by Asjad Nazir
I mentioned on Twitter the IIFA Awards winners for Best Actor and Best Actress would be Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt even before the ceremony took place.
It wasn’t because I had any inside knowledge and they certainly didn’t deliver the finest performances of the last year, but I knew they would win because Bollywood awards have become that predictable. Even though they acted all surprised at the ceremony in New York last weekend, I am certain both of them knew they would win.
Today, pretty much all Bollywood award ceremonies will give awards to high-profile stars who agree to attend or perform on stage. That is why plenty of great films annually get ignored like Bollywood’s highest grossing movie Dangal, which shamefully didn’t even get a nomination in the major categories at the 18th edition of the international awards. Smaller independent Indian films, which are making a huge mark and showing amazing artistry, were also ignored in favour of lesser movies that featured big name stars.
Diljit Dosanjh won the Best Debut award for his role in Udta Punjab and coincidentally also did a performance on stage. Neerja was decent, but it certainly wasn’t the greatest release of 2016, yet it won the award for Best Film. Anirudh Roy Chaudhary won the Best Director award for Pink, but there were filmmakers who showed far more creative flair in 2016.
Amit Mishra won Best Playback Singer (Male) for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil when Arijit Singh was clearly the stand-out star of that soundtrack. Meanwhile The Best Playback Singer (Female) was jointly shared by Kanika Kapoor for Udta Punjab and Tulsi Kumar for Airlift, but I would wager most Bollywood fans of him can’t name the songs they won for. Then of course a major Bollywood award wouldn’t be complete without a made-up trophy, which went to Alia Bhatt who got a Style Icon Award and a rubbish dance performance by a big star, which this time was delivered by Salman Khan.
Today these award ceremonies pay a handful of A-list stars and pad them out with mostly Z-list celebrities who would happily go to the opening of an envelope if photographers were present. That is why I have chosen to not go to these ceremonies any more, which have become a commercial enterprise and why most of Bollywood stays away from such awards.
Quite frankly. Like most of the Indian film industry, I don’t care where next year’s IIFA awards will be.