Their FilmfaresIn an astonishingly audacious editorial a couple of days, the Times of India suggested that the Oscars were not democratic enough because "The time-honoured tradition of Oscar nominees and winners being chosen by a closed club of Academy members is feudal...".
This is astonishing merely because as far as I can tell, the Academy Awards never set out to be a popularity contest, but more of a reward of excellence. Whether they get it right or not is a different question. I'm not going to "defend" the Oscars - there are several instances of them not getting things right (which anyway is a subjective call), and like the Nobel Prize for Literature, it is increasingly righting previous wrongs. But if you forget who the Oscar went to, and just look at each year's list of nominees, you will say a majority of them deserved to be there. This is more than what someone can say for entire categories at the Filmfare Awards.
The Filmfare awards want to, and desperately at that, be a popularity award first and not a critics award. Fair enough. But let's drop the hypocrisy of excellence, when all you want to do is engage in a massive backscratching exercise with no credibility - I mean, once you open the voting to the internet and SMS, as TOI so avidly advocates, the scripts take over.
The Filmfare awards have completely alienated a number of movie-goers (are we "significant"? dunno), but thanks to multiplexes, distributors, and technological revolutions, it's possible for us in the long tail to be sated somewhat. The days of giving the Best Film award to the likes of "Rajnigandha" and "Ardh Satya" are long gone. We've learnt to live with times when Kareena Kapoor wins a Critic's Award for "Best Actress" when several worthier actresses abound. But don't rub it in. Audiences have no business voting for technical categories such as Best Editing or Screenplay. Democracy doesn't guarantee excellence or even a sense of participation. We can live with awards given out by a "mai-baap" as long as it doesn't offend our senses.