The 61st Filmfare Awards, held on Friday night – amidst its starry performances and red carpet shindigs – threw up a few surprises, but a predictable list of mainstream winners. There were also some major snubs, which is now par for the course for most awards functions, given Bollywood’s famed allergy to ‘festival-type films’ and ‘alternate cinema’. Not surprisingly, it was the good-looking film that perhaps looked the most difficult to make (often a period drama, subject to its box office performance) that took home the major awards. The littler, better movies, of course, were honored with a few technical and ‘critic’ awards.
Let’s take a more honest look at the final winners:
Best Actor: Ranveer Singh for BAJIRAO MASTANI
Ranbir Kapoor probably deserved it for Tamasha, as did Irrfan Khan for Talvar (not even nominated), but seeing as physical transformations, mega scales and different dialects are generally looked at with adoring eyes here, one can understand why Singh won his first ‘Best Actor’ trophy.
Best Actress: Deepika Padukone for PIKU
Everyone called this one. Kalki definitely deserved recognition for her terrific turn in Margarita, With A Straw, but as far as mainstream cinema went, Deepika outshined the likes of Anushka (NH10) and Kangana Ranaut (who deservedly won the Critics’ award for her double role in Tanu Weds Manu Returns).
Best Film: BAJIRAO MASTANI
Baffling call, considering Badlapur, Piku and other better films were part of this list. But, considering this is a popular voting award, it’s always the final few films of the year that remains fresh in public memory.
Best Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali for BAJIRAO MASTANI
Again, when you have Sriram Raghavan in the list, how can one even look beyond Badlapur? Bhansali made a good film, but it was far from his best, or even the best of 2015.
Best Debut Director: Neeraj Ghaywan for MASAAN
Much deserved, though one wonders why him and Kanu Behl (Titli) wasn’t considered for any of the main awards.
Best Debutant (Male): Sooraj Pancholi for HERO
The night’s most ridiculous decision, by a mile. The film was terrible; even Pancholi was wooden. Vicky Kaushal (Masaan) had to win this in any sane-minded jury’s books. Then again, it’s always the star sons and daughters that walk away with this one.
Best Debutant (Female): Bhumi Pednekar for DUM LAGA KE HAISHA
This should have ideally gone to Shweta Tripathi for Masaan, but the ‘indies’ were ignored for most awards, so Pednekar winning isn’t entirely a bad thing – considering this was one of two fantastic YRF films of the year. The other being Titli.
Best Film (Critics): PIKU
Piku belongs to the popular category, and though it is a very good film, where is the love for Talvar, Titli, Masaan, Badlapur and NH10?
Best Actor (Critics): Amitabh Bachchan for PIKU
His performance deserved more recognition, but I suppose this is the maximum a great performance can hope for. The Critics’ award usually means “You were the best of the year, but we can’t give you the main popular award.” Also, why is there no Ranvir Shorey (Titli) on any list here?
Best Actress (Critics): Kangana Ranaut for TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS
Her turn as the Haryanvi athlete ‘Datto’ was award-worthy indeed, though many would have gone with the less mainstream and more critic-worthy Kalki (for Margarita, With A Straw) instead.
Best Supporting Actor (Male): Anil Kapoor for DIL DHADAKNE DO
Good choice, but one can’t surely look past Nawazuddin Siddiqui for Badlapur as well as Bajrangi Bhaijaan?
Best Supporting Actor (Female): Priyanka Chopra for BAJIRAO MASTANI
Chopra shined the most in the slightly overrated movie, but her performance wasn’t better than the likes of Shweta Tripathi for Masaan or even her own performance in Dil Dhadakne Do.
Best Screenplay: Juhi Chaturvedi for PIKU
Piku thrived on her characters, words and tiny cultural nuances. One of the rare sane decisions of the night.
Best Dialogue: Himanshu Sharma for TANU WEDS MANU RETURNS
Sharma has a long way to go as far as screenplays are concerned, but his lines – especially for Kangana – were the best part of the film.
Best Lyrics: Irshad Kamil for AGAR TUM SAATH HO (Tamasha)
Varun Grover was expected to win this for Dum Laga Ke Haisha, but Kamil’s words and Rahman’s music is a tough combination to ignore.
Best Music: ROY
They can’t keep giving it to Rahman, and considering this is a popular (read: maximum foot-tapping hits) award, Roy’s music topped the charts in early 2015. A fair decision, this.
Best Story: Vijayendra Prasad for BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN
Seriously? Badlapur was by far the best and most subversive mainstream story in recent times.
Best Cinematography: Manu Anand for DUM LAGA KE HAISHA
I can understand this film winning best production design, because its authenticity is defined by more than just its cramped spaces. But it is hard to look past Bajirao Mastani or Tamasha for this award.
Best Production Design: BAJIRAO MASTANI
No. It had to be Dum Laga Ke Haisha, Masaan (both Haridwar-based films), Titli or Talvar. This wasn’t even in the top 5.
Best Sound Design: Shajith Koyeri for TALVAR
NH10 and Badlapur stood out in this category. But perhaps Talvar’s stifling atmosphere and hollowness got it the award.