The almost complete repudiation of Karan Johar’s Kal Ho Naa Ho at Screen’s 10th annual awards concluded last night, has sent shock waves through the film industry.
Though not many wish to voice their opinion loudly it’s generally felt that barring the film for all all major awards except best screenplay (Karan Johar) raises many questions.
"Are these awards honouring excellence or the personal preferences of a handful of jury members," says a surprised actor. "Kal Ho Naa Ho was very successful. It didn’t even get a nomination for Shah Rukh Khan or Preity Zinta who were both quite oustanding."
On the other hand the huge jury approval of the year’s other big hit Koi…Mil Gaya has raised several eyebrows. Says one surprised filmmaker who’s no stranger to awards. "No one can deny Hrithik Roshan his award for best actor. He deserves every honour in the book for his performance. But how can the best picture award be given to Koi…Mil Gaya when it was copied from Steven Spielberg’s ET? The Screen jury had refused to consider the song Kambhakt ishq in Pyar Tune Kya Kiya for best choreography which, it was argued, was copied from a Madonna music video."
Several other voices are being raised at Koi…Mil Gaya being honoured in 3 of the 4 main categories: best picture, best director and best actor. Many feel the two debutantes Nikhil Advani and Raj Kumar Hirani did far better jobs in Kal Ho Naa Ho and Munnabhai MBBS, respectively.
While the omission of Shankar-Ehsan-Loy from the best music director’s category has appalled many, Himesh Reshammiya’s victory for his hummable old-world songs in Tere Naam hasn’t really offended anyone. Nor is Shreya Ghosal’s award for her seductive rendition in Jism open to any dispute, although her rival in category Alka Yagnik has gone on record to call all the other nominees "undeserving."
But the selection of Kailash Kher (Waisa Bhi Hota Hai Part 2) for best male playback singer is being seen as pretty bizarre. "Who is Kailash Kher?" a baffled and ruffled music director asks. "Sonu Nigam’s best song of the year Ek saathi aur bhi tha didn’t even get nominated. Anyway Sonu or Udit Narayan deserved the award for Kal Ho Naa Ho and Tere Naam."
Juhi Chawla happily went home with her award for best supporting actress although she was the leading lady in 3 Deewarein while Manoj Bajpai withdrew from the best supporting actor category a day before the jury reached its verdict arguing he wasn’t the supporting actor in Pinjar.
Manoj who’s just back from from the US after a long holiday says it wasn’t so much the unjust nomination that miffed him. "But they even quoted my reactions to the nomination without even talking to me! While I was totally put off by the nomination I was quoted as saying I was thrilled, etc."
The one award that no has any quibble over, least of all the winner, is Urmila Matondkar. For long deprived of any award even for a performance as riveting as the one in Pyar Tune Kya Kiya, Urmila is delighted. "More so because I won my first award in the night and my new film Ek Haseena Thi was released the next morning."
While the actress has much to be proud and happy about, many within the film industry feel Karan Johar‘s Kal Ho Naa Ho was deliberately snubbed because of the producer’s huge success. "In trying to be democartic the awards have ended up looking arrogant," chuckles a winner.