First published in Jammu Enquirer
Film awards started as a way to recognise and reward works of excellence. However, we can categorise the awards into serious and popular like the Oscars or National Awards in India and MTV Awards in US or the Filmfare in India, where there would be awards for best on screen couples or kissing scenes or best comic sequence, respectively.
To quote the famous cultural critic Walter Benjamin, the film actor today has lost his aura and the business of films works through “celebritisation”. The awards and the tabloids further feeds into this making of an image i.e. the celebrity. The business of filmmaking, today, is dependent on these PR activities to generate interest among viewers. The scenario today is such that even film festivals like Sundance or Cannes, which favours indie films, runs because of its celebrity quotient and endorsements. It matters more which designer’s gowns were worn by famous actresses on the red carpet than the film they are a part of.
There are also those among viewers and experts who believe that popular awards are syndicated in India. When every TV channel today hosts its own film award and these are the same companies that invests in the movies who is to say that these experts or viewers are entirely wrong.
When Saif Ali Khan can win a national award for acting in a year when Sharmila Tagore was a part of the censor board, one is sceptic about the relevance and authenticity of even the National Awards. Awards, when decided from an entirely objective point of view, would return to its original aim – that of rewarding those who have shown creativity, uniqueness and brilliance in their field until then it’s only a 3 hour show on a weekend with lots of dancing and singing interspersed with some awards.