Monday, March 22, 2004

shoddy fare sponsored by flavoured chewing tobacco

Caught the recent 45th annual filmfare awards ceremony on videotape. Embarassing fare. The production quality still looks very sarakaarii and the gauch and amateurish tone continues to mature, while an uncomfortably incestuous feeling that this is "all about loving your lovings" takes over. Archana Puran Singh set the trend for the evening by launching into the most fragmented stream of conscious blather since a malfunctioning garden hose. Every joke was forced, a non sequitur. Every invited presenter seemed to function merely as a dummy, a shell, a bouncing wall for APS's pathetically written drivel. Shabana Azmi strove hard to break the tedium by acknowledging the recipients of the technical awards, since our "tech savvy" filmmaking junta were so clued in on what things like editing and sound design had to do with making movies starring the sparrow Rai. More embarassment ensued as articulate people like Kabir Bedi and Rahul Khanna were presented in the worst light since the ugly pallour cast by sodium vapours on Welbeck Road back home. The only redeeming aspect of the whole host affair was the mini segment taken care of by SRK and Saif Ali Khan. While the gay jokes and nasty digs (more on that in a moment) went from being amusing and hilarious to boring and painful, Saif Ali Khan scored an ace. His comic timing was miles ahead of the hemming and hawing of the vastly overrated and epileptic SRK. The nasty digs actually helped put those stupid new awards in perspective (WTF is a look of the year award??). And also some inappropriate presenters (WTFF does Amar Singh have to do with music/Pancham that he is invited to present the RD Burman Award?). The last mentioned award continued to find an appropriate recipient this year (the talented Vishal-Shekhar). A few of the technical awards were welcome, but the popular awards were a choke. Clearly the tag "Best" should be replaced by "Most Voted for". How can you explain Koi ... Mil Gaya and Kal Ho Naa Ho winning all those awards? Sanjay Dutt deserving an award when Boman Irani is around? Give me a frigging break. And Arshad Warsi got nothing?? And then there were painful omissions like Sunidhi Chauhan, Vishal-Shekhar, Rahul Bose ... endless list.

Filmfare continued to try and keep everyone happy, while retaining the "loving your lovings" behaviour: oodles of time and visual space spent on the Kapoor khaandaan: Karishma's wedding, Kareena's ode to her sister (haven't you guys heard of privacy, email, telephones???), and Kareena getting a special award for Chameli (Bebo's contention that she was a pioneer in the "actress[sic] playing a streetwalker in a mainstream movie" move holds no water -- clearly Waheeda Rehman in Pyaasa comes to mind ...).

And then there were all those performances on stage. The set was some proto-phallic dilation which housed such untalented dancers[sic] as Fardeen Khan, John Abraham (mostly unclad), Bipasha Basu (clad in stuff from a car wash dumpster) ... Hrithik lived up to his reputation by participating in the tightest performance of the evening, although it is painfully obvious that he is a man of limited moves. The kids from Shiamak Davar's school who supported the medley were the real treat. Awesome synchronization. They put every star to shame.

I must say that given the volatile and offensive content of the FF awards, Janet Jackson's faux pas at the Super Bowl seems mild, at least from a conservative K-soap watching orthodox boring bland Indian family POV. That said, one must also note that the Big B featured prominently on stage, and ended up saying a lot of polite nothing, as always. One must also note the cheeky camera which shifted to shots of Shahid Kapur when Kareena was gyrating[sic] on stage (among other cheeky swipes). One must also note the forlorn look on Manoj Bajpai's face (recall his withdrawal of the Pinjar nomination and his unlikely defeat at the hands of Salman Khan for what might still be the most memorable performance of his career) as he tried to understand what made these despicable awards click. Hopefully, he can find solace in his writings for the BBC [the hindi version, if you will]. The list of people on the Critics board was illuminating: I can recall seeing Aruna Raje (who was responsible for the bedroom bore Tum). All I can remember was saying "aah, that would explain why Munna Bhai MBBS won ...". And I got to see what Abbas Tyrewala looked like. Lots of cool people. The wrong people assigned "cool" status. All in all, another day in the life of the auto-fellating film industry called Bollywood. But, one must note a sign of progress: they used the word "metrosexual" on the show. Or is it a sign of progress? In a world of mush, meadows, marriages, musical melancholy, maddeningly mundane scripts, multi-starrer miasma, marshy ripoffs, and metropolitan atavism ...

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