Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Karan Johar were conspicuous by their absence at IIFA awards held during the weekend in Abu Dhabi. While Bhansali is shooting the last lap of his ambitious webseries Heeramandi, Karan Johar was away in Zurich celebrating his birthday.
Neither Bhansali nor Johar won any significant awards at IIFA, although Bhansali’s fabulous Gangubai Kathiawadi did get Alia Bhatt another best actress win, and yes, Johar’s Brahmastra got Pritam’s poor music score the best music award.
Significantly the Best Director was given to actor R Madhavan for his directorial debut in Rocketry: The Nambi Effect and not to Bhansali for Gangubai Kathiawadi . The best actor award was given to Hrithik Roshan for his over-the-top performance in Vikram Vedha .
One only has to compare Roshan’s non-nuanced performance with Vijay Sethupathi in the Tamil original to tell the difference between ‘I Am’ and ‘I Ham’.
Remakes in fact ruled the awards. Drishyam 2 which was a frame-by-frame remake of the Malayalam original won Best Picture.
Where is the creative spirit in a blindly faithful remake?
This brings me to the IIFA award for Outstanding Achievement in Regional Cinema. It went to the Marathi film Ved directed by Riteish Deshmukh. Ironically, it is a poor remake of another “regional” film Majili in Telugu. One presumes the honourable jury members at IIFA did not get the time to watch other “regional” films especially from Kerala.Or for that matter even in Marathi cinema , there were films like Har Har Mahadev and Mee Vasantrao.Ring a bell?
Also a wakeup call: cinema ceased to be “regional” after Baahubali.
Shantanu Maheshwari was chosen as best debutant for Gangubai Kathiawadi when in fact he has already done a bulk of television work before. And if you are scratching your head about who the best female debutant,Khushali Kumar , is, then scratch no more: she is a sibling of the illustrious T Series organization. Very talented, I am sure.