This year, during Kerala state awards declaration, people across Kerala jumped with happiness as actor Vinayakan was announced as the best actor for his performance in “Kammattipadam”. His performance in the film was appreciated not only by the audience and critics but other actors from the Malayalam industry as well. People kept using the tag “deserving people won the awards” referring to his as well as others who were declared as winners. After this, I had hoped for a similar thrilling result for the national movie awards. My jaw dropped after seeing the one name; Akshay Kumar for “Rustom”.
First of all, let me begin by saying that I enjoyed the film “Rustom” but it is not a great film. Bollywood has been improving a lot since the loud overreacting days from the ’90s. Films with better technical filmmaking, better storytelling, and apt direction have been released. Apart from technical marvel, “Rustom” lacks the punch in the storyline and, in a nutshell, the execution is mediocre. Akshay delivered a controlled performance and in most of the film, he is expressionless or has the look of “Don Corleone” as it is difficult for us to make out what he is thinking. For the layered nature of his character, this performance worked but it neither had the depth nor is it soulful. Akshay’s performance is good but not great enough to win the highest honour given to film artists.
The year 2016 saw many great films and there were male performances that deserved the trophy better.
“Udta Punjab” is an intense film backed by a poignant screenplay and direction, which talked about a relevant social issue that’s been choking Punjab as a state. “Pink” is a film that delivered an important message but the facts mentioned in Udta Punjab along with Alia Bhatt’s character being a rape survivor with integrity made it worthier for “best film about social issues category”. Shahid Kapoor played a drug addict torn between his guilt for corrupting the youth and his own addiction. The scene where he reacts to the two boys who talk about how they killed their mother who refused to give them money to buy drugs without an ounce of guilt is on point. Although over the top at times, we will feel for his character and look forward to the redemption he seeks.
One of the biggest snubs, that reminded me of how Amy Adams faced injustice this year, is the lack of recognition Manoj Bajpayee received for his stupendous performance in “Aligarh”. He poured his heart out as a gay professor who faces injustice, from being sacked to being thrown out of his residence. Rajkumar Rao had a knack for the trophy for his layered performance in “Trapped”. Amitabh Bachchan was spot on as the lawyer who suffers from bipolar disorder, defending the three girls in “Pink”. Sushant Singh Rajput was excellent in M.S Dhoni as he makes you believe that he is Dhoni with his body language and looks. He studied and replicated the former skipper’s actions on the field brilliantly. Aamir Khan, in spite of undergoing body transformation and for playing a concerned parent in “Dangal”, didn’t get the spotlight and Randeep Hooda barely received the recognition he deserved for playing Sarabjit. Akshay Kumar himself did a far better job in “Airlift” and would have been more believable if he was awarded for this movie.
Usually, when awards are declared, we sit at the edge of our seats and look forward to the victory list but when it is not given to the deserving person, the award itself loses its relevance.