Let’s face it: Bollywood award ceremonies are becoming increasingly unnecessary and irrelevant.
An inside joke goes that if a big star deigns to attend an awards ceremony, he invariably takes home a trophy that night.
While Bollywood stars may not use the statuettes as a door stop just yet, its importance has definitely eroded over the years with ludicrous categories such as Entertainer Of The Year and The Style Icon of The Year added to the traditional Best Actor and Best Actress nominations, almost as a consolation prize for actors who bother to turn up.
But when did grim facts come between a Bollywood awards night, that’s more a glittering, lavish Broadway production than an actual celebration of merit?
After having witnessed and covered half a dozen award ceremonies in various parts of the globe, I can vouch that Bollywood awards nights are usually one glorious, gigantic party where everything that happens must be taken with a pinch of salt.
It’s a night where Bollywood stars dress in their finest, display heartwarming camaraderie and learn to let go with fans that swarm the red carpet. Their mantra for the night usually goes: work hard, but dance harder.
As I gear up to cover the 16th International Indian Film Academy Awards in Bangkok this weekend, my seventh awards night assignment, I can’t help but be excited.
This three-day weekend of the annual travelling awards show is going to transform Bangkok into a playground teeming with Bollywood’s bold and the beautiful.
If my past experiences at the Iifas are any indication, then it’s also a moment where you get to witness stars being goofy.
At Iifa 2014 in Toronto, it was a delight to watch Shah Rukh Khan teach Canadian-Indians on how to bust some Bollywood moves.
“Imagine your pants are loose and you are pulling it up or imagine your back is itching and you are using your handkerchief to rub your neck — you will get Aamir’s Aati Kya Khandela steps,” said Khan as he goaded his fans to ape his moves. A few years later, Iifa also invited now-tainted, but then-celebrated Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey to get a taste of Bollywood. He returned the favour by dancing terribly in a lungi [unstitched cloth] with Deepika Padukone. It’s these golden moments that make such awards shows seem less-scripted and disarmingly genuine.
Another constant in such Bollywood awards shows is the collective tardiness that stars display. They may have catfights when the cameras are turned off, but they are united in their efforts to turn up late on the red carpet. Such unity makes me reach for my tissues — a couple of hours delay is the new normal at such awards.
But these are tiny blips in an otherwise fun-filled, zany event. Here’s hoping Iifa 2018 in Bangkok also throws up a few surprise wins along the way too.