Praising the Oscars, trashing desi awards

Much is being made in Indian newspapers of A R Rahman’s  two Oscar nominations (Original Score and Original Song).  Nobody has seen “127 hours” or knows anything about the score or the song, but it’s an Oscar nomination!  We will be even more thrilled if he wins in at least one of these categories.

All right, this is understandable to the extent that international recognition is good.  But when we see the frenzy which accompanies the decision of which entry to submit in the “Best Foreign Film” category, we realize that it’s much more than mere international recognition.  Somehow the Oscar awards have become the arbiter for all the world’s films.  Somehow you need an Oscar to tell you that A R Rahman is very good.

I’ve blogged in the past about how ridiculous our craving for Oscar recognition is.   We have a film industry which is larger than the US film industry (in terms of volume, if not in total film budget).  We are the best arbiter when it comes to films made in India.  Why should we bother about the Oscars?  Why not give more importance to the Filmfare awards and other film awards in India?

Which brings me to my second issue – why are we so cavalier about these other film awards?  I’m just going by the casual attire that actors and actresses wear to these award ceremonies.   For the Oscars, no one would think of wearing anything except a suit.

But one after the other, Indian film stars seem to turn up in see through shirts and distressed denim at desi film awards.

Not to pick on anyone, but here’s one example (there were several others who appeared in similar attire):

Pic: Sify Movies/ Salman Khan at Star Screen Awards

Pic: Sify Movies/ Salman Khan at Star Screen Awards

I don’t need a dress code from UBS to tell me that distressed denim is not formal wear, and certainly not anything you would wear on the red carpet.

But from what I can see, ruffled, unkempt hair, see through shirts, shirts hanging out partly, distressed denim, tight T-shirts (including those with teen-humor messages) and other such attire seem to be standard red carpet attire for actors.  You would think they bunked class at some nearby college campus to appear at the awards.

I am certain that these same people, if they were to appear at an Oscar awards ceremony, would (going by the attire of Aamir Khan and Anil Kapoor) be very smartly dressed in formal business suits with not a hair out of place.

Why this differential treatment?


7 thoughts on “Praising the Oscars, trashing desi awards

  1. Pingback: Praising the Oscars, trashing desi awards | The Imagined Universe | The Oscars LIVE

    • That’s a very illuminating article (and I really appreciate your digging it up for me). I guess it’s safe to say that nothing much has changed since this article was published – commercial films and their actors continue to win most of the awards, making you wonder why “art” films, even the really good ones, are so rarely recognized. It’s a strange coincidence that the box office hit of the year is also the technically most brilliant.

      So your take is that film stars themselves view these awards with contempt and that is reflected in their attire?

  2. And I was wondering, why does Salman’s shirt have wet patches?

    It could probably be what you inferred, but I’m sure most of it is the swagger that ‘I’m a star and whatever I wear is style’ – and I think that’s what people pick up. About 5-6 years ago, I was quite shocked to see teenagers in my town wear jeans with sequinned butterflies on the derriere to some traditional ceremony, maybe it was even a wedding, don’t remember. Not disapproval, just astonished.

    • Like the emperor in the “Emperor has no clothes” story 🙂 Quite possible, but then these actors presumably know that their swagger only works in India, and so take care to be well-dressed when they are abroad?

  3. hear hear!! Thank you for saying this 🙂 Why do we have this distorted/copied idea of what is “cool to wear”? I think we need a new dose of identity and originality. Atleast take an idea from anywhere and make it your own. Wearing torn jeans to an award ceremony is just a worn out, trying to be a rebel but no one cares anymore, sort of statement.
    About A.R Rahman… you can hate me, but I think his earliest works showed us what he was capable of and made us proud – they were unbelievably good. I feel he could do so much more than electronic sort of sounds and bad/non-sensical lyrics. I think we need to remember that India could produce a thousand musicians that would make it to the oscars but we need to NOT compare them to A.R Rahman. May they make it with their own style and talent!

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