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Friday, 10 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Motion Picture [Drama]




Best Motion Picture 

Drama




Here it is, the big award of the year and hands down the best Hindi film of the year.

Before we head to the nominees, let us take a look back at each films journey so far.

Phobia has 8 nominations [excluding Best Picture] with 5 wins so far, with the biggest wins being for Best Film Editing as well as Best Lead Actor [Female] in Drama, putting it in prime position. There is tough competition though.

Parched apart from Best Picture has 10 nominations with 4 wins so far, and it has won the huge Screenplay award as well as Cinematography.

For Aligarh [apart from Best Picture] it is about 8 nominations but 3 massive wins with Best Director and Both Male Best Lead and Supporting Actors. That is another huge competitor.

Finally come the two weak links but still tough competitors; Udta Punjab has 8 nominations sans Best Picture and has 1 win as well as another win for Breakthrough Actor [Male]. It's singular win is massive as Udta Punjab scores for Best Ensemble, remember the Ensemble's love for the massive voters of the Acting Board from the Academy, was one of the major reasons why Spotlight took home the Best Picture win.

While Waiting has only 3 nominations with no wins, it's not an indictment on the film but rather considerable that it still secured the big Picture nomination despite other Drama films winning huge. This is because Waiting is absolutely worth it and as I've always maintained whether these awards or the Oscars; it is eventually the nominations that matter most.

Yet those also matter, that just didn't cut it. And here they are; [PS: I wont detail them rather just rank the films in terms of how each missed out the Best Picture nom]

6. Neerja
7. Budhia Singh Born to Run
8. Raman Raghav 2.0
9. Dangal
10. Pink

That's for that, now drumroll cause it is finally time...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Motion Picture [Comedy/Romantic/Musical]




Best Motion Picture 

Comedy/Musical/Romantic




As I've mentioned before, the non-drama section [I'm calling it such, because it's harder to constantly type comedy/romantic/musical, of course realizing the futility of explaining the whole thing in a lengthy bracket] hasn't been the top dog this year and we will have to see what this entails for our Best Pic nominees.

Anywho TM.

After a Screenplay win, Kapoor and Sons is at the top of its game with 3 wins and 9 nominations barring Best Picture. It's other two wins being from Leading Male Actor and Supporting Female Actor.

As for the other two acting awards, they go to Nil Battey Sanata thus giving it 2 wins from 6 nominations.

3 nominations yet 0 wins marks the run of Dear Zindagi. Dhanak is also haunted with 0 wins from 3 nominations and Jugni scores one higher with 4 nominations but again 0 wins. This trio might not have big wins but remember it is always the nomination that counts.

A collectively good film always trumps a film with just one or two great aspects. Filmmaking at the end is about a wonderful but unified piece of art.

As for films that failed to leave their mark altogether, there weren't many but the few that did do get a mention without of course mentioning details, let's just see what lost out in rankings [PS They are not many]

6. Tere Bin Laden: Dead or Alive
7. Happy Bhag Jayegi

Well then, now onto the nominees...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Director




Best Director

Motion Picture





Once again what this year excessively and exclusively proved is that new filmmakers around India are gathering a storm in providing exciting ideas and content.

[This bears well for someone like me looking towards the future]

Even directors on this top five list are barely breakthroughs themselves where as others are or have reinvented themselves within this decade after huge lull periods, crawling out the woodwork.

It's a showcase that despite of pitfalls, content is slowly conquering the Hindi film industry and that filmmakers are truly becoming the masters of their own ship.

Let us discuss our nominees for a moment;

Nagesh Kukunoor for Dhanak-After toiling with years of uneven films since his relatively stronger earlier success, Kukunoor is back in the game with Dhanak, his first nomination of hopefully many.

Abhishek Chaubey-Nominated in 2015 for his sublime work in Dedh Ishqiya, Chaubey is once again at the helm with the controversial Udta Punjab

Had there been a breakthrough director nominee ballot in 2015; Nitesh Tiwari would have been up there for his work in Bhoothnath Returns, so he's here now.

Hansal Mehta is a former nominee for the 1st Official HIndie Awards for Shahid, is his second time round lucky?

Finally Shakun Batra would have broken through in 2013 for his efforts with the genuine Ek Mai aur Ekk Tu.

As for the past winners, let's see what got them to the ball...

Vikramaditya Motwane for Lootera, 2014
Vishal Bhardwaj for Haider, 2015
 Meghna Gulzar for Talvar, 2016

The first was an adaptation of an O Henry short into a soothing romantic ballad mixed with a heady sense of history. The second win was for another cinematic gem based upon Shakespeare's works with a moving political commentary on the Kashmir situation. The last inspired by true event turns out to be a sharp and smart examination on the CBI and the judicial system as well as the advent of media trials packaged in an interesting story straddled by an intriguing protagonist.

So whose year is it this round, we already know whose it isn't...

Gauri Shinde for Dear Zindagi-She just barely misses the cut with another smartly directed film that is possibly relayed from experience allowing for a breezy yet intimate portrayal.

Anurag Kashyap for Raman Raghav 2.0-Kashyap could at this point direct a low budget grungy and disturbing film in his sleep, possibly making it easier to take him for granted despite what he makes is a terrifying picture with some interesting dynamics between the protagonists and a cocktail of subtext to boot.

And now onto the nominees...

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Screenplay [Drama]




Best Drama 

Screenplay





The above picture has been seen quite a few times during this awards show, why?

Because great drama has been the dominating factor in this years filmography, in fact the genre divide here just doesn't seem to be working in breaking notions of great films being lesser than drama not only that but the idea that Hindi cinema's greatest works entail romance and comedy was sadly broken.

It's not to say we haven't had great films of the lighter variety, but drama especially the kind that caters to a specific genre of drama has excelled.

At the end of the day, every film is dramatic of any nature.

To celebrate that drama, let us first see what previous winner look like;

HIndie Award for Best Screenplay: Hansal Mehta and Apurva Asrani for Shahid, 2014
HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Drama]: Anurag Kashyap for Ugly, 2015
HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Drama]: Sharat Katariya and Kanu Behl for Titli, 2016

This is an intriguing list, the first screenplay winner which also shared Best Picture with Lunchbox is one of those first honest biopics that opened the floodgates for the genre. Sadly biopics haven't gained the same form of traction to win one in the next two years which saw films win because of their fascinating examination of milieu's and the characters that make them up; to simplify the last two are dreary but dry crime films.  Anyways the one thing to note is that Apurva Asrani is already a former winner for a Hansal Mehta film, can he score number 2?

This year is an interesting mix of the above and more.

But there are also those that failed to crack the top five, here they are;

Neerja-A tight and taut screenplay that suffers from slight flab, but the inner heroism of the films protagonists is played up well in helping tethering the narrative well towards some inspiring direction.

Bollywood Diaries-Examining the absolute damning obsessions of cinema lovers and the passions of performance, Diaries works well around three stories that sadly feel halved rather than those that could be complete and a better dissection on the love of film.

Raman Raghav 2.0-Deconstructing the very devil itself in one of the most slickly constructed plots with some expected Kashyap grime and black humour. The allegory to Ram and Ravaan and the haunting dichotomy as well as similarity between them is an exciting theme that adds flavour to the script. Sadly the characters don't seem cut out for this.

Pink-Despite the fact that Pink fails to address some deeper rooted questions of consent and simplifies the concept with a convenient ending. Yet the film definitely has highs most importantly its plot working to open up the conversation on patriarchy and more importantly consent.

Udta Punjab-Though the film seems tame in comparison and has both a rushed third act yet drabs on for long in it's second act, not to mention some sketchily written characters [among them sadly Kareena Kapoors], the film has the perfect dose of black humour and dark drama that picks up thanks to a thrilling hyperlink narrative and some powerful dialogues.


As for the others, here are the nominees...

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Screenplay [Comedy/Romantic/Musical]




Best Comedy/Romantical/Musical 

Screenplay






As I mentioned, Deadpool put it best; the screenwriters are the real heroes and that films star Ryan Reynolds can attest to that as he fought for the comic book character [conceptualized by and taken forward by writers] to make it to the silver screen because he witnessed how wonderful the script is that it deserved a chance when no one else would give it.

Now Deadpool is a big box office success, looking towards a slew of sequels. The films champion still remains its screenplay.

The same can be said for a lot of films this year; after all if the complete Studio System breakdown in the Hindi film industry taught us anything, it is this;

That films of a middling or a heavy budget dependent on mid-level stars have failed because these studios see stars and are struck unwilling to rely on strong screenplays instead.

Wherever even the Hindi mainstream goes, cinema will always turn back to the one thing that eventually it is the screenplay that is King and these ones nearly took the throne;

Happy Bhag Jayegi-Despite some hiccups, the screwball comedy of Happy harkens back to Anand L. Rai's own films [he is producer here] giving way to moments of both great levity and drama when need be and creating the quirkiest bunch of characters this side of cinema.

Jugni-It has its issues especially a drab second act but the maturity the writing presents in understanding romance is as well crafted as the films reverence for classical folk tunes. Its a musical piece well versed in milieu and character grounded to it.

Dear Dad-Though the comedy seems a tad bit overdone, the slice of life film places its characters in interesting situations building one of the nicest father-son dynamics in modern Hindi cinema. Despite some overwritten moments, the easy way the narrative unfolds makes for an enjoyable ride.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil-This one isn't a nomination as much as it is a need to discuss this conflicting film. It's execution lacks, there's absurd moments of characterization yet the thematic heart of the film is something that can move anyone. The idea of unrequited love is strong and while poorly mishandled, there are scenes and moments that work most importantly when this is taken into consideration. It's a poignant and personal point of the film, especially for me, hence why Ae Dil was an anticipated experience that sadly disappointed due to its superfluous and confused elements. I wish to find some time later to extensively discuss this film in all its glory and less so.

Let us end this discussion with a look at the past best screenplay winners and what they brought to the table;

HIndie Award for Best Dialogue: Vipul Vig for Fukrey, 2014
HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Comedy/Musical]: Rajat Kapoor for Aankhon Dekhi, 2015
HIndie Award for Best Screenplay [Comedy/Romantic]: Juhi Chaturvedi for Piku, 2016

Of the three winners of the comedy/romantic/musical screenplay award two of them are slice of life films with a light dramatic but also humorous bent.  Four of the five nominees are practically such kind of comedies, where as the last one matches up a lot with the zany Fukrey.

So let's see who the winner shall be...

Monday, 6 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role [Drama]




Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role 

Motion Picture Drama





If anything has been proven this year, it is this;

Stars might effectively be insecure about their positions, but Hindi cinemas leading man are looking to use this so called fear for the good and prove with their acting capabilities why they are at the top despite of what else people may say of their abilities or capabilities.

This year alone we have two big leading men of the past two decades on the nomination list, not to mention one of them is a double nominee this year [in different categories of course].

The five nominees this year also are a mix bag of the proof of where Hindi cinema is headed barring box office successes and failures.

So where is it headed?

At least for the leading men, it is headed in a position where actors experiment with genre roles, the biopic becomes a place to deliver fine performances and thespians are still very much in demand for in demand roles.

All in all, nobody is eating into anybody's work and more importantly everyone shines. Though of course some don't get to shine bright enough and so here they are as Honourable mentions;

Amitabh Bachchan in Te3n-Of the three Angry Old Man roles Bachchan sir has done this year in order to reinvent his former Angry Young Man persona, this was the best. While he was a bit gravely in Wazir and could be caught in the act in Pinkl, it was in Te3n he proved what a masterclass performer he is with a turn that carries the weight of time with him.

Sushant Singh Rajput in MS. Dhoni-Though stifled by an absolutely horrendous film and some moments of ill advised VFX work; Rajput does his best to prove why he is one of the most versatile talents working today with a measured performance that sells us on the MS. Dhoni which the film tries to project

Salman Khan in Sultan-The one role where Salman Khan puts in effort to at least show if he cannot handle the strength of heavy drama he can at least prove to try and do so.

Randeep Hooda in Sarabjit-Completely destroyed by an atrocious film, a film that overhypes Aishwarya Rai's screechy performance as Sarabjit's sister; it is Hooda who tries to save the film with a calculated melodramatic turn.

Akshay Kumar in Airlift-In what is probably his finest performance [maybe], Akshay Kumar proves once more that he is consistently able to reinvent himself and prove a resilient performer in whatever genre is given.

Vicky Kaushal in Raman Raghav 2.0-He might fail to match up to his co-star but he comes oh so close with a performance that proves Kaushal is a performer with unbelievable talent and determination to prove versatility with a role. Providing the perfect mirror foil to Siddiqui. 

Shahid Kapoor in Udta Punjab-Though as mentioned in the ensemble section, Kapoor goes a bit too bug eyed and he is acting like a druggie more than embodying one. In the smaller moments, the quieter of reflection, Kapoor is a revelation and showcases why he is a former Best Actor Drama winner. 

And now for our nominees, these five are top class performer and undoubtedly stars of their genres and generations.

Of five of them;

Nawazuddin Siddiqui has 5 nominations with 0 wins

Aamir Khan has 1 nomination with 0 wins

Naseeruddin Shah has 2 nominations with 0 wins

And the other two [Shahrukh Khan and Manoj Bajpayee] have not been nominated ever in the past three official  Hindie Awards.

What that means that one of these nominees will win their first best actor award in any category but in this case in drama...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Female] in A Leading Role [Drama]




Best Actor [Female] in a Leading Role

Motion Picture Drama




Take the fact that last year I struggled to fill the five nomination slots in order to find commendable leading roles for women in the drama category, let alone on the other side as well.

Take the fact that this year I struggled to find the five best female leads in drama because there was such a range of great choices to choose from.

Indeed things are good and the times they are a changing.

As for the current crop of female actors on the list, they are a great mix of up and coming talents divided well between contemporary new generation stars and stalwart performers just now getting their due after years of toiling away.

It's the fresh faces that work in both cases on a bigger platform to showcase their talents.

Taking a look at these five, let us see what they have accomplished in the past three HIndie Awards;

Kalki Koechlin has 2 nominations with 0 wins

Tannishta Chatterjee has 1 nomination despite having been probably one of the most talented actors of our time, most of her films are still seeking release.

Sonam Kapoor has 1 nomination with 0 wins

Alia Bhatt has 1 prior nomination with 1 win for her stellar turn in Highway, this year she features as a lead nominee in both genre slots with a loss in the comedy/romantic/musical section coming just a few posts ago.

As for Radhika Apte this is her first Best Actor [Drama] nomination though she won the Breakthrough Female award last year. Indeed what a year can do.

Before we find out who won, let us see who didn't make the cut this year;

Anushka Sharma in Sultan-Though her character may have eventually been shortchanged with some terrible plot points, Sharma just as the underdog narrative rises above the bad to provide a stellar turn that reminds us why she is one of India's finest actors today.

Tapsee Pannu in Pink-Holding her own against the great Amitabh Bachchan, there may be moments where she slips up but Pannu proves that despite her simplistic typecasting down south; she can be a livewire performer when ably supported by the script.

Vidya Balan in Kahaani 2-I got to see this one after the list of nominees was cleared but she honestly would have not made the cut. Though she never rises above the subtly complexities presented in the original film, in the sequel she pitches the dramatics high to create a character that builds both intrigue and poignant empathy proving why that she is a champion despite how bad a script can be.


That is eight contenders for the throne, four more than I honestly had last year; what a year it has been, so onto the top five nominees...


HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role [Comedy/Romantic/Musical]




Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role

Motion Picture Comedy/Romantic/Musical




A section that has always favoured powerful female character actors, in the past we have witnessed some glorious winners. They've all been veteran thespians of course, so can a newbie break the streak or do we continue the beautiful pattern.

Well at first we shall have to see what our nominees have accomplished so far;

Sadhana Singh is a veteran character actor who hasn't really ever got her due, she's the Nicole Kidman [Lion] and Michelle Williams [Manchester by The Sea] equivalent this year with a small role that creates a big impact.

This is Aishwarya Rai's first nomination since her unbelievably bland comeback for a performance worth discussing. 

Tabu secures her second nomination after her first in the parallel supporting category [drama] for her stellar work in Haider and winning it there with possibly the best performance of the decade in Hindi cinema.

The veteran Ratna Pathak Shah captures her first nomination, she would have got one for Ek Main aur Ekk Tu [Shakun Batra's first film] had I began the awards on my first year of the blog.

In her debut film, Riya Shukla scores a big nomination. Does a big win follow?

We will find out soon enough, but first the honourables that missed the cut but not a mention;

Momal Sheikh in Happy Bhag Jayegi-As the stoic Zoya, Sheikh is the picture perfect portrait of stern and smart while the other characters are goofing up in their quest to get Happy and Guddu reunited. When she sees her fiancé slipping for Happy, she can't help but feel hurt yet find a fortified strength to do and say what is right for all relationships. It's a sweet dramatic turn hidden among zany comedic performers.

Meghna Malik in Zubaan-The veteran TV actor has already proven that she is a superlative talent regardless of content and the same holds true in Zubaan where she plays the harsh and snarky Mandira but also holding her own as things go breaking down for her messed up family. She's a delight to watch unfold on screen.

Sughada Gharg in Tere Bin Laden 2-In the original she was a rough and tumble make up artist, this meta sequel turn it all over the head turning Gharg's character into an oversexed up eager actor who say 'I wanna do' with such deadpan conviction the hilarity is unbelievable. It's a funny turn made all the fun to watch in the way she sets up her co-stars.

Ekavali Khanna in Dear Dad-As the soon to be divorced wife of a gay man, Khanna doesn't much to really do in regards to the film especially since she already has come to terms with her husbands secrets. However Khanna gives a very self aware turn as the consistent voice of conscious for her husband and eventually her son as well. 

Aditi Rao Hydari in Fitoor-A complementary performance as the young Begum Jaan to Tabu's wizened haunted version, Hydari sparkles with a romantic naivety building for us the very narrative thread that links both versions of the characters and demystifies the macabre ways of the Begum and her Machiavellian schemes.

Alia Bhatt in Kapoor and Sons-She has a smaller role than usual in Kapoor and Sons, but even here we get to see Bhatt shine particularly in the chemistry with the boys as well as another breakdown scene that she completely nails. 

Phew that's a big list, but there's more, there's these nominees...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Female] in a Leading Role [Comedy/Romantic/Musical]




Best Actor [Female] in a Leading Role 

Motion Picture Comedy/Romantic/Musical




So the first of five leading ladies get to showcase their brilliance right now.

It has been an exceptional year at least in terms of performance, specifically for the women. So much so that it has been a difficult task to find the right five that deserve to be showcased at the top, not necessarily because there's a lack of nominees rather because there are some amazing ones.

Before we get to those unlucky women that lost out on the cut, here is a look see at the women that make up the nomination ballot and what they've accomplished so far in the past 3 official HIndie Awards;

Sughanda Gharg gets her first ever nomination in any acting category for Jugni!

Anushka Sharma has had 2 nomination with 0 wins and this is her third nomination and her first one in this category.

Swara Bhaskar was nominated once in the first ever HIndie awards but lost out, this is her first fight for a leading award

In Hetal Gada's first film, the young gem of a talent secures a nomination

Alia Bhatt's first of two nominations this year in dual leading categories. She won the drama award formerly with 1 nomination for that 1 win, with Imtiaz Ali's Highway.

And now those honorable mentions;

Diana Penty in Happy Bhaag Jayegi-She gets points for trying especially doing well in the softer romantic moments, but Penty's return to the screen is marred by her inability to crackle like her co-stars in the screwball moments.

Neha Sharma in Tum Bin 2-The film might be a sappy melodramatic rehash of the original, but what it has over it is an in tune performance by Sharma who tries in vain to save the film. She proves the with an addition of years of experience and a better script, she too could one day be considered a top class actor if nothing else.

Now let us move onto those five that just trumped the whole year...

Sunday, 5 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Male] in a Supporting Role [Comedy/Romantic/Musical]




Best Actor [Male] in a Supporting Role 

Motion Picture Comedy/Romantic/Musical






Quite an eccentric cast of actors, this one comes up to a mix of nominee who are all about recognition, remembrance and most importantly redemption.

I don't know what else to say, but this kind of section is where character actors have thrived for years and where leading men have found a lease on life.

So let's just look through what each our five are capable of or have accomplished;

The Kathakar Piyush Mishra secures his first nomination, he missed out one for his work in Pink though for drama.

Pankaj Tripathi also secures his first nomination with a redemption in comedy after his poor turn in Dilwale.

The first of two stellar nominations for the King Khan, what a year it has been for him.

Rishi Kapoor gains his second nomination having won it in the initial year, that is a supporting actor award.

Finally, Sikander Kher is another man who gains redemption with probably his finest role ever.

And before we head to the depths of their brilliance, here is a look see at those that missed the cut;

Varun Dhawan in Dishoom-Channelling his innate comic timing and charisma, Dhawan once again proves that he can raise the levels of even the most mediocre material given the chance and this one has Dhawan's child like comedic chops all over it.

Jimmy Shergill in Happy Bhag Jayegi-Always the bridesmaid never the bride and once again with this non-nomination, Shergill proves it in a role that allows a doltish side of the actor to shine through. It takes someone as confident as Shergill to perform with a straight face while the world pulls wool over your eyes and makes you the running joke of the film.

Rajat Kapoor in Kapoor and Sons-Killed by a convenient death, Rajat Kapoor still proves his mettle as a down on his luck father trying to suppress his own guilt and failures but always coming up short.

Satish Kaushik in Dishoom-This is more of a special mention as Kaushik gives a hilarious voice performance in the best running gag of any film this year and the only real laugh out loud moment of the bland dishoom.

And now onto the nominees...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Male] in a Supporting Role [Drama]




Best Actor [Male] in a Supporting Role

Motion Picture Drama




Taking a step back, or in a way continuing from our previous award; we are here at the best supporting male drama category. Last year it was won by Ranvir Shorey, the year before Anil George and before that Rishi Kapoor.

Whether your an underdog, obscure or veteran actor; this one's mostly for that type of a performer who might lurk in the shadow of the hero but definitely outshines everyone 8 times out of 10.

This year though they are number 3 from the bottom, not to say that's not great though. It definitely is for these five guys, but what came before for them?

Ashish Vidyarthi, a veteran character actor score his first nomination in a film that he was just as much leading as he was supporting. Better push here though.

Jim Sarbh's big debut gets him his first nod.

Bajpayee is a two time nominee this year itself.

Like his co-star, Salim Diwan gets his first nomination from his first film.

And finally the man to beat Rajkumar Rao has ad 2 nomination in the leading drama category with 1 win, also being nominated once in the other supporting category yet losing it. The one win was for Hansal Mehta's Shahid, which was the finest male Hindi performance of the decade so far.

Anyways, apart from these men there are others that just didn't cut it;

Satish Kaushik in Udta Punjab-As the somewhat hilarious uncle to Shahid Kapoor's Tommy Singh, Kaushik brings both the rustic and comedic to this role in equal aplomb.

Satyadeep Mishra in Phobia-Playing the so called nice guy, there's a creepy and sinister attitude to him that is underplayed with a genuine sweetness and Mishra gives the great edge to this performance.

I'm trying to remember the other great champions but I cannot, forgive me.

Anyways onto the nominees...

Saturday, 4 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role [Drama]




Best Actor [Female] in a Supporting Role

Motion Picture Drama




It has indeed been a phenomenal year for women in Hindi cinema, when I can take one of the years finest performances and decide to pull an "Oscar" by shoving her from supporting to leading because it's difficult to not want to have both fine turns nominated.

I am of course speaking of Radhika Apte in Parched, whose film title might allude to her condition and she might have a leading stance but the narrative's slight nudge towards Rani [Chatterjee] allows me to justify a push from leading to supporting, this is because Apte is so phenomenal in both this and Phobia it was hard to decide which to choose. So I chose both, sue me, it's my blog.

Speaking of the other nominees, since Apte has only been a Breakthrough award winner before, what do the other have or have had in store;

Amruta Subhash was a nominee last year in the Indian Language category for Best Lead Actor. As for the other three, they've never tasted a nomination; so one thing is absolutely assured, we are going to get a new winner today!

But first, to those that missed the cut;

Zaira Wasim for Dangal-The young firebrand practically won the breakthrough award but she proved to be such a powerful talent it was hard to deny her this mention.

Richa Chada for Sarabjit-Shortchanged by her role in this horrendously made biopic, Chada proves why she is still one of the most talented and yes sought after character actors with the ability to transform herself for any film.

I can't think of any more deserving candidates, so let's move onto our nominees...

Friday, 3 February 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role [Comedy/Romantic/Musical]




Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role 

Motion Picture Comedy/Musical/Romantic




If we are to asses this year's nominees then one thing comes across fairly easily;

Unless you are a regular staple of the romantic genre, the way it seems Ranbir Kapoor has made it his own, then it isn't easy finding actors and roles that play perfectly to what can be deemed the lighter genres especially if we are to look for absolute quality performances.

Another thing is that where once comedy was found in the puerile stereotyping of homosexuals, today we've found a balance between our standard perceptions of the grouping as well as individualistic complexities of the character whether gay or straight. It's a neat step forward indeed when a character becomes flesh and blood regardless of their sexual orientation. It thus allows humour to arrive from a much more organic place.

Next on the list is that we might not get purely musical movies with such poetic whimsy like La La Land, but Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar has definitely opened the idea of the exploration of romance in music and musicians.

In a way that describes these five nominees, but what about the others, you know the ones that just didn't cut it into the top five. Well there aren't many, but here they are;

Manoj Bajpayee in Saat Uchakey-Capping of one of his finest years, as the leading man in this farcical comic caper; Bajpayee gets to go lighter and prove why he has just as good comedic chops as he does dramatic ones.

Krrish Chhabria in Dhanak-As the heart of the film to his sisters soul, Chhabria is such a sweet child actor he doesn't need to do much even though he does with a fiery tongue and sweet naivety while portraying the blind young Chotu with utmost conviction. [PS: Please take tips from him on how to do it better for the next time; Yami Gautam and Hrithik Roshan]

Manish Paul in Tere Bin Laden 2-He might be overshadowed by the more quirky members of the cast, but Paul proves that he has the ability to be a comedic leading force with his screwball antics and expressions as well as his witty comic timing.

Pradhyuman Singh in Tere Bin Laden 2-Donning the Bin Laden get up once more, Pradhyuman Singh is an absolute delight as the comedically inept Padhi especially when put across from and intimidated by Sughanda Gharg. His milk fascination is another thing altogether.


Now the nominees...

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Ensemble Cast




Best Ensemble Cast 

in a Motion Picture





Sometimes it takes more than a great individual performance to make a great film, it takes a slew of good performances to do so as well.

It takes those shining lead super stars,

Their able and strong supporting cast,

And the numerous surprisingly effective small actors and roles.

Above all else, it takes a casting director to find and mould the right talents for the right script.

There were many well cast films this year that didn't necessarily rely on star power but a collective of in tune and highly motivated actors, among those that missed the main cut are;

Dhanak-Feature two solid performances from its young leads, Dhanak was ably made the better by the number of quirky characters Chotu and Pari meet through their uplifting journey with a plethora of well knows players leaving their mark from the always dependable Vipin Sharma to the surprising Raghuram of Roadies.

Parched-Though very much focused on its three leads, the men around them were an equal thrill to watch as actors in surprising roles provided a profound outlook on the multi faceted view of men in a patriarchal society. Particular stand out being Adil Hussain as a hunky mysterious cave dwelling saint.

Dear Zindagi-The focus on its two stars might make people forget that the low key supporting cast was an absolute delight on screen, especially Alia Bhatt's group of friends and string of lovers made famous by fun cameos.

Phobia-This might be an unexpected one considering that Phobia has Radhika Apte in a towering performance that whisky away the whole film, but she had a cast of three to four smart actors ably hitting the right notes and strides towards a crazy conclusion specifically former HIndie Award nominee Satyadeep Mishra in a genre shifting role.


And now onto the nominees...

Saturday, 28 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Breakthrough Director




Best Breakthrough Director





This year alone has proven one thing, it is new and rookie filmmakers that are pushing the envelope  on India's filmmaking, as is apt for the future.

Of the ten films nominated for best picture this year in both categories, five of the filmmakers are near newbies looking to leave their own stamp. Two of the others are filmmakers who've already experienced their own breakthroughs.

It's a showcase that undoubtedly paints a picture of a hopeful future despite what can be considered a disappointing year of films in comparison to the rest of this past decade.

 Even then these filmmakers are a terrific bunch and some others more, here are honourable mentions and a bit more:

Raja Krishna Menon for Airlift-Despite some pitfalls, Menon's Airlift is made engaging by his ability to hold attention to a scene and create both intense thrills as well as purely melodramatic moments that resonate, nearly saving the film from mediocrity.

Soumendra Padhi for Budhia Singh Born to Run-Though his budget seems curbed to the point of making the film nearly ineffective , Padhi's greatest moment comes when he extracts a fine performance from his young star and stages the big running scene with such precision; the balance of the questions raised creates a scary ambiguity with the film [elaborated later in the screenplay award]

Anirudha Roy Chowdary for Pink-He tries, but the inconsistent tone with which Roy crafts Pink is what lets the film down despite some well created moments of tension.

And now these are the nominees...

Thursday, 26 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Breakthrough Actor [Male]




Best Breakthrough Actor

Male




After the most "prestigious" Hindi film awards this year, a certain star kid [the so called label for an actor churned out from the loins of a yesteryear or current star] stated his utmost disappointment about how he lost the best debut award to a Punjabi film actor who made a stirring debut in his first film and nearly walked away with the whole thing.

The said star kid had issues as the winning actor had already been a long reigning star on top of the Punjabi film industry and it seemed unfair to hand him the debut award. While this debate is questionable, most would question whether the entitled star son was really deserving of the award as he gave a tepid performance in a tepid film.

All said, he had a point just not the mettle to back it up, to be fair despite a well deserved win for the Punjabi mega star, these awards at the end of the day are a complete sham. Though my hypocrisy allows me to state, that if I won one; I'd jump at the chance to go get it [deserved or not] ;)

PS: You can hate me for that statement all you want, filmwalas in Hindi cinema and around the world are a fickle bunch as it is.

But these awards matter, at least to me; somewhere in my small ego mind I imagine I am at least bringing to light those films that didn't get a chance at the big awards due to the lack of big stars despite the fact that they are the best films of the year.

Secondly these awards are not about a debut as such, instead these ones signify awards for breakthrough performers this year.

Not necessarily performances but rather actors who shattered a certain barrier when it comes to the close knit structure of the Hindi film fraternity.

Take for example our previous female award winner; Radhika Apte, as I said, she was far from a debutant in Hindi film and film in general yet with her quantity of quality roles she stood out and managed to prove her mettle on a bigger platform.

And now take for example this man, yes it's agreed; he is a Punjabi megastar and despite his commercial hero appeal he has managed to give some fine performances example his haunting turn in Punjab 1984.

So let's give it up to this not so debutant, breakthrough actor...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Breakthrough Actor [Female]



Best Breakthrough Actor

Female





When we say breakthrough, it does not mean debut necessarily.

The word breakthrough implies someone who has taken the next step in pushing boundaries and reaching a new level of improvement or status in their career, in this case the acting class of filmmaking which is normally shut out for outsiders.

Last year with a quantity full of quality performances Radhika Apte broke new ground in the Indian film industry and last year not only was she one of the best performers but is a double nominee in the leading and supporting drama categories at the HIndie Awards.

Breakthrough could be a debut actor who gives a stirring performance [they could also be nominated elsewhere for this] or it could be an actor whose role and performance brought them into the limelight and the big leagues. Anything and everything.

This year's case is however the former, she's not necessarily a debutant; she worked as a child actor but now makes a full fledged debut in one of the most celebrated films of the year. More importantly she's not alone...

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Indian Language Motion Picture




Best Indian Language 

Motion Picture




Here it is, the biggie.

Whether it is at home or around the world, today slowly and steadily Indian cinema is gaining a grand reputation beyond conventions yet within the bounds of what is authentically Indian.

Visaranai went to the Oscars, though it did not crack the final rounds; it gained nice traction and mileage

Chauthi Koot has become a celebrated film at festivals around the world including the Mumbai Film Festival in 2015 [where I managed to catch it]

Equally lauded was Kannada piece Thithi which ended up finally confirming the fact that the winds of change are high on Sandalwood cinema.

Kammatipadam was a bumper hit and a huge showcase was made about it beyond the south, with star actor Dulquer Salman looking like a future prospect of Indian cinema in general.

Cinemawala reminds us that even though the heyday may have passed long ago, there still is rich content and talent in Bengali cinema looking to thrive.

Netflix tapped into the English language Indian market bringing out a fun side to the obscure Q with Brahman Naman

Finally Sairat dominated the box office, where Hollywood constantly trumped big Hindi projects with little substance, Sairat turned out to be a dark horse gem that changed and propelled the face of Marathi cinema.

Each of these films, different languages but one unified thought; they were all great pieces of cinema.

So enough of their praise, and now onto more praise. But before that, some honourable mentions...

Maheshinte Prathikaram [Malyalam]-I missed this one just by a whisker, viewing it just after the nominees were announced. I wont say which of this or Kammatipadam is better, but this was a fun mystery film with Fahad Fasil giving a stellar lead turn.

Iraivi [Tamil]-The also ran, I've said enough on this film so let's just move on.

Ventilator [Marathi]-Family dysfunction isn't reserved for just Hindi cinema, in Priyanka Chopra's maiden venture; a family comes together when their eldest member suffers a stroke and is put on a ventilator. Hilarious without a fault and absolutely wonderfully woven characters.

There is more I'm sure, but this is all for now.

So onto the nominees...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Director [Indian Language]




Best Director

[Indian Language]





Mel Gibson just got a directorial nomination at this years Academy Awards, a well deserved one for his visceral work in Hacksaw Ridge. This is despite his controversial past and anti-Semitic views. 

I'm sorry, I'm just a bit ecstatic. When a filmmaker despite all that is his personal life creates a film worth viewing and at least doesn't overtly or in this case even subtly display his questionable views then there's nothing wrong in applauding the worker, the work and the workmanship if not the person.

I mean to be fair, even despite the obviously Nazi glorifying propaganda Leni Riefenstahl is still a fine filmmaker if not even one of the finest.

That is the power of a filmmaker, regardless of agenda the vision should flourish and flourish such that the essence of cinema remain intact; even when they push a point or make a film for commercial appeal.

The best example being last years winners both Meghna Gulzar [Talvar] and Chaitanya Tamhane [Court]

So whether it was a mainstream Marathi sensation or a specific indictment of the law and order system, these five directors deserve the applause and more...

HIndie Awards: Best Screenplay [Indian Language]




Best Screenplay

[Indian Language]




First and foremost being a writer, this means that this specific post is far more important [except for the other two] then anything else I write.

Being a writer but also an objective viewer of cinema and the industries around film means that writing is far more important then anything else in the movie business.

Yet writers are probably never given the kind of respect that directors command nor the visibility that actors do. We're not as paid as much, we're not even sometimes liked as much; just see the myriad of dredge Hindi cinema churns out every year that disregards the one important thing;

The script.

So for those disrespected and those beloved, here are these superstar writing nominees...

Sunday, 22 January 2017

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Male] in a Supporting Role [Indian Language]




Best Actor [Male] in a Supporting Role

[Indian Language]





Here it is, the best actor winner among the bunch.

This year features five performer of a varied school, skill, age and most importantly language.

Each one enhances the film they are in as the ultimate supporting player. So does it really matter who wins, since each one shines in this tough race.

Onto the nominees as we were...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Female] in a Leading Role [Indian Language]




Best Actor [Female] in a Leading Role

[Indian Language]





In 2017 the exponential increase in roles especially of the leading kind for female actors has been heartening.

We've seen a varied type of roles be created and performed across the board and performers have especially shined in the various languages, not just Hindi.

A source of greatest approval has been the terrific roles written down south especially in hero-centric films, mostly because they rarely appreciate the other side of talents.

Take for example Trisha's role in Kodi, written absolutely well with a stronger arc even than her male co-star in Dhanush. She might not have been talented enough to take it to the next level, but Trisha still should get credit for stepping up to the challenge unlike ever.

As for our nominees?

Well, these ones are just absolutely special...

HIndie Awards 2017: Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role [Indian Language]




Best Actor [Male] in a Leading Role 

[Indian Language]




The supposed big one in any language, in any award show, no matter the better performance; but, I play, fair.

As such the second ranked Indian Language acting award of the night. Last year Basabdatta Chaterjee scored the big win for his subtle, nuanced and sober turn in Bengali love poem Asha Jaoar Majhe.

So who gets it this time round, here are our nominees...