life OK Screen Awards’ (21 years old). Oscars, Golden Globes and Filmfare all have one thing in common – a long legacy spanning half a century. Oscar celebrates its 87th anniversary in 2015 while Golden Globes celebrate its 72nd anniversary. Hollywood Awards are known for their fair and transparent process when selecting winners. Over 6,000 Elite Academy Members vote for the Oscars to select the annual winners. As for the Golden Globes, the voting commission includes 93 prominent journalists from around the world who are members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Looking back, we can see that these two major awards went smoothly without much controversy questioning their legitimacy and the selection process. Of course, a calculated campaign can still sway Oscar & Golden Globe voters – to an extent (as we saw in the cases of Shakespeare In Love in 1999 and Crash in 2015)! Minor issues such as this aside, these awards continue to remain relevant and prestigious. The same cannot be said about the Bollywood awards. Especially since we have a dozen new awards shows, the last thing on their mind is prestige.

Where are the Bollywood prices headed?

Well, it’s not going to a nice place – that’s for sure! Controversy and corruption make it very difficult for awards shows to remain relevant and meaningful. Speaking of the Filmfare Awards, it’s a popular award. Filmfare magazine subscribers choose the winners by voting (although to make it less tedious, they have introduced critics’ awards for some main categories). As we all know, the audience is not always the best judge when it comes to film quality, acting and technical ability. As Oscars noted, the people who work in the industry are best placed to judge a film’s or artist’s worth. Now it’s too late for Filmfare Awards to change their format. So, let’s not pursue them in this matter. But at least they can be honest and fair in choosing the popular awards. If you take a closer look, despite good performances and milestone films, Aamir Khan and his films have always missed out on Filmfare awards. The same can be said about Ajay Devgn as well. To refresh your memory, both Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn spoke out against the politics behind awards shows. Aamir Khan boycotted all awards ceremonies (except National Awards and Oscars, of course). Again and again we hear claims that these bonuses are “fixed”. Not only stars, but also fans have spoken out against the dirty picture behind awards.

Awards ceremonies in India have become a huge TV event with big money at stake. So TRP is important. Who Brings TRP? Big stars, who else! Don’t think it’s any different in Hollywood. ABC, which is under contract to broadcast Oscars through 2020, is resorting to all sorts of circuses to boost the Oscars’ TRP (remember Ellen Degenerator’s selfie stunt during last year’s Oscars?). In Hollywood, however, the big stars don’t ask for money or favors to attend these awards. If they are nominated, they will definitely show up on the red carpet and graciously cheer the winner despite their bitter defeats. They understand the fact that maintaining a healthy ecosystem of awards is a quality assurance imperative. In Bollywood we hear all sorts of stories about the insane demands that stars have when it comes to attending awards shows.’ If you don’t give me an award and then you don’t send me an invitation’ – according to various reports, that seems to be the motto of most big stars. That leads to hilarious award categories. For the Best Actor category, some award shows give out up to 5 different awards (Best Actor in a Thriller, Best Actor in a Drama, Best Actor in a Comedy, and so on)! Then they invent very creative price categories to cater to a certain demanding actor! There was a music awards controversy recently where Honey Singh was awarded the Best Music Director award, ignoring AR Rahman & Amit Trivedi!

Bollywood fans have been debating the futility of Bollywood awards on social media like Twitter and Facebook. It seems like everyone but award show organizers are aware of this growing criticism. Speaking of Oscars, we have something similar in Bollywood. IIFA (Indian International Film Awards), established in 2000, is a global Bollywood awards ceremony where nominees and winners are selected by industry peers. The glittering awards ceremony is usually held at an international venue outside of India. Despite this, they always honor the least deserving winners. Plus, they’re not far behind when it comes to hilarious categories.

In short, the awards scene in Bollywood is a big mess right now. This is largely because the industry is disorganized to the core. They don’t have a unit – they don’t have functional organizations for the actors and technicians. If they did, it would have been easier for them to run their own Oscars-style awards show. In this case, a trusted outside agency (an agency called PricewaterhouseCoopers is responsible for listing Oscar votes) can handle the voting process to avoid politics and corruption. Plus, it would force the stars to attend the awards shows without asking for any favors. Such a step could clean up the system. But who will? The main characters are constantly arguing. They fight for everything and their cold wars and camp systems are notorious in Bollywood. So it would be too much to expect them to do anything about this mess.

But who will ring the cat?

That’s the biggest question. Until we find an answer, we’ll have to grapple with the nonsense in the name of awards!

Thanks to Aravind Shivaraman | #Bollywood #Awards #struggling #stay #relevant

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