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Did Amazon India help in Rigging Filmfare Awards 2020?

Kingson Chingakham



Some prominent Bollywood film actors have already talked about how film awards work in India. However, this year, ‘Filmfare 2020‘ made it very transparent on how awards can be bought or, at least, with the nexus of nepotism, awards can go to to some undeserving artists.

For Filmfare 2020, “Amazon India” was roped in as the “title sponsor”. And guess what? Amazon Prime streaming partner movies won in 19 categories out of the total 35 categories in Filmfare 2020. These four films are – Gully Boy, War, Student of the Year 2 and Kalank. And three of these movies have a link to Karan Johar’s production house ‘Dharma Production’ and Aditya Chopra’s production house ‘YRF Productions’ (Karan Johar and Aditya Chopra are cousins).

Undoubtedly, Gully Boy was a very good film. But have we forgotten other prominent movies that made a huge impact on the audience like Mardaani 2, Uri: The Surgical Strike, Badla, Article 15, Section 375 etc.

The following are the list of 19 awards won by four movies which are the streaming partner of Amazon Prime:

  1. Best Film: Gully Boy (You can stream it on Amazon Prime).
  2. Best Actor (Male) : Ranveer Singh (Gully Boy).
  3. Best Actor (Female) : Alia Bhatt (Gully Boy).
  4. Best Director : Zoya Akhtar (Gully Boy).
  5. Best Actor in Supporting Role (Male) : Siddhant Chaturvedi (Gully Boy).
  6. Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female) : Amruta Subhash (Gully Boy).

Music :

  • Best Music Album : Ankur Tewari and Zoya Akhtar (Gully Boy).
  • Best Lyrics : Divine and Ankur Tewari ( Apna Time Aayega from Gully Boy).
  • Best Playback Singer (Male) : Arijit Singh for the movie Kalank (you can stream Kalank on Amazon Prime).
  • Best Playback Singer (Female) : Shilpa Rao for the movie War (you can stream War on Amazon Prime).

Other Awards :

  • Best Debut Female : Ananya Panday for Student of the Year 2 (you can stream the movie on Amazon Prime). And this award became the most controversial one.
  • Best Action : Paul Jennings, Oh Sea Young, Parvez Shaikh and Franz Spilhauz ( Movie : War).
  • Best Background Score : Karsh Kale and the Slavage Audio Collective (Movie : Gully Boy).
  • Best Choreography : Remo D’Souza (Movie : Kalank).
  • Best Cinematography : Jay Oza (Gully Boy).
  • Best Production Desgin : Suzanne Caplan Merwanji (Gully Boy).
  • Best VFX : Sherry Bharda and Vishal Anand for YFX (Movie : War).
  • Best Dialogue : Vijay Maurya (Gully Boy).
  • Best Screenplay : Reema Kagti and Zoya Akhtar (Gully Boy).

Now, the other side of the coin we can discuss is that: Did Amazon get really lucky taking onboard movies like Gully Boy, War, Kalank and Student of the Year 2? Or is there a politics of business behind this?

India is an emerging market for streaming sites/ OTT (over the top). There is a huge competition going on with these streaming platforms. Hotstar is mostly popular among sports-loving Indian audience since they can stream sports channel live. Netflix has emerged as the top streaming site in India, due to the original contents. On the other hand, Amazon Prime is very popular among the South Indian speaking audience. South Indian movie lovers can find ample of options on Amazon Prime. With movies like Gully Boy, War, Student of the Year 2 and Kanlank, Amazon Prime has managed to gain subscribers across the country.

Recognition comes with Awards, and here we go! With awards, the streaming platform will target to get more subscribers in the coming months. A great marketing strategy! In this competition, deserving artists are asked to sit back at home with no recognition and appreciation for the incredible works they have done.

Not only the sponsors play an important role in deciding whom to award, the jury, who decides on these awards also play a very important role. But when you have a person like Karan Johar, known for nepotism in Bollywood, you can imagine on which way the awards will swing! For me, awards like Filmfare, which have also recognised many talents years back, should have a jury which can decide objectively without the influence of sponsors. Oscars Awards also come with sponsors, however, biased decisions are never transparently visible.

I also feel that companies which already have streaming platforms like Zee, Amazon, Netflix, Viacom 18, Star Networks, Balaji Telefilms etc should not be asked to sponsor the awards. They will have a massive influence on the awards.

I will say adopt the same procedure followed by the Government of India to decide on the National Film Awards. I will vote for a jury like the one that decides National Film Awards.

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