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Monday, February 28, 2005

winds of change

A news item tucked away in a corner of the daily newspaper presented the changing scenario of birthday celebrations of today’s children. From the looks of it, most of these children seem to have been born with silver spoons in their mouths. Event managers have emerged to arrange simple birthday parties for as little as Rs 25000 – in case you want it to be special, the cost can go up to several lakhs. Obviously, it goes without saying that there are people around us who can afford such luxuries. In days of yore, the zamindars used to conduct marriage of their pet cats, they used to have pigeon races and cock fights. The basic intention, always, was to show off their wealth and make others envious. Apparently, the trend continues. The idea is to outdo others!

Against this backdrop, the declining popularity of the Annual Oscar awards is causing concern. It seems people have got fed up of seeing the same faces winning awards every year. As the saying goes, too much of anything is bad. After 77 years, Hollywood has realized this and is wondering how to find out solutions. It seems that in 1929, the winners were informed sufficiently in advance (2 months!) and the distribution of the mementos itself was completed in 10 minutes by Douglas Fairbanks Sr. – today it continues for nearly 4 hours and there are countless categories of prizes!

Our very own Bollywood is celebrating the 50th year of one of its prestigious Annual events.

With little or no competition, awards have become a sort of mockery. It is surprising to see that in the best lyrics category, there are five nominations for the same lyricist, but for different movies! Similarly, in the best male and best female playback singer categories, as many as three of the six nominations, in each category, are for the same singer. Obviously, something is wrong somewhere. Awards need to be earned, not gifted away. Is it to be presumed that in a large multi-crore industry like Bollywood, there is a shortage of artists who can be considered for awards? If there has to be five nominations, let there be five different persons– that should be logical. Not one person with five different outputs.

The first Filmfare awards ceremony was held in 1954. As Morarji Desai commented in one of these functions – ‘if you cannot improve society through your films, at least do not do anything which may cause harm to it’. The degenerating standards of present day films and the gradual decline in our moral standards tell a different story. Violence depicted in these films coupled with scenes and situations of intimacy, that tend to support liberal lifestyles, portray a rather dismal picture. Youngsters try to re-enact the scenes they see on the screen leading to the birth of adolescent criminals.

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