The arrival of the New Year coincides with the begin- ning of the award season, a time to stand up and applaud those that stood out with their remarkable contribution to cinema. As the 21st Annual Life OK Screen Awards draws closer, the preparations, especially that of shortlisting the nominees by the Selection Academy for the coveted honour are underway. Here’s looking at the early indications of the talent that could possibly make the cut.
The winter nip is in the air, the Christmas lights still twinkling from the tree and hearts skipping with joy at the arrival of another new year. Quite like an unopened gift, 2015 lies there and beckons. Well, like all the previous years, to mark the glory and triumph of Hindi and Marathi cinema in the year gone by and the excitement of time to come, we have the 21st Annual Life OK Screen Awards coming up soon. The Selection Academy along with the Screen team shortlisted films for the Jury that eventually selects the nominees and the winners.
And now the Jury is out, sifting through films, visiting and occasionally, revisiting them to prune it down to the coveted nominations.
The Selection Academy made up of industry veterans, powerful producers , technicians and writers aims to make a longlist of the films for the jury so that deserving films are not forgotten or over- looked. The Jury of course, has its own independent mandate and can even consider films outside of the longlist recommended by the Selection Academy.
Entries for 2014 were not too difficult to figure out. Almost unanimously, the Academy comprising of music director Lalit Pandit, choreographer Saroj Khan, costume designer Niharika, set designer Nitin Desai, casting director Mukesh Chhabra, Oscar winning sound designer Resul Pookutty, producers Champak Jain, Bhushan Kumar, Ramesh Taurani and Anjum Rizvi, Tanuj Garg and director Mrigdeep Singh Lamba singled out the films. Interestingly, the movies selected were made by both, established and new directors. There was Queen which had Kangana Ranaut as the protagonist helmed by the relatively new Vikas Bahl, Rajat Kapoor’s directorial venture, Ankhon Dekhi, debutant director Nitin Kakkar’s Filmistaan and 2 States directed by another newcomer, Abhishek Verman. Imtiaz Ali’s Highway, Rajkumar Hirani’s PK, Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider and set designer-turned director Omung Kumar’s Mary Kom, are also films to be considered for awards across the various cate- gories ranging from acting, music, direction and the technical sections etc.
A clutch of commercially successful films too found repre- sentation – the Salman Khan starrer, Kick directed by produc- er-turned-director Sajid Nadiadwala, Mohit Suri’s Ek Villain, Bhoothnath Returns directed by the relatively new Nitesh Tiwari, who had earlier co-directed Chillar Party, Siddharth Malhotra’s Bang Bang, National Award winning director Hansal Mehta’s, CityLights and Abhishek Dubey’s Madhuri Dixit Nene-Huma Qureshi,Naseeruddin Shah-Arshad Warsi starrer Dedh Ishqiya.
The slate also includes, Farah Khan’s heist story, Happy New Year starring Shah Rukh Khan- Deepika Padukone, Amol Gupte’s Hawa Hawaii, Tiger Shroff’s launch vehicle Heropanti directed by Sabbir Khan, A. R. Murugadoss’ Akshay Kumar starrer Holiday A Soldier Is Never Off Duty, Shashank Khaitaan’s Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania with Varun Dhawan and Alia Bhatt, Homi Adajania’s quirky film about five odd ball characters, Finding Fanny, David Dhawan’s ‘Main Tera Hero’, Pradeep Sarkar’s ‘Mardaani’ starring Rani Mukerji, Ashim Ahluwalia’s Miss Lovely, and debutant director Vinil Mathew’s ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’.
The year also saw debutant Soumik Sen’s ‘Gulaab Gang’, Ali Zafar Abbas’ ‘Gunday’, Shashanka Ghosh’s ‘Khoobsurat’, Bhushan Patel’s ‘Raagini MMS 2’ , veteran director Ketan Mehta’s ‘Rang Rasiya’, Rohit Shetty’s ‘Singham Returns’, Sandeep A Varma’s ‘Manjunath’, Vikram Bhatt helmed ‘Creature 3D’, Shaad Ali’s ‘Kill Dil’, Raj Nidimoru and Krishna D.K.’s ‘Happy Ending’, Chandraprakash Dwivedi’s ‘Zed Plus’, Ravi Kumar’s hard-hitting account of the Bhopal gas tragedy, ‘Bhopal A Prayer For Rain’, Ravindra Gautam’s ‘Ekkees Toppon Ki Salaami’, Harry Baweja’s ‘Chaar Sahibzaade’ and newbie director Divya Khosla Kumar’s ‘Yaariyan’. But these were recommended largely for consideration only in a few specific categories.
The interesting part of the early pre-polls if you will, was that it throws into focus the industry’s changing perception of films. Small budget content driven films rubbed shoulders with big budget blockbusters suggesting that their time has come. Quite like the audience, the film industry is warming up to these sparklers. The only film that was perhaps left out was Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly that was largely due to its late and unscheduled December release.
With the 21st Annual Life OK Screen Awards inching clos- er, the excitement about the awards night to be hosted by superstar Shah Rukh Khan is quite palpable. Watch out for next week’s edition of Screen for the Jury Nominations. The countdown has begun!