FilmFare Winners! What Does It All Mean?

Well, the FilmFare Awards happened.  We didn’t get to see it because, unlike the Oscar producers, the FilmFare people are too smart to do a live broadcast.  We’ll get to see a version that is edited down to just the good bits on whatever channel buys the satellite rights.  Which also changes a bit who might be winning these awards.

Some months back, Kangana made the “shocking” revelation that she was told if she wanted an award, she had to attend the award ceremony.  In his autobiography, Rishi revealed that he bought his first FilmFare.  But we all kind of knew this in the background.  Anyway, there is no true “objective” award, not for film, there are too many things involved for there ever to be an objective judgement of quality.  Any awards show has a built in prejudice of some kind.

(Obviously I have to start with this.  A sign of how “seriously” the people who actually attend and win this ceremony take this award.  It’s nice to win, no one pretends it is an actual objective judgement of quality)

With the FilmFare Awards, there are two main concerns: a) getting people to perform who will drive up the satellite purchase price because the audience wants to see them, b) making nice to people that FilmFare wants to interview in their magazine in future.

And so the awards are an excellent sign of who has popularity and power in the industry.  And therefore important.  And maybe also a little bit objective quality, FilmFare wants to make nice with people on the way up as well.  Remember Zoya Akhtar won for Zamaane Ko Dikhane Hai?  Because they picked her out as a director/producer type to watch.  Definitely some of that going on here this year.

This year, the decision was that the audience was going to want to tune in, and FilmFare wants to make nice, with the smaller films.  This is the upside of the big films flopping!  If Jab Harry Met Sejal or Tubelight or Raees had been a hit, they would have taken a bunch of the top prizes.  More respectable than Tiger, they can give an award and still have an appearance of objectivity along with rewarding the big stars that they desperately want to attend.  However, they weren’t big hits, no one would tune in to watch someone win for those movies.  And so FilmFare was left to hunt around for other options.


Best Film: ‘Hindi Medium’

Woot-woot!  A legit award!  A small film with enormous crowd appeal.  But, here’s something interesting, it did even better overseas than at home.  FilmFare is going after that international satellite audience.

Critics’ Award for Best Film: ‘Newton’

The Critics’ award is usually where they put the more high-falutin’ film, so the crowdpleaser can win Best Film and everyone can be happy.  For instance in 2016 the Best Film was Bajirao, and the Critics’ Choice was Piku.  But this year, the Best Film was a high-falutin’ narrow popularity film, and the Critics’ Choice was even more narrow.  Not that they didn’t both have good box office and all that, but nothing compared to Bajirao.

Best Actor In A Leading Role (Female): Vidya Balan for ‘Tumhari Sulu’

This is slightly less surprising.  Female roles are so weak in the mainstream hits, that its not uncommon for this award to go to something a little more off-beat.  Vidya probably would have won this year no matter what, people like her and like seeing her make speeches and wear fancy clothes, and it was a fairly popular film.

Best Actor In A Leading Role (Male) : Irrfan Khan for ‘Hindi Medium’

Very very interesting!!!!!  This is the big award where you usually bring in your big selling point star.  Not necessarily a Khan (although Shahrukh had a streak of winning practically every year), but someone exciting who people want to watch.  If Jagga Jasoos had been a hit, Ranbir would have been a shoe-in.  But it wasn’t.  If Rangoon had been big, Shahid could have been another good choice.  But it wasn’t either.  And so Irrfan is finally rewarded for being quietly excellent for years.

Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Male): Rajkummar Rao for ‘Trapped’

Yeah, even if Ranbir had won, Rajkummar still would have gotten this one.  A remarkable film and a remarkable performance that had to be acknowledged.  And also, a desire to suck up a bit to this rising talent.

Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Female): Zaira Wasim for ‘Secret Superstar’

I could have seen Zaira winning the straight up Best Actor if Tumhari Sulu hadn’t come out.  She is definitely a rising star, and is being mentored by Aamir so it doesn’t hurt to make nice.  And a lot of people saw and liked Secret Superstar.  The only downside is that she is a bit of a wild card in terms of public appearances. Might or might not come to the ceremony, might or might not make a good speech, and so on.  Whereas Vidya is a known quantity.

Best Director: 
Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari for ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’

Yaaaaaaaay!  This is an excellent sign.  That FilmFare thinks Ashwiny is on her way up, that people saw and cared about Bareilly enough to want to tune in and watch it win, and all the rest of it.  It could also be a tiny bit of sucking up to Ashwiny’s husband, director of Dangal, but I choose not to believe that.

Best Debut Director: Konkona Sensharma for ‘A Death in the Gunj’

Oh very nice, very nice!  Of course, Konkona is crazy connected, so there would be a lot of people rooting for her, but it also gives a stamp of approval to her as a director, which is very nice.  And hopefully gives a little publicity to her film.  Also, notice that both the Best Debut and the Best Director were female this year.  Suck it Hollywood!!!!!  FilmFare is better than the Oscars in Gender Parity!!!!

Best Actor In A Supporting Role (Male): 
Rajkummar Rao for ‘Bareilly Ki Barfi’

Rajkummar won twice and yeah, that seems fair this year.  It really was his year.  And again, FilmFare is recognizing that and solidifying their relationship with him.

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female): Meher Vij for ‘Secret Superstar’

Secret Superstar was a good solid hit nationally and internationally.  And Aamir is behind it, and FilmFare is still desperately trying to make up with him anyway they can.  But also, Meher’s performance was just stunning.  She’s been a bit on her way up too, made an impression in Bajrangi Bhaijaan and this just confirmed it.  She won’t be a big heroine, but she could be another Reema Lagoo or Raakhee or Farid Jalal, a solid respected female character actress that is in all the big films.  Not a bad person to have on the TV screens, and not a bad person to have a little more willing to answer your call for interviews.

Best Dialogue: Hitesh Kewalya for ‘Shubh Mangal Saavdhan’

Yaaaay!  Okay, these are the awards no one cares about that might be edited out of the broadcast, but that also means they are kind of the most honest.  These are the people that FilmFare and the industry sincerely admire for the work they have done this year.  And I am glad that little Shubh Mangal Saavdhan is getting some kind of respect.

Best Screenplay: Shubhashish Bhutiani for ‘Mukti Bhavan’

Same as above, another award that won’t increase your TV ratings, or ever have someone you want to put on the cover of your magazine, and so it is honest.

Best Original Story: Amit Masurkar for ‘Newton’

And again.  Also, hey!  He wrote Sulemani Keeda which I have a vague friend of a friend of a friend connection with!  That’s cool.  Especially since it was all about how the mainstream films are dead and so on and so on, and now he’s winning a FilmFare which is about as mainstream as you can get.

Best Actor (Male) in a Short Film: Jackie Shroff for ‘Khujli’

Now, this is FASCINATING!!!!!  The short film thing is a recent development and seems to be rapidly gaining popularity in a way it hasn’t in America.  Short films made and released on youtube, with a full promotion lead by stars.  It’s the “stars” that really make the difference, I think.  The Indian audience is more likely to follow stars where ever they lead, even if it is to somewhere new and strange.  And the Stars that can give you a solid promotional push just through a couple interviews.  The Oscar short films tend to struggle to get anyone to see them, while this FilmFare category is getting more and more competitive.

Best Actor (Female) in a Short Film: Shefali Shah for ‘Juice’

See above.  Also, I lover Shefali Shah.

People’s Choice Award for Best Short Film: ‘Anahut’

This is what I find really fascinating!  That there is a “People’s Choice” in this category.  And only in this category!!!!  The short films are what people are watching and judging for themselves, and care about who wins, while the other categories are more about the pretty gowns and speeches still.

Best Short Film (Fiction) : ‘Juice’

I haven’t seen any of these movies, and now I am beginning to think I should!

Best Short Film (Non Fiction): ‘Invisible Wings’

Non Fiction!  The only non fiction film recognized by FilmFare.  Because the short films are something special.

Best Music Album: Pritam for ‘Jagga Jasoos’

And now we get into music, and the mainstream.  Which is legitimate, even if the high quality films and performances are coming from around the edges, the best composers and so on are still more likely to be working on the mainstream.  And Jagga Jasoos is a legitimate win here, Pritam tried something really interesting and experimental there.  I personally don’t think it was the best album of the year, but it was perhaps the most ambitious and it doesn’t hurt to recognize ambition.  Plus to stay in good with Pritam, and Ranbir Kapoor.

Best Playback Singer (Male): Arijit Singh for ‘Roke na ruke naina’ – ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’

It’s a nice song, and Arijit always does a fine job, but this feels like a definite “sucking up to Dharma” award.  Or at the very least, “picking a song people know” award.  There were better songs this year, some of them sung by Arijit.

Best Playback Singer (Female): Meghna Mishra for ‘Nachdi phira’ – ‘Secret Superstar’

This seems fair.  Secret Superstar‘s album, as a whole, may not have been a super stand out, but this song was.  And certainly Meghna’s voice carried the whole film and that deserves to be recognized.  Plus it’s a song people really loved, playing it again at the ceremony is not going to hurt anything.

Best Lyrics: Amitabh Bhattacharya for ‘Ullu ka pattha’ – ‘Jagga Jasoos’

Good lyrics, catchy song.  Not the best of the year, I think, but not the worst.  I definitely would have gone with “Radha” here, both because it legitimately earned it and because it was so catchy and popular.  But I could also see being nervous, both Jagga and JHMS were flops, but JHMS seemed to inspire a sort of resentment and hatred which would run the risk of controversy if it were given any award.

Lifetime Achievement Award: Mala Sinha and Bappi Lahiri

Very nice very nice.  A sweet older lady who makes us all nostalgic, and you want to give it to her quick before she dies.  And Bappi, who is becoming kind of retro-cool, plus people will tune in if you do a medley of his old hits.

Best Choreography: Vijay Ganguly and Ruel Dausan Varindani for ‘Galti se mistake’ – ‘Jagga Jasoos’

Okay, at this point Jagga has clearly paid them off.  I assume it has a TV premier coming up or some other reason to want to be in people’s minds.  Because there is just no way it deserves all of these awards, or that FilmFare would risk putting the same flop film up over and over again if they weren’t getting something out of it.

Best Background Score: Pritam for ‘Jagga Jasoos’

See above.

Best Action: Tom Struthers for ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’

Well, this is absolutely deserved.

Best Cinematography: Sirsha Ray for ‘A Death In The Gunj’

Another one of those boring categories that no one will ever care about, so you might as well be honest.

Best Editing: Nitin Baid for ‘Trapped’

Ditto.  And also, just based on the brilliant trailer which is all I have seen, this seems completely deserved.

Best Production Design: Parul Sondh for ‘Daddy’

Period pieces are always good for things like this.  And it does look like he did a lot with very little money.
Best Sound Design: Anish John for ‘Trapped’

Again, very deserved.
Best Costume: Rohit Chaturvedi for ‘A Death In The Gunj’

Whaaaaaaat?  It looks like a very good movie, but I wasn’t watching the trailer going “oh my goodness, the costumes!”  This is another one I might give to Jab Harry Met Sejal.  Or Tumhari Sulu or Raees.  There were no dropdead gorgeous clothes movies this year, but there were a lot that did interesting things through costumes.



And now let us take a moment for the categories that were not included!  Another way FilmFare gives itself breathing space, the award list isn’t the same every year.  I think the Short Films categories are all new, either this year or last year.  And there is no Best Male Debut.  Or Best Villain.

The “Debut” categories are often controversial.  Because it is the area most likely to be given because of a pay off, or not to be given to anyone because there was no pay off.  Next year, assuming no dramatic upset, it is essentially a lock for the Dhadak couple, Sridevi’s daughter and Shahid’s little brother.

Image result for dhadak poster

(Heck, maybe they will even deserve it!  But they will certainly be the most buzzed about and promoted young couple of 2018 just based on their families and the Dharma push behind them)

Oh, and they are also the ones most you go “wait, does that qualify?”  For instance, wasn’t Zaira Wasim in Dangal last year?  So is Secret Superstar her “debut”?  It’s her debut as a leading actress, sort of, so you can explain it.  But this kind of fussing with meaning is common in this category, “debut” is purposefully hard to define so they can give it to whoever they want.

“Best Villain” is the one I find more interesting not to be included.  It has not been awarded since 2007.  And it was my favorite category!  It meant that the awards were looking at the performances in terms of set character types, accepting and even trumpeting the different way Indian films were constructed.  There was “best villain” and also “Best hero”.  But now, the definition has changed, it is not how well you inhabit a certain set character type but how you inhabit a character.  A rejection of the idea that there can be traditional formal character types, and plots, and everything else, and we should recognize excellence that exists within those frameworks.  Now you have to break out of the frame entirely in order to be acknowledged, anything so old-fashioned as to have a clear “hero” “villain” dychotomy cannot be acknowledged.

Image result for saif omkara

(Saif was last to win, for Omkara)

And this is why Tiger Zinda Hai cannot be recognized this year at FilmFare, despite being the biggest hit of the year.  If nothing else, it was a total lock for Best Villain.  Sajajd Delafrooz gave the exact kind of performance that “Best Villain” is meant to recognize.  He is the villain, absolutely, not some “anti-hero” weirdness, but straight up boo and hiss bad guy.  But he also gave an amazing performance, supported by the script, which made his villain fascinating to watch.  Last year, Jim Sarbh gave a similar performance in Neerja.  This year, no doubt Ranveer Singh will do something similar in Padmavat.  These character types have all kinds of reason for existing, and the mere fact that they are “types” doesn’t mean they are easy to play, or write.  But they are also a sign of the older pre-literate tradition of performance that Hindi film excels at and which is looked down on internationally.  It’s too bad that FilmFare is beginning to go more and more towards the international audience, being “respectable”, instead of glorying in what makes Hindi films unique.


42 thoughts on “FilmFare Winners! What Does It All Mean?

  1. The filmfare came up with this list bcoz they were probably left with no choice.

    The credibility of award shows among ppl are at a all time low. Ppl know that award shows are sold to performers and biggies.

    After the debacle of zee cine award where varun won Best actor and golmaal won beat movie, ppl were boycotting award shows. So they had to reclaim the credibility.

    Coming to filmfare, they also wanted to give to akshay/varun based on marketing , but the backlash received for not nominating rajkumar/Newton was too high that they had to give 2 awards to rajkumar to pacify the people.

    But I feel they have redeemed themselves.


    • Yes, my only complaints are that they have slightly over-corrected. It feels like they ignored the JHMS soundtrack, and some of the more mainstream options for costume design, and Best Male Debut and Best Villain, in order not to be accused of preference or selling awards.


    • With the amount of award shows in the market, and all having the same categories, they have become redundant.
      Aamir /kangana/ajay boycott them bcoz they know their worth.
      Award shows have become event management shows where the ppl who come are awarded not necessary the deserving ones.
      Coming to this year’s awards, hindi medium was in no way a small movie. It had countrys best actor irrfan and collected 80 cr,better than srk or salman’s movie or even ranbir ‘s.
      Secondly Newton/trapped were by far best performance in last year. It wasn’t rajkumar’ s fault that they were not produced at a scale of golmaal.
      And death in a gunj is a terrific movie, topping lists of anupama/rajeev/raja sen. So I feel it was well deserved.
      I feel filmfare was just trying to prove that we are different and we honour deserving not connected ppl, which I feel they succeeded. Let’s see whether they can maintain same in future


    • Yep, Aamir and FilmFare, they got beef going back years. In 1993, Aamir in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander lost to Anil Kapoor in Beta, which was a ridiculous decision. Setting aside Aamir, there is no way Anil deserved it for Beta. Aamir was disappointed and angry and stopped going to awards shows, especially FilmFare.

      And then in 2000 during the Lagaan promotions, Rachel Shelly gave an interview to FilmFare revealing the plot. Which is why she was blacklisted from any other roles in India, but also Aamir cut off all media contact with FilmFare since then for all his films.

      It’s really sad, FilmFare is desperate to win him back! Every once in a while they will do a cover story on him using photos from the archives, and quotes from old interviews, and talking about how much they love him and hope he will come back to them someday.

      There was a similar thing between CineBlitz (I think) and Shahrukh. They printed an article back in the early 90s implying that Shahrukh was having an affair with his co-star, and he responded by first threatening the life of the author, and second refusing to give an interview to CineBlitz for over a decade.

      Amitabh was the most extreme, he was angry about coverage of him at one point and just cut off all contact with all press.

      It’s interesting in terms of how controlled the media is. The media needs stars more than they need it, and stars will hold personal grudges against certain magazines or writers for decades. So you want to tread lightly before you risk offending them. It’s why there is so much stuff the traditional media will imply, but not say.

      Of course, with new media, you don’t need the interviews and star access as much because you can reprint tweets and instagram photos from their accounts. But I don’t know if that fully replaces the in depth one on one interviews and photoshoots.


      • Aamir may have this specific grudge but he’s turned being very exclusive to an integral part of his persona, not tweeting much, not giving many interviews, not many personal appearances. I think it works well for him, seeing/hearing from him is still a special event instead of complete media saturation to the point where people are sick of him.


        • There’s something special about FilmFare, it was the first award show to turn him off award shows, and he never gives them an interview, even when he is promoting a new film and normally would talk to them (FilmFare as the grand old leading film magazine, if you are giving an interview to anyone, it goes to them). But you are right, he has also made a career decision to have tight control of his access.

          Now I’m thinking about it, there is also the benefit of really being able to crack the whip with the media. If you are out with him, you are really really out. You can’t pull photos from instagram or twitter, or get news leaked from his team, or anything like that. It might explain, for instance, the reason no one talks about his British love child (yes, this is an actual thing, a reporter Jessica Hines writing about Lagaan has a son who looks exactly like Aamir). Or in less dramatic terms, the reason no one would make the mistake of printing a story revealing plot points for his film without his permission again. This stuff is still rumored about, but only in the very very shadiest sources, anything that has a legitimate chance of actually getting an Aamir interview, or any exclusive coverage of one of his films, will not touch a story that he won’t like.

          On Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 12:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          • Well, I am still slightly reserving judgement on the kid. Partly because, no legitimate source seems willing to report it. Which could be because it is false, or because they are terrified of Aamir. And since it is only popping up in funky sources, even if it is true, it could be that he didn’t have to be sued to pay child support, or that the mother (who seems a bit nutty, just from her writing) is somehow interfering so that he can’t see the child even if he wanted to. Maybe his refusal to publicly acknowledge him is an effort to protect him. We just don’t know.

            I could easily see a version where Aamir’s marriage was falling apart and he had an on set fling with a foreign reporter, cuts it off when he starts to realize she is a bit nutty, and months later is contacted for child support, and with his fame and the child being raised in England and the mother being a bit off, the best thing in order to create stability for the child is to send money but stay out of his life and never publically acknowledge him.

            Sanjay Dutt did something a little similar with his oldest child. He had serious legal issues, and was working through addiction, so when his wife died he gave their daughter to her grandparents in America to raise and had no public contact with her until she was an adult. Based on the limited facts available, it could have been that he abandoned her and moved on, forgetting both his dead wife and his daughter. Or that he decided the best thing for her was to cut off all public contact and let her live her life scandal free. And now she is an adult and can make her own decisions and has decided she doesn’t mind the attention and will give interviews and be photographed, and therefore it is clear he DID stay in touch all those years, just in ways the public wasn’t privy too, letters and phone calls and so on. So who knows, maybe Jaan will turn 18 and come to India and Aamir will welcome him as a beloved son and it will come out that he was keeping things quiet just to protect him while he grew up. Or maybe Jaan will turn 18 and decide he never wants the publicity and Aamir will never publicly acknowledge him because it is what he wants.

            Oh! I remembered the other example! The King of Monaco’s many many illegitimate children. I read an interview with his daughter a few years back, she is a performer and therefore was giving the interview and so on to promote herself. And it came up that she did have contact with her father through out her childhood, but never in public, so that she could have a normal childhood. But again, we (the public) would never have known that he was an involved and caring father if she hadn’t chosen to talk about it.

            On Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 12:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


            Liked by 1 person

  2. I know that those awards are no very “serious” but still I was surprised that Hindi Medium won The Best Movie. I have seen this movie, and it’s good but not something I would give an award to.

    P.S I like Anil in Beta 🙂


    • You can’t not like Anil in Beta! Or anything else, even Dil Dhadakna Do or Tashaan. But still, the best actor?

      I think Hindi Medium was the best “medium” choice for them. It was a good movie, and it made a decent box office, safer than choosing Trapped on one hand or Golmaal Again on the other.

      On Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 4:23 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I was thinkig about “Debut” category. Last year Harshvardhan Kapoor made a scandal when he has said that Diljit Dosanjh should’nt have won this award because he is not new in industry. I agree. The same story was with Dhanush. I love him as a actor, and he is brillant but you can’t give him an award for debut if he has already done like 25 movies in tamil.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I guess it depends on what you mean by “debut”. If it is “debut star turn in the Hindi film industry”, then Diljit and Dhanush are fine. They were the new exciting actor in the Hindi film scene that year. But then the other option is an award for doing a great job as a new actor. I don’t know, that second definition seems hard to me. Like, Shahrukh won, but he’d already been in a ton of TV shows and stage plays and so on. Both Salman and Aamir won after technically being in movies before but not as leads. But they were all awarded for the big launch movie that made them into stars.

          On Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 4:45 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:


          Liked by 1 person

          • For me “Debut” means: first important role in a feature film. You can make series, or minor roles earlier to be nominated in this category, but if you have already done an important role in any movie, in any language you can’t get this award.


          • Hmm. so by your standards, what about a lead child role? Or a lead role in an art film? Would those disqualify?


          • Now I am trying to think of someone who qualifies! Some brilliant art actor who wants to transition to mainstream that we’ve never even heard of.

            On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 5:55 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Oh man, that is absolutely delightful! And confirms what I had suspected, Jackie is still a very very charming and attractive man.

      On Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 7:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • OH MY GOSH!!!! I looked up the actress, and it’s Neena Gupta, who was the other woman in the Choli Ke Peeche song sequence!!!!! So I guess she and Jackie have been in a movie together before, but a very different kind of movie.

      On Sun, Jan 21, 2018 at 7:41 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  3. If you haven’t been following the Hindi short film scene, I really suggest checking out the You Tube channel “Large Short Films”. So many of the most popular and the best short films are there, for free, completely legal. Sometimes I play the whole channel in the background while doing other stuff around the house.

    My guess is that short films are appealing to Indians to watch and Indian celebs to act in because
    a. Ad Films are a “thing” in India, in a way they aren’t in the USA, other than around SuperBowl time. And they can run longer than ours.
    b. So many directors come up through ad films.
    b. Indian celebrities, even A-list stars, act in ad films, whereas Hollywoods a-list stars never appear in our commercial (though they might appear in European or Asian ad films).


  4. I agree with you that award shows from the bough and paid for kind like Filmfare to the Oscars are never objective and it’s impossible to make them that way. Popular blockbusters should and comedic performances should be recognized more in the West and experimental and indie films should be recognized more in the Hindi film industry.

    Here’s my “credible” list of nominations for an imaginary cross between the Filmfares and Oscars that actually tries to do both. I’ve seen most of these but on some I’m guessing based on reviews. And then I picked the winner based on what should win if the “Academy” type people were voting.

    Best Film
    Hindi Medium
    A Death in the Gunj
    Lipstick Under My Burkha
    Mukti Bhawan – Winner
    Anaarkali of Arah

    Best Director
    Ashwin Iyer Tiwari – Bareilly Ki Barfi
    Konkona Sen Sharma – A Death in the Gunj – Winner
    Shubhashish Bhutiani – Mukti Bhawan
    Amit V Masurkar – Newton
    Vishal Bharadwaj – Rangoon

    Best Screenplay
    Konkona Sen Sharma – A Death in the Gunj – Winner
    Alankrita Shrivastava – Lipstick Under My Burkha
    Mayank Tiwari and Amit V Masurkar – Newton
    Shubhashish Bhutiani – Mukti Bhawan
    Zeenat Lakhani – Hindi Medium

    Best Actor (I wouldn’t put Irrfan Khan on this list…there’s not that much depth to the role)
    Lalit Behl – Mukti Bhawan – Winner (but just because Rajkumar and Vikrant would split the votes)
    Rajkumar Rao – Newton or Trapped (haven’t seen Trapped)
    Vikrant Massey – A Death in the Gunj
    Ayushmaan Khuranna – Meri Pyaari Bindu (I love him in this for some reason)
    Ranbir Kapoor – Jagga Jasoos (he definitely deserved to be on the list, even if the film bombed)

    Best Actress
    Sridevi – Mom
    Vidya Balan – Tumhari Sulu
    Zaira Wasim – Secret Superstar
    Kangana Ranaut – Rangoon
    Swara Bhaskar – Annarkali of Arah – Winner

    Best Supporting Actor
    Pankaj Tripathi – Newton – Winner
    Rajkumar Rao – Bareilly Ki Barfi
    Akshaye Khanna – Ittefaq
    Deepak Dobriyal – Hindi Medium
    Nawazuddin Shah – OK Jaanu

    Best Supporting Actress
    Ratna Pathak – Lipstick Under My Burkha – Winner
    Meher Vij – Secret Superstar (haven’t seen it but she gets raves)
    Seema Pahwa – Shubh Mangal Shaavdhan
    Navnindra Behl – Mukti Bhawan
    Leela Samson – OK Jaanu

    Best Cinematography
    Michael McSweeny and David Huwiler – Mukti Bhawan
    Sirsha Ray – A Death in the Gunj (it is quite beautifully filmed) – Winner
    Jessica Lee Gagne and Pankaj Kumar – Daddy
    Pankaj Kumar – Rangoon
    Swapnil S Sonawane – Newton

    Best Costume Design
    Rohit Chaturvedi – A Death in the Gunj – Winner
    Dolly Ahluwalia – Rangoon
    Anaarkali of Aarah

    Those are my picks for the Hindi film awards (Oscar-style!)!


    • I realized again in writing this post how much Mukti Bhawan really does linger. Also A Death in the Gunj is definitely that technically brilliant film that leaves you cold. And Newton is the “political” pick. And Lipstick Under My Burkha is the little indie that could.


      • What I find fascinating from the theoretical Oscar style list is that the director’s list is where the mainstream is really excluded. Which is, I think, because the job of a director (and a cinematographer and a costume designer and a screenwriter for that matter) is not the same in Indian film as in Hollywood. It’s not just about telling the story with what you see onscreen, but about all the other parts of putting the film together, including helping to write the story and giving in put on the songs and bringing together the star cast and so on and so on. Maneesh Sharma for instance was freaking brilliant last year with Fan, in every tiny little way that he put it together, doing a job (including spending 10 years on a script) that is far far beyond the Hollywood definition of “director”. He was producer and writer and director all rolled into one, along with a half-dozen other jobs that don’t exist in Hollywood.

        So, on your list, you wouldn’t include Dinesh Vjan for Raabta. Because the actual filming and images onscreen weren’t that striking. But the ambition of the story, the concept, the songs, all of that I found very exciting and unique and that would also be because of him.

        On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 7:14 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • Good point, but in my mind I did sneak some more mainstream things into my Director category (BKB and Rangoon). Honestly, I seriously thought about adding Anurag Basu in this category and Jagga Jasoos almost made it to the Best Film list, too.

          Raabta as a vision is fully thought out (in its very weird way!) and the director does deserve full scores, for sure.


          • It’s such a weird film! And when a film like that sneaks out in Hollywood, The Lone Ranger for instance, everyone splits responsibility among the producer and the scriptwriter and the director and on and on. But when a weird film comes out in India, I feel pretty confident giving full marks straight to the director. Who is also usually the producer and scriptwriter and everything else.

            On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 7:30 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Cosign on your filmfare academy awards. Agree with all your choices and winners. Especially how R Rao and V Massey would split the vote lol. Nicely done!


  5. “Best Costume: Rohit Chaturvedi for ‘A Death In The Gunj’

    Whaaaaaaat? It looks like a very good movie, but I wasn’t watching the trailer going “oh my goodness, the costumes!”

    This is funny because I actually did have that exact reaction to the DitG trailer haha! Seeing the ’70s clothes in the trailer, as well as the true to period cars and house accoutrements, was part of what got me excited about this film. Call it the Mad Men effect, that is, the desire for technical excellence and attn to detail in recreating modern periods. Special 26 redid the ’80s perfectly. And this wasn’t just ’70s, this was upper middle class college educated nehru congress liberal elite ’70s casual wear. Just a pleasure to behold, really took you to that time and place.
    Rangoon costume design was nicely done also. But it’s easier to recreate costumes for larger than life characters (Rangoon) than for ordinary people (Gunj).


    • Excellent points.

      One small thing that occurs to me, if they were looking for getting FilmFare or other award show appreciation, the kind of people who would now be giving those awards and making those decisions are the ones who were mostly raised in 1970s Congress liberal elite families. So this would be the kind of period costuming that they would be most likely to appreciate.

      On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 11:05 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



        • Well, you kind of got me there! It’s the same argument I’ve heard about Mad Man, many of the people who rave over it are the people who would have been the children of the protagonists, it’s showing them their parents’ lives.

          On Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 11:21 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Agree, the costumes in DitG were one of the best parts of the film. It was definitely an “art directed” film where the technical brilliance of the film is reflected in the director’s attention to detail and the achievements of her crew. Kalki has some amazing outfits and an article of clothing is a bit of an emotional plot device, too.


      • Interesting for a first film, sounds like Konkona sort of proved her technical ability, important for a director coming through acting and a female director. If she keeps directing (which it sounds like she plans to do), I wonder if she will get more emotional and messy in her later stuff?

        On Tue, Jan 23, 2018 at 11:28 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  6. There is zilch transparence in almost all awards I know, neither about the proceding of the nominations nor about the decisions. There exist at least five awards dedicated to the Hindi filmindustry (forget the “international” in the name) where mostly the same movies/actors/directors etc are nominated and rewarded. It still is a farce ! They could at least diversify the kind of movies each award focusses on (Mainstream Cinema, small budget movies, popular/boxoffice success movies, Arthouse movies f.ex.).
    There should be no invites, all attendees/visitors have to pay and all that perform or host have to get payed…would be interesting, how many award-shows would survive.


    • See, I just don’t believe in awards at all. At least, in some abstract idea of “fairness” in them. Every award show has a particular purpose and they just have to fulfill that purpose. Right now, the Hindi film awards show who is most popular among the TV audience (who do they want to see perform), and who has the most power within the industry (who do the producer’s of the show want to suck up to). There is a nice side effect, the “debut” awards in particular let a newer actor give a live performance and sort of introduce himself to the wider audience that may have missed his film or not noticed him particular.

      The Oscars, on the other hand, were created so that the US wouldn’t form a censor board to control film. And it worked! They established themselves as “art” and “creativity” and “serious”, and changed the conversation from “the thing that is destroying the morals of America” to “the thing that is uplifting the artistic conversation of America”. Not to mention letting us all feel like we are getting a glimpse of Hollywood glamour and meeting the “real” people who are onscreen. Which is still what they do, every Oscar for a serious drama biopic is another argument against censoring the violent sexual slasher pictures. So when you look at Oscar nominees, they represent what the film industry thinks will help in them being taken seriously instead of censored. And when you look at the Oscar winners, they represent what the LA film community thinks is the thing they “should” vote for, because it has buzz on the streets or they are sentimental about an aging actor or whatever other reason. And of course the hidden part of this is the massive campaigns launched by distributors once they have a film that they know has a decent chance of being a “serious” film for the Oscars, wining and dining voters, putting ads in newspapers, just generally pushing a narrative that their film is worthy. Because winning the Oscar gives a huge immediate bump to your box office, and a later bump to TV sales, DVD, streaming, everything else. Which is not what the Oscars were created to do, but it’s a handy side-effect.

      This years FilmFares show that right now Shahrukh and Karan are still powerful since they were brought in to host. But the TV audience isn’t excited about any of the big movies this year, and the best way to get their attention is by awarding small films. No matter what kind of internet backlash there was to other awards, I don’t see FilmFare being willing to leave money on the table and ignore a big hit film that the audience would care about if there was a big hit film the audience would care about this year.

      On Wed, Jan 24, 2018 at 10:12 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



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