How Rewarding are Award Ceremonies in Indian Cinema?

Award ceremonies are hosted annually to honour technical and artistic excellence of professionals in the film industry. The National Awards have been recognized as the most credible award ceremony in Indian Cinema. The Filmfare Awards is one among the oldest and most prominent events in India. With so many award functions and more getting introduced each year, does Indian Cinema gain any significant mileage out of these ceremonies? How do award functions contribute to a films’ success? Do too many awards affect credibility?

The Indian Film industry is multi lingual and the largest in the world in terms of number of films produced in a year and ticket sales. Movie making is a serious trade worldwide and each stage right from Development to Marketing needs a creative eye for detail and authority. Thus, for filmmakers, awards and public recognition not only acknowledge success, they also recognize other qualities as ability, effort, struggle and most importantly, excellence in their craft. It also inspires them to challenge their skills and imagination and strive to create masterpieces.

National awards in India are considered the loftiest reward any film maker can receive. But that always doesn’t translate to more money or better projects. It certainly raises an actor’s worth since filmmakers like having award winners in their casts because that gives audience another incentive to watch it and marketers another avenue for promotions. Then, does it mean that all those who do not win awards and recognition are any less talented? For every Amitabh Bachhan who succeeds by winning fame, wealth and honour, there are hundreds of equally gifted actors who do not make it.

That’s where awards play a crucial role. It is an instant formula for public recognition. It presents a significant opportunity for self-endorsement to the media and audience. Two concrete examples are Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray who are the pioneers of the Indian Film Industry and shall be fondly remembered for their contribution to Indian Cinema. While they could not make money out of their films but the awards, recognition and appreciation endorsed them as the century’s greatest film makers. Likewise, remarkable Indians pursue their passion and talent every year by winning fame and encouragement through awards.

Filmmakers bring life, culture and art to our eager eyes and as audience, we have a significant role – to respond, to spread the word and talk about the emotions that surfaced during the film. The audience in fact is the most important element especially for non-conventional cinema since these movies are usually low on marketing budget against mainstream movies. As audience, we must support these cinematic artists & let them know that their efforts are appreciated and entertaining.

It is a two-way street, the filmmakers need the audience and the audience need the filmmakers.

The National Award ceremonies have a sustained structure that has strongly believed in rewarding excellence in Indian cinema and lacks glitz, glamor and sheen. The Bollywood award shows on the other hand, are the new lustrous, entertaining and lucrative rage in the industry. The point is – are they really about recognizing and rewarding excellence or exploiting vested interest in the garb of a larger cause? The tsunami of award functions today has begun affecting the credibility of awards and questions the high decibel event. Mostly these shows are televised and gain viewership due to the glitz, energetic dances and high voltage hamming by the anchors. The award phenomenon was formally launched 62 years ago with the first Filmfare Award function. Six decades later, this whole spectacle appears to be reduced to a populist, glamor driven sham that attracts the mediocre attention. Diluted and devalued, these shows have turned into commercial exercise that engages in the business of attracting TRP ratings. Amidst all the bonhomie, stars and grapevine lacks something critical – seriousness, credibility, purpose and focus. There are veiled whispers of rigging and favouritism and each award function seem fixed in their choice of winners.

Nobody seems to care who’s doing what for whom and why!

Unlike Bollywood, Hollywood presents a totally different picture. Most Oscar-nominated actors climb up the pay check and esteem ladder and even smaller movies profit. The Awards protect and honour films and encourage improvement of arts. The multi-million dollar event is also known for its sheer grandeur and glory. Everything considered, the results are mostly fair, the award, hugely coveted, the Oscars will always remain the planet’s premier show, spectacle and award that truly rewards excellence.