Film awards: Are they a scam?

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Aamir Khan set the trend by not attending any of the award ceremonies being trumpeted about by such luminaries as Filmfare, Screen, Stardust and so on. Today, every other entity wants to award filmstars, be it a publication, a film guild, a fan group, an NGO, a gutkha company or a TV channel. The result: ennui.

And yet, everyone wants an award. And the best part? You can actually purchase it. So how do the award organisers make quick bucks? By getting big ticket players to attend and perform at award functions. And how can you win an award? By being lucky. And if that is not on your side, you can still win by not charging for your stage performance at the ceremony.

The best way to judge if a certain award is more a favour than a real judgement? New categories, new titles, new sub categories. Filmfare started it almost a decade ago with awards in the Popular and Critics category.

So how does one win an award if it’s not luck? People wonder if there is luck at all. If you are a big star and perform for free, you are more likely to go back with a trophy in hand – it’s payment in kind, not cash.

There are two schools of thought on awards.

One is the school that believes outstanding cinema, even if it’s a failure commercially, should be bestowed with awards. Well then, what are the national film awards for?

Another school of thought loves to award films that have done well at the ticket window.

Can there be a welcome mix of the two? There can be. And it’s showing. The latest Filmfare awards did award such films: Do Dooni Char, Udaan, We Are Family, and Love Sex Aur Dhoka.

If the trend continues, many small movies such as these will be accorded more respect in the years to come. But it all depends on the organisers of these shows. Being human, every new person joining a firm can be different. For better or worse.