Sundeep Bhutoria

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Science City and frivolous award functions

The chaos at the recent Jagjit Singh function at the Science City auditorium reminded me of the increasing number of `Award Nights' that are organised there.
In the last two years, various Award functions of different hues and names are being held in Kolkata - the Mecca of Indian culture – in the name of promoting and felicitating talent. Kolkata, of late, is in the grips of a frivolous awards frenzy.
I have been invited to many of these come-and-get-awarded events, either as a recipient of an award, or as a guest to give away awards. I'd say that I have been to very few of these events during the past few years and took some time to see through it.
These award functions have very gracious names like Sammans or Puraskars to begin and end with. An overwhelming majority of these events are related to television, cinemas or television and cinema (tele-cine) etc. Even new categories of awards are invented each year by the organisers.
For the past five years I have been watching the event management companies who usually engage is organizing these type of events. These companies have split into dozens of companies with fancy names that keep conducting such events. It simply means that you pick up the tricks of the trade and start your own business.
The formula is very simple. Organize a `cultural performance' involving celebs and starlets in between the awards function and give the award to any celeb who agrees to come to the program. These so called `performances' are sometimes so lengthy that celebs have to wait and request the organisers again and again to give them the award so that they can leave.
In fact, all these events invariably start not less than an hour or two late. This has become the standard practice. The trick is to keep the glamour quotient high in the name of culture and talent so that sponsors are easily roped in so that the tickets are sold. It is a very profitable business model for the organisers who rake in tidy takings with each show.
The criterion of judging the best actor or actress at these award functions is ridiculous. The best talent is chosen from four or five handpicked scenes that is shown on the screen. The audience is fully aware of the fact that there are scores of better scenes to choose from but the real reason for choosing the best actor is that he or she must be physically present in the auditorium to receive the award.
I personally don't blame only the organisers of these award functions. I think it is the recipients who are actually belittling the award functions by agreeing to associate with such events without even bothering to find out the credibility of the organisers and the judges. Often, the key organiser happens to be the sole judge.
I don't mean to tar all award functions with the same brush. There are some award functions which are prestigious and naturally draw most of the celebs and eminent citizens of Kolkata in full strength. Some of the events organised by print or the electronic media do, or at least try to do, full justice to the awards. In fact, some of them have earned a respectable brand names as on date.
To all my celeb friends I say, what is point of receiving any such stage-managed awards. An award is an award in the true sense when your competitors are present and clapping for you in recognition. All the celebs work very hard to earn their reputation and must protect it. Why fritter away something so precious by associating with such dubious and frivolous award schemes with zero credibility.
So next time you get one of those award invitations and have any arriere pensees, you'd do a lot of good to your reputation by giving it a miss.
ess bee

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