I’m Confused Why Alia Bhatt Won ‘Best Actress’ For A Minor Role

Over the last couple of days, I have been watching this trend -#BoycottFilmfareAwards – on Twitter. The hashtag specifically called out Gully Boy breaking Black’s record by winning 13 Filmfare awards, especially in the categories that saw better performances.

After seeing the winners and nominations list, I couldn’t help but agree. But, the biggest WTF moment was when Alia Bhatt won the Best Actress award for Gully Boy for a 20-30 minute long role.

Alia Bhatt is one of the best actresses of her generation. No doubt about it. Her talent and choices clearly make her someone who deserves to be in the spotlight as opposed to being under the comfort zone of nepotism. She is one of the actresses who has the ability to break stereotypes related to actresses and their ability to generate revenue in solo lead films and live beyond the socially constructed shelf-life.

She is also one of the actresses whose work I follow in Bollywood along with the likes of Vidya Balan, Radhika Apte, Taapsee Pannu, Rani Mukerji, etc. I was rooting for her to win awards for Highway and Raazi. She did a commendable job in Udta Punjab too, but that year I was rooting for Sonam Kapoor to win for Neerja.

But, Filmfare’s decision to give her the best actress award for Gully Boy was both demeaning and disappointing, especially to Alia herself.

Alia won the award in the same category that saw powerful performances such as Rani Mukerji for Mardaani 2, Priyanka Chopra for The Sky Is Pink and Vidya Balan for Mission Mangal. Also, Alia’s role as Safeena in Gully Boy is not exactly the lead character. Her role can only be described as an extended cameo or a supporting role. Kalki Koechlin had more to do in the film than Alia Bhatt.

Rani Mukerji delivered one of the most powerful performances in Mardaani 2. She plays a tough cop. She gave her colleague a piece of her mind for slut-shaming a rape survivor. The interview scene where she speaks about gender inequality and misogyny women face on a daily basis is more than enough to give her an award.

Despite having Akshay Kumar’s face projected in all the articles and posters, it is Vidya who carried the film Mission Mangal with her steadfast performance and charisma. Vidya’s character Tara is shown as the brain behind the Mangalyaan mission.

The movie The Sky Is Pink didn’t impress the audience the way it was expected to but Priyanka Chopra’s performance was worth it.

My point is that when it comes to the best actress in the leading role, why not give to someone who did the lead role?

That being said, I do not believe it is Alia’s fault. Unless the legend is true and the award shows are, indeed, rigged.

The awards took place around the time when there was a huge hue and cry over Bigg Boss 13 itself being rigged and the winner Sidharth Shukla allegedly receiving favouritism from the makers.

Gully Boy is undoubtedly one of the best films of 2019 but the fact it swept 13 awards, beating 2005’s Black, makes me ask, did the jury even watch all the films this year?

Ranveer Singh did a good job but the awards would have been more believable if Ayushmann Khurrana won the lead actor award for Article 15. Given that there was brownface controversy relating to Ranveer Singh’s appearance in Gully Boy.

Student Of The Year 2 is one of the most critically panned films of the year, yet Ananya Panday won the Best Debut award which raises questions regarding nepotism. We have seen several examples before, notably Sooraj Pancholi winning the best debut award over Vicky Kaushal, who delivered a powerful debut performance in Masaan, during the 2016 Filmfare Awards. Plenty of criticism was directed at the awards back then about nepotism and privilege.

The Filmfare Awards have often delivered WTF verdicts before, such as a Best Film nomination for Dhoom, a Best Actor win for Hrithik Roshan in Dhoom 2, and a Best Film win for Dabangg, etc.

Actress Kangana Ranaut mentioned that award ceremonies are conducted based on who shows up for the award. Akshay Kumar too, has said that categories and awards were given to those who attend the awards and they were informed beforehand.

Last year, IIFA’s decision to give Deepika Padukone an award for the Best Actress In 20 Years for her performance in Chennai Express was a massive joke.

Personally, I stopped watching the Filmfare and other awards since 2015 because of these reasons. Bollywood itself has a long way to go in terms of breaking stereotypes.

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