Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Fraternity of Awards

According to Wikipedia, Fraternal twins usually occur when two fertilized eggs are implanted in the uterus wall at the same time. When two eggs are independently fertilized by two different
sperm cells, fraternal twins result. Bullshit.

This post is an aftertaste of the recently held Academy Award Ceremony 2012 which hauled the attention of al
most every single person in the world, or at least, what we call the world of cinema.
However, it was a bit different this time around. The Oscar Awards, enshrined as the ultimate achievement for anyone with a prestidigitation in cinema, fell prey to a lot of irreverence, and may I say, were ridiculed by a lot of critics or just movie makers/lovers around the globe. Even Seth Rogen's humor underscored the Oscars playing to the gallery and lobbying to their favorite studios with unsung blithe. Wow, this would be a good opportunity to be prophetically cantankerous and masquerade the Oscars for their follies, just to look cool because you are one of the few who denounce the decisions of the most stilted academy for cinema and apparently have reasons for it. It would be even more cool to renege the Indian award shows by pitting them against Oscars or just ridiculing their sumptuous buffoonery. But thats not what I wanna do, sorry.

Agreed, the Osc
ars proved to be somewhat crotchety this time around. Incredulously, War Horse, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close were preferred for nominations over peachy products like 50/50, Shame, We Need To Talk About Kevin and many other convivial earnest efforts. You can read more about it here, as Mihir Fadnavis cribs about the appalling and incendiary nominations for this year. Many out there berated them for favoring The Artist, as opposed to Hugo, in the top awards when it was not given any technical awards, and vice versa. There were many allegations, vocal dislikes and teething scowls surfacing out of Oscars supposedly trying to make everyone happy and not awarding real cinematic achievements. The  results have left a lot of us brooding too but I am drawn to consider a scrawny possibility of the two industries finally spiraling down to the same disheveled imagery of award ceremonies. Indian award ceremonies have been defiantly chided for ages and now Oscars joins the club. That makes Hollywood and Bollywood fraternal twins. Different, yet same in some ways. 

For a very long time now, Bollywood or the Indian Film Industry, as I would like to call it, has been condescendingly pinned down as a evil shoddy version of its able counterpart, Hollywood, both by Indians and non-Indians. However, this derision has proven to be more or less attributed to the many films that we shamelessly copied from them without any facepalm moments. Mahesh Bhatt is known to have directed his movies by unapologetically copying Hollywood movies scene by scene by running their DVDs at his shoot location. Bollywood moved on surreptitiously over the years lagging behind the overseas products continuously and they still do. Hollywood has had the contributions of an eclectic variety of formidably diverse talents from across the globe. Let alone the skill and passion, they had the bespoke technology, buttressing money and the inherent structure to do it differently. The United States is a developed country and India has never been one. Still, our award shows are run by media houses and not by cinema academies, forcing them to succumb to their commercial interests. Still, being a star in India is ingloriously preferred over being an actor. Still, choosing cinema as a profession is regarded as frisky in our culture. We are still developing and so are our people, the ones we cater to, in our movies and even the award shows. Its only now that we somehow seem to be molding a distinctive identity for ourselves, which does not seem to be borrowed from Hollywood, thanks to our new age cinema. We are not twins, and we can never be.

ever, apart from award shows being profane, there are a few disturbing similarities there. If you look at the highest grossing Hollywood films ever, there is barely a major overlap with the Oscars awarded to them, or for that matter, any other prestigious awards. Barring Titanic and LOTR in the Top 20, most of the other movies were not lauded and awarded as much when compared to the turgid collections they made on the Box Office. In Indian films, the top grossers rarely do get the top honors any year, 3 Idiots being the only standout exception in the recent past. The trifle point to muse here is that the audience never goes for cinematic achievements. Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Ghost Rider and their likes would be a spectacle to watch most definitely, but dont qualify as excellence in storytelling. Independent films and documentaries positively get larger support from studios in Hollywood, as compared to Bollywood, but they are mere tripe for an average cinegoer. I think we share a common problem there. What is a real cinematic achievement? Box Office numbers or the awards. 

The qu
est continues to get a Hugo or The Descendants or the Midnight in Paris or Shor in the City or Stanley ka Dabba or Dev D to show up in these lists. We have to wait and watch if this fraternity outgrows itself and engulfs the likes of its audience. I choose to be hopeful till that day, or as people say, desperate

1 comment:

  1. Excellent and useful article! Thanks for taking the time to post this.

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