Thursday, February 5, 2009

From Deccan Chronicle. Awards Tamasha

Shobhaa’s Take 28th Jan 2009

Sorry…. The Jury is out on this one…
Kitney aadmi the ??

All awards are essentially bogus. That’s the horrible truth. I should know. I have been on several juries and what do you know, even received the odd award . Most of them fully faltoo . Which is why I can say this authoritatively - I don’t know of a single award that is either fair or free. Genuine and legitimate. Strings attached?? You bet. It’s a toss up between manipulation and money – you need one or the other (both, preferably), to make those lists. When even the lofty Nobel’ s credentials have been questioned ( cherchez the Japanese!), what remains?? Now India’s once- prestigious Padmas ( distributed like channas on Chowpatty beach these days), have come under a cloud and the aam janata is left wondering why so-and-so got it and so-and-so didn’t. From movie stars to cricketers, top cops to biz leaders, there is heart burn and suspicion( “ Woh kiska chamcha hai…?”), as the also- rans accuse the powers that be of favouritism and prejudice. Don’t they know ? It’s all about tel-maalish-champi (Johnny Walker – where are you when we need you the most?)… and fierce lobbying with Dilli ‘contacts’ ( kitney aadmi the?). A senior journo commented with a laugh, “ It actually begins and ends with the boy and girl in Delhi. If they like you and recommend you , that’s it. You have to become their BFFs.” Any guesses as to the identity of the ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ ? Come on… take a crack at it. The First Children, of course! Whether or not this is correct, it is true that this year’s rather strange list of recipients has got the chattering classes talking. We know Singh was Kinggggggg at the box office last year… but since when does an actor receive a Padma only because his movie raked in serious lolly? Does the commercial success of a nonsensical movie demand this recognition? I have nothing against Akshay – he’s pretty cute. But come on guys…. define the criteria. Akshayji ne kiya kya? Kaunsi kamaal ki cheez? Ditto for the lovely Aishwarya. What was her special achievement during the past twelve months?Or is that a stupid question. That leaves just one member of the Bachchan parivar who is still to receive this honour – Abhishek. Koi baat nahi… there’s always next year, bachchu.
As for our Olympicswallas (Vijendra Kumar and Sushil Kumar) who are most upset at being left out, clearly these chaps cannot be silenced . They failed to get the Padma ball rolling, and are peeved as hell. Abhinav Bindra stuck his neck out to question their omission – good of him. If it is any consolation at all,check out similar awards across the world in any category – beauty, movies, business, sports, science, the arts… you name it. Dig a little. Are any of them transparent? Naah! No lobbying, no award. Illey.I guess you can’t please them all - just as you can’t win them all. Jo ho gaya so ho gaya. The whole procedure has been demeaned and politicised to such an extent, that several self respecting worthies have decided to boycott awards altogether. Aamir Khan was the first Bollywood actor to take a position on this issue. A bold stand to take in that incestuous world.
Awards, as anybody in the know will tell you, are directly linked to commerce. Think back to the time our girls were winning each and every beauty pageant in sight. Was it really because India had the sole monopoly over beautiful women? Did no other country in the world produce beauties? The answer , my friend, was blowing in the wind. India’s humungous market was gradually opening up – there were shampoos, creams, lipsticks and blush-ons to be sold. The desi middle class had to be smoothly converted to using a range of useless cosmetics nobody really needed. The vast beauty products’ constituency had reached a saturation point back in America, South America and Europe. ‘Head East, young man’, was the clear message to those sharp marketing fellows peddling global brands. Voila! India became the juiciest destination….. and surprise, surprise ,our lovelies won crown after crown . This was no happy coincidence.Foreign shampoos and eye shadows are still rolling in. Watch – the next international pageant will be won by Miss China.
Business Awards? Strictly by rotation. The Old Boy’s Club makes sure of that. Tie that up to advertising budgets and you get a neat quid pro quo.Meanwhile tv channel partners scramble to interview the big honchos assembled for the honour – never mind that the same person may get picked up down the line for committing a major fraud (yoo hoo Ramalingam)…. but not before he has picked up a major award first. From Businessman of the Year to Conman of the Century is but a small leap! This embarrasses nobody. The chief guest (generally the finance minister, if not the prime minister) pretends to suffer from memory loss after the chest- thumping awardee is declared a persona non grata overnight, plus done time, or died….whatever. It’s back to business as usual the next time round.
Don’t even ask about film awards – those depend on heavy duty ‘setting’ (how I love that word!). These days, with a film award happening on a weekly basis, the matter has been further simplified – the actor who shows up at the function gets the award – baat khatam. A no- show automatically means no award. Got it, bro?? Categories? Not an issue – those can always be created at the nth moment. Nobody cares, so long as there is a star on stage and a statuette to take home. Sometimes, actors are required to sing and dance for their supper, err, award. Actors who perform at these shows are ‘guaranteed’ an award – provided they dance for free, or reduce their killer rates. If they are also sporting enough to keep the organisers’ beds warm, that’s a bonus. No pain, no gain – that’s the Bollywood mantra. Merit, talent and other incidentals - well, such traditional attributes are add-ons.Favour for favour is how it goes in the no nonsense, to- the- point world of movies. It has become so blatant, don’t be surprised if a complete dud walks away with a top award one of these days – check out the ‘setting’ and you’ll get the answer as to how he did it. Showbiz is ‘like that only’ - whether it’s tv or films. Audiences and fans are conned into thinking their opinions count. But each time they sms their choices, they only enrich the service providers and organizers, who laugh all the way to the bank! Oh oh… and don’t get fooled by those sealed envelopes that have been secured by top auditing firms – ha ha ha – isn’t that the biggest laugh? Pricewater House, are you reading this?
Awards R us…! They reflect our rotten world and represent our failings. If we applaud frauds and scamsters, go along with the pantomime, never question the credibility of award givers, accept mediocrity and refuse to challenge the credentials of dodgy recipients … well then, we deserve the dubious achievers thrust on us.Wonder what Symonds thinks of Bhajji’s Padma Shri. Well deserved or a monkey trick??

26 comments:

kalatma said...

An interesting write up.

Ashutosh Didwania said...

Who cares about these awards anyway...Moreover, every genuine achiever for sure knows how to distinguish between an authentic recognition and a made up one...Precisely the reason why you find Aamir Khan completely ignoring such statuettes while self-obsessed braggers like SRK keep on running after them all the time...I guess eventually what matters the most is a self-satisfaction of truly having made a mark and that is ideally the biggest award one can think of.

GAURAV said...

MAM HOW DO U WRITE SO WELL. I WANT TO KISS THAT HAND OF URS. AMAZING! HOW IS DE' SIR?

Serendipity said...

Its sad... this blatant disregard on matters of honour.

No wonder straight talkers like you get so much criticism, no one really has the b*lls to call 'em as they see 'em anymore.

you ought to do an article on 2 months post 26/11...now what? We're back to where we were hoping against hope we wouldnt be...

Maddy said...

Hahaha! I warn you, you are going to be, either shortlisted or blacklisted for next year Padma awards because of this post!!

Harish Panasi said...

Try adding a few more "a"s after Shobhaaa. That may get you a Padma Award!
Good to see you have learnt about ellipses from Rahul. It would have been more lady-like (alas, you may be unfamiliar with the word!) to acknowledge it though.
One question: you seem to be posting blogs more often these days! Is it in the hope that your "fans" won't go back & read the comments on your previous blogs?

NANDINI said...

Now, even though it's an open secret, it does help to reiterate the facts. Some consolation for those unlucky souls. But, like someone said...who cares about these awards anyways. The give & take policy seems to justify some sort of a balance, so as to obey some law of the land.

Nandini Rao.

Hobo ........ ........ ........ said...

Wishing an award for you too.

Ishan Dev said...

Ruchira,
Thanks for the link.
I saw the Devils' Advocate interview (http://ibnlive.in.com/news/devils-advocate-shobhaa-de-on-mumbai-vs-bombay/76806-3.html)
just now. Congratulations Karan, for exposing Shobhaa De as the hypocrite she is.

Anju said...

After reading your article, my thoughts about all these award functions have become more concrete that this pomp and show is all about the settings and manipulations, give and take between recepients & organisers. as Nandini said, its an open secret!!

I truly admire you for the way you manage to be a part of this glamorous world yet stand out different coz of your beliefs and straight forward and open attitude.

Amrit Bharadwaj said...

If there is a Boker Prize for Blogging..you deserve it ma'm!!

Written very well!!

Madhurima Lahiri said...

I've heard about something called Booker Prize, but not "Boker Prize", Amrit!
Maybe that's why I'm not qualified enough to join Shobhaa De's "fan"-club :o)!

Rahul said...

WEll who cares bout awards...i won badminton turnaments and never ever visited back to get the big prize.....It was just the fun of fighting it out in the middle of pitch which parhaps matters to most of us.....

Anonymous said...

honest as the De is long! and brutally so.

rgds,
kedar

Miss Cynical said...

Now, like a lot other things even the awards have lost their importance!

Nicely written
- Anu

Piper .. said...

a post so true to my heart! I dont wanna add my two cents(ooh I`m scared some anonymous troll will come pouncing on me!) :-)) I already did that in the last post.But yes, I feel its a #$^#* mockery of the whole system. But then, who makes the system tick?

Tasneem Najmuddin said...

Wow this one's really fantastic!and it has come straight from the horse's mouth.I really appreciate it, i mean the way you have written it.I had mentioned earlier also, i'd love to hear ur opinion on Padmi Shri awards given this year.And thanks for doing it, Ma'm.

~Evolving~ said...

ECKHART TOLLE ~~

"Nonreaction to the ego of others is one of the most effective ways not only of going beyond ego in yourself but also dissolving the collective human ego.

All you need to know and observe in yourself is this: Whenever you feel superior or inferior to anyone, that's the ego in you."

fazal said...

by reading your blog. Today I came closer to the hard reality surrounding each and every award .........it's really very diffecult to digest each and every award given to all those so called award winners !

Mehr said...

Ah thank you for ur comments on Padmasree...most of the people beleive that undeserved people are getting this......

I know you are a fan of South Indian Actor Mammooty,and i read somewhere that he is going to act in a kannada movie with kon kona sen sharma...thats going to be nice i think

Sidhusaaheb said...

You may also recall the media-hype surrounding all those beauty-contest victories.

If I remember correctly the girls were received by the Prime Minister or the President or both, upon their triumphant return, as if they had just planted the Indian flag on the moon.

Thanks for writing the truth about these 'awards', in particular, in addition to all the other ones!

BTW, if I am not wrong, Abhishek Bachchan already has more critically acclaimed work to his credit than Aishwarya. Perhaps the bahu is more of a favourite of Chacha Amar's than the bhatija.

ankur kakkar said...

hey maam, awesome post , this is what we love you for... and this is what true journalism of courage really means !!

Sidhusaaheb said...

Also, I am reminded of the fact that a television news-channel has recently conferred a lifetime achievement award on Mr. L. K. Advani.

I am about half-a-century younger than Mr. Advani and wouldn't know about all that he has done, but when I think of his achievements during my lifetime, the ones that come to mind immediately are:

- He travelled around the country to try and work people up into a communal frenzy, in the early 1990s, which led a large number of them to descend upon the town of Ayodhya to pull down a centuries-old mosque.

- He was the Home Minister of India during the 2002 anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat and did not send in security forces under the central government's control or use his position to get the state government to act effectively to stop the violence, until after his boss i.e. Prime Minister Vajpayee was called to Rashtrapati Bhawan and questioned on the subject by the President of India. By then, more than 2000 innocent people had been killed in the most brutal manner.

- He had the gumption to claim in his autobiography that the (then) External Affairs Minister, Mr. Jaswant Singh, had released terrorists from Indian jails in exchange for the release of the passengers of a hijacked Indian Airlines aircraft, without his i.e. Mr. Advani's knowledge, even though he was the Home Minister of the country at that point of time.

I wonder which of these warrant a lifetime achievement award.

A_N_Nanda said...

This reminds me of a real freedom fighter who did not get a pension and died a commoner's death and his children for sometime had to beg on the street. And in the same vein, of another person who (arranged!) records to avail himself of the pension for his being on jail during freedom movement. Sab kuchh chalta hai.

Let me ramble aside. There's pain attached to receiving awards without deserving. May god excerbate it...for the good of HUMANITY.

Nanda
http://ramblingnanda.blogspot.com

varry said...

Mam U Rock ...

I just love ur writing style

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