The Jury members for Hindi and Marathi films for the 21st Annual Life Ok Screen Awards had an onerous task in selecting the nominees and winners from scores of noteworthy films that released in 2014. Superstar of yesteryears, Biswajit Chatterjee, stepped into the significant role of the Hindi Jury Chairperson while the acclaimed film, television and theatre actress Rohini Hattangadi served as the Marathi Jury Chairperson and both did a splendid job of factoring in all opinions and votes on the nominees and winners.
Chatterjee devoted a significant amount of time watching practically all films that were on the shortlist, either in theaters or on DVDs. His co-jurors namely directors Nikhil Advani, Subhash Kapoor, Milan Luthria, Sanjay Chel, Vijay Krishna Acharya, Milan Luthria, Rajkumar Gupta, renowned villain Prem Chopra and actress Urmila Matondkar did a fine job of their role in the Jury too. Movies were watched intently and discussed threadbare. Contradictory points of view were put forward passionately and gracefully accepted or rebuffed. All in all, the debates were lively, invigorating and compelling. The most refreshing part of it all was that despite being integral to the film industry, none of them tried to push agendas for friends in the industry and maintained exacting standards for all. We also saw a side to them which several are unaware – for instance, Matondkar, quite a songstress herself displayed a keen ear for music, veteran Prem Chopra happens to be the nicest villain on the block, Biswajit Chatterjee has unending patience, Subhash Kapoor and Milan Luthria are sticklers for punctuality and all very propah, Nikhil Advani has an ability to multi-task no matter where he’s shooting, Rajkumar Gupta an avid film buff has an eye for detail and Sanjay Chhel and Vijay Krishna Acharya are well versed with pretty much in all departments of film-making and their lively exchange was thoroughly entertaining.
The Marathi Jury members — Rohini Hattangadi, Nitish Bhardwaj and Nishigandha Wad–all equally busy courtesy their careers in films, theatre and television were an industrious lot too. Despite all their engagements they kept their promise to us and pored over the deserving films before eventually picking the winners. Considering the Marathi film industry had an exceptionally good year with sparkling films like Vitti Dandu (which picked up the award for the Best Film), Dr Prakash Baba Amte, Rama Madhav, Tapaal, Fandry and Yellow among others, the job at hand was hardly enviable.
The Film Marketing Jury with high-profile business heads such as Jury Chairperson Sam Balsara (Chairman, & Managing Director, Madison World), Schauna Chauhan (CEO, Parle Agro Pvt. Ltd.) and Shailendra Singh (Joint Managing Director, Percept Ltd. and Inceptor of Sunburn) had its work cut out with the reams of information at hand about the innovative film marketing strategies adopted by various companies. This once, innovation was as important as Return on Investment and threw up 2 States as the winner.
No matter the category, after several rounds of discussion, eventually, jurors were on the same page and a happy consensus was reached. That the film industry at large has lauded their choices suggests that the efforts were well worth it. The Jury could certainly take a bow for a job well done.