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When Small became Big

The results of the 21st Annual Life OK Screen Awards nominations were riveting to say the least. While big masala entertainers also made their mark, it was clearly the small budget, non- conformist and content driven films that enthralled the Screen Jury. Here’s taking a look at this year's nominations

Written by Screen Correspondent | Mumbai |
Updated: January 9, 2015 1:00:59 am
21st Life OK Screen Awards 21st Annual Life OK Screen Awards

If in 2013 films like The Lunchbox and Ship Of Theseus attracted the audience and the Screen Jury, 2014 was no different, as content driven films made their presence felt. Considering the wide-range of films to choose from, selecting the nominees was indeed a tough decision for the Jury.

Going off-beat

The nominations in the Best Film category was an indicator to what touched a chord with the Jury. Except for Haider, which was Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, all the other films boasted of unique concepts. If Ankhon Dekhi was about an elderly man who experiences a dramatic incident and decides to only believe what he sees, Filmistaan was about an aspiring actor who is abducted and taken to the other side of the border. Held hostage in the house of a Pakistani who deals with priated Hindi film cassettes, he strikes a friendship with him. If Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly depicted the ugly side of relationships, Imtiaz Ali’s road movie Highway about a rich man’s daughter being abducted with her abductor hell-bent on succeeding in his mission bagged the second highest number of nominations (10). Rani Mukerji’s feisty cop act, Mardaani too earned itself 10 nominations. Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider, the adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet bagged the maximum nominations in the acting department. It was Queen, with 13 nominations which reached close to the magic number (14) that Kai Po Che bagged last year. The Best Film category also has PK which broke the record of the highest opening weekend as it collected Rs.95 crore!

Super six

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In the Best Directors’ category, the competition was intense with Imtiaz Ali, Anurag Kashyap and Vishal Bhardwaj returning with extraordinary films like Highway, Ugly and Haider respectively, and are in the running for the coveted Screen trophy. For Kashyap, it was another triumph after Gangs Of Wasseypur and for Bhardwaj after Kaminey. For Vikas Bahl who made his directorial debut as an independent film-maker after co-directing Chillar Party, it was a very promising start as his film, Queen collected the highest nominations. Rajat Kapoor who has always dabbled with off-beat cinema helming films like Mithiya and Mixed Doubles, it was claiming his stakes at the awards with Ankhon Dekhi as the film bagged 8 nominations! After the hugely successful 3 Idiots five years ago, Rajkumar Hirani wove his magic once again with PK getting 8 nominations.

Acting chops

Once the domain of top stars, the Best Actor (Male and Female) category has some surprise nominees vying for the coveted award. The nominations for this year sees top guns Aamir Khan (PK), Hrithik Roshan (Bang Bang) and Shah Rukh Khan (Happy New Year). The competition has become interesting with Shahid Kapoor (Haider), Randeep Hooda (Highway), Sanjay Mishra (Ankhon Dekhi) and Varun Dhawan (Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania) who impressed the Screen Jury with their performances. Mishra deserves a mention for his flawless portrayal as Bauji and so does Kapoor who played the multi-layered Haider with elan.
Last year’s winner of the Best Actor (female), Deepika Padukone is also this year’s nominee with Finding Fanny. She has competition in the form of the relatively new Alia Bhatt who gave a noteworthy performance in Highway and Kangana Ranaut as the under-confident Rani Mehra who goes on a solo honeymoon after her fiancee ditches her in Queen. Priyanka Chopra’s spitfire act as the world renowned boxer in Mary Kom also earned her a well deserved nomination as did Rani Mukerji’s, as the feisty cop in Mardaani. Also a contender in this category is Parineeti Chopra as the geeky Meeta of Hasee Toh Phasee.
Some interesting names came up in the Best Actor in a Negative Role category. While Kay Kay Menon’s villainous act in Haider, Riteish Deshmukh’s in Ek Villain and Tahir Raj Bhasin’s in Mardaani did not come as a surprise, it was the petite Juhi Chawla who shone as the wily politician in Gulaab Gang that has caught the Jury’s eye. The other two actresses who bagged nominations in this category are Huma Qureshi and Madhuri Dixit Nene for Dedh Ishqiya. In the male category, we have Abhishek Bachchan who has been nominated as the Best Actor in a Comic Role for Happy New Year.

Fresh talent

The year also saw a host of newbies debut in Bollywood. Besides outside talent, several star kids made their mark in the industry. Tiger Shroff who has been nominated in the Most Promising Newcomer (Male) category caught the Jury’s attention for his action packed performance in Heropanti. While, Raj Kapoor’s grandson, Armaan Jain charmed the audience with his romantic debut in Lekar Hum Deewana Dil, Anil Kapoor’s nephew, Mohit Marwah who was part of the ensemble cast of Fugly, also merits a mention too.
Giving tough competition to the industry kids is Sasho Satish Sarathy who made his debut in the real life story of Manjunath in a film by the same name. Two interesting names in the nominees list are Tahir Raj Bhasin as the evil Karan Rastogi in Mardaani and Freddy Daruwala as the ruthless Ali in Holiday A Soldier Is Never Off Duty.
The tall and striking Kriti Sanon who made her debut in Heropanti also made it to the list of nominees for the Most Promising Newcomer (Female) along with Kiara Advani in Fugly.
Two critically acclaimed films, CityLights and Miss Lovely, introduced Patralekha and Niharika Singh respectively.
In the Most Promising Debut Director category, five directors with different sensibilities made it to the nominations. Sajid Nadiadwala’s masala entertainer Kick is pitted with Omung Kumar’s biopic Mary Kom. After winning the Screen Award for the Best Child actor in 2011 for Stanley Ka Dabba, Partho Gupte once again received a nomination, for his role in Hawaa Hawaai. Making his debut alongside the legendary Amitabh Bachchan in Bhoothnath Returns, Parth Bhalerao is also a strong contender for this category as is Anshika Shrivastav for her role in the edgy Ugly and Chinmaya Agarwal for Queen.

Striking a chord

The Best Music category sees varied composers like Pritam, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Mithoon and Arko Pravo Mukherjee who scored the music for the high school drama Yaariyan. Right from the peppy track ABCD to the foot-tapping Sunny sunny, the film’s music struck a cord with the youth and with the Jury. On the other hand, A. R. Rahman’s rustic compositions from the vibrant Patakha guddi to the minimalistic Mahi ve for Highway, mesmerised the music lover. Ek Villain‘s music garnering a nomination did not come as a surprise as it had composers Mithoon and Ankit Tiwari of Aashiqui 2 fame. Singer Arijit Singh who also rose to fame in Aashiqui 2, last year has once again been nominated in The Best Playback Singer (Male) category for the tender Main tenu samjhawan from Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania and the stirring Muskurane ki wajah from CityLights. Tiwari’s Galliyan from Ek Villain also won the jury over. When it comes to capturing the pulse of GenNext, Mika Singh definitely hit the right note with Jumme ki raat in Kick. A new nominee was Labh Januja who charmed us with his vocals in London thumakda from Queen.
The Best Playback Singer (Female) category saw many new nominees like Jasmine Sandlas whose husky voice made the song Yaar na miley tu from Kick a chartbuster. Jyoti and Sultana Noorana who sang the vibrant Patakha guddi from Highway have also been nominated, while Kanika Kapoor has received two nominations, one for her debut Baby doll from Ragini MMS 2 and the hip hop number Lovely from Happy New Year. Rekha Bhardwaj who lent her voice for Madhuri Dixit Nene in Hamari atariya from Dedh Ishqiya has also been nominated in the same category.
Romance ruled the roost with all the five lyricists in The Best Lyricist category, whether it was Rashmi Singh’s lyrics for Muskurane ki wajah from CityLights, or Kausar Munir’s poetic lyrics in Suno na sangmar in Youngistaan. Amitabh Bhattacharya has been nominated for penning Zehnaseeb in Hasee Toh Phasee. Main Tenu… not only got a nomination in The Best Playback Singer Male category, but its lyricist Kumaar has been nominated for the best lyrics.
Apart from compositions and a plethora of voices getting noticed, this was also the year for background scores. From films like Highway whose background score was composed by Rahman to Ek Villain‘s tranquil background score by Raju Singh, Julius Packiam scored the power-packed background score for both Kick and Mardaani. Mary Kom‘s background score by Rohit Kulkarni suited the film’s story and was gritty and moving in equal measure.

Technical Expertise

A glance at the nominations for Story, Screenplay, Dialogues, Editing, Sound Design, Special Effects, Production Design and Cinematography revealed some interesting facts. The Best Story category nominees indicate that it is small budget films which have more interesting and appealing plots as it includes Ankhon Dekhi (Rajat Kapoor), Filmistaan (Nitin Kakkar), Miss Lovely (Ashim Ahluwalia), PK (Abhijat Joshi, Rajkumar Hirani) and Zed Plus (Ram Kumar Singh, Chandraprakash Dwivedi).
The Best Screenplay category is inclined towards films that have strong and meaningful content. And interestingly, it’s women- centric films that dominate the screenplay— Manjunath (Sandeep Varma), Mardaani (Gopi Puthran, S Hussain Zaidi, Vibha Singh), Mary Kom (Saiwyn Quadras), Queen (Vikas Bahl, Chaitali Parmar, Parvez Shaikh) and Ugly (Anurag Kashyap).
For the Best Dialogues category, the nominees were surprisingly the edgy and comic films like Bhoothnath Returns (Nitesh Tiwary, Piyush Gupta, Nikhil Mehrotra, Shreyas Jain), Dedh Ishqiya (Vishal Bharadwaj), Mardaani (Gopi Puthran, S Hussain Zaidi, Vibha Singh), PK (Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi) or Queen (Anvita Dutt Guptan, Kangana Ranaut), all had effective dialogues.
Aarti Bajaj has been nominated for Best Editing for Highway and Ugly. Mardaani‘s crisp editing by Sanjib Datta and Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rajesh G Pandey’s for Mary Kom earned them nominations in this category, as did Abhijit Kokate and Anurag Kashyap’s for Queen.
The Best Sound Design Category sees a mix of big and small budget films. Resul Pookutty once again proved that he’s the best in the business as he won three nominations for Kick, Highway and PK. Other nominees include Steven Parker for Bhopal : A Prayer For Rain and Anil Kumar Khobaragade and Prabal Pradhan for Mardaani.
Surprisingly, the Best Cinematography category is dominated by small budget films. The nominees include Rafey Mahmood for Ankhon Dekhi, Anil Mehta for Finding Fanny, Pankaj Kumar for Haider, K U Mohanan for Miss Lovely and Bobby Singh for Queen.
The nominees for the Best Production Design feature a mix bag of films. Both big budget films like Bhopal : A Prayer For Rain (Vivek Jadhav and Sukant Panigrahy) and Kick (Acropolis, Rajnish) and small budget films like Haider (Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray), Miss Lovely (Tabasheer Zutshi) and Rang Rasiya (Nitin Desai) made the cut.

Visual treat

Special effects are being increasingly used in films to enhance the movie viewing experience of the audience. Be it a comedy or serious drama, films this year were peppered with just the right amount of special effects. Prime Focus was responsible for the grand visual effects in two of the biggest films this year, Kick and Bang Bang. In both films, the VFX highlighted the stunning action stunts that bagged them nominations for Best Special Effects. Reliance MediaWorks Limited is also a strong contender for the Best Special Effects award, for seamlessly weaving in breathtaking stunts by fighter cops in Singham Returns. Taking fantasy to a whole new level with the visual effects in PK and bringing on-screen the life of a humanoid alien in the most realistic way possible, Viral Thakkar, Riva Animation & VFX, is also in the running for the Best Special Effects award.

Best foot forward

There have some spectacular dance moves and unlike last year when most of the nominees in the Best Choreography category were new, this year, except for Sudesh Adhana who choreographed Bismil in Haider, it is back to the old favourites. Bosco Ceasar who made Hrithik Roshan dance to some intricate moves in Tu meri and Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Arjun Kapoor to the foot-tapping Entriyaan in Gunday bagged two nominations. Old favourite Ganesh Acharya conceived some intricate steps for newbie Tiger Shroff for Whistle baja in Heropanti which earned him a nomination in the category. Salman Khan cavorted to Ahmed Khan’s dhinchak choreography. Meanwhile, in the Best Action category, it was the veteran Ravi Verma who conceived the sword fighting sequences for Ajay Devgn and Anal Arasu who directed the spectacular stunts for Heropanti and Kick. Hollywood action director Greg Powell flew down to direct the action for Vipul Shah’s Holiday : A Soldier Is Never Off Duty. Hrithik Roshan who threw some stunning punches and kicks in Bang Bang were conceived by Parvez Shaikh.

By Screen Team


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