Hello and welcome to the predictions for this year’s Filmfare awards. Now we don’t have astrologers on board, actually, we do, but we’re going to keep them away from this one because we think we know our films and who wouldn’t like the best man/woman/film to win. Awards these days, we all know, are often presented to serve a higher purpose. Often to make sure that a star performs for free on the said night or to make sure that he or she commits to making an appearance (again, for free) for future advertiser-funded programming. Rishi Kapoor, in an interview, had once confessed to having bought an award for his debut film Bobby in 1973. Now we aren’t saying that Filmfare is that award especially since it has made some very brave observations recently. The best debut award for Ayushmann Khurrana, when industry kids like Varun Dhawan and Arjun Kapoor made their entry into the world of films, was quite commendable and who can forget the best actress award for ‘Queen’ Kangana.
So back to our predictions and we start with the Best Actress Award. Not because we believe in the cliché — ladies first, but because we feel the nominees this year are a rather interesting group of really powerful performers. It’s the most difficult group of the lot. Deepika Padukone for Padmaavat or Radhika for Pataakha? Tabu for Andhadhun, Alia Bhatt for Raazi OR Neena Gupta for Badhaai Ho? For us, it’s always going to be Neena. Alia, of course, is the superstar but Neena is the comeback queen. She had once tweeted how she didn’t have work anymore but with Badhaai Ho she won’t have to worry about that for a long time to come. Neena’s portrayal of a pregnant, fifty-something mother to two grown-up boys takes the cake in a film that’s a sure-handed, gender bender and we have already forgiven Amit Ravindarnath Sharma for Tevar.
Neena’s onscreen hubby Gajraj Rao is equally good in Baadhai Ho but has failed to get a Best Actor nomination. Rao will be battling out with the likes of Vicky Kaushal (Sanju), Pankaj Tripathi (Stree), Jim Sarbh (Padmaavat), Mukesh Pahwa (Mulk) and Aparshakti Khurana (Stree). Now I loved Gajraj as the accidental third-time almost senior citizen dad in Badhaai Ho but Vicky Kaushal as Kamlesh Kanhaiyalal Kapasi aka Kamli is our choice for the Best Supporting Actor award. Sanju was a film that was completely dominated by Ranbir Kapoor considering everyone wanted to know about Sanjay Dutt and what went around his overly controversial life. But every time Kaushal shared the screen with Kapoor, he came out on top as Sanju’s Bollywood loving support system. Gajraj should have been in the best actor category but he isn’t, you will soon find out why. But first, we should look at the Best Supporting Actor, female.
Gitanjali for October, Katrina Kaif for Zero, Shikha Talsania and Swara Bhaskar for Veere Di Wedding, Yamini Das for Sui Dhaaga and Surekha Sikhri for Badhaai Ho are another close call except you know who. Our vote goes to Surekha for her portrayal of the crabby old mother-in-law who hardly shies away from ridiculing her son and bahu but steps up to save the day when it’s most required. And this brings us to two of the final categories in this piece. The best actor and the best film.
Ranveer Singh is no doubt one of the most talented performers in the industry today. His energy levels are unmatched but his Khilji from Padmaavat is not our choice for the best actor. Khilji lived and died long, long, let us add another one, long ago. We don’t know how he was, nobody does. The film itself is based on a poem. Singh was, no doubt, fabulous and dark but pales in comparison to Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanju. Playing a flawed, living legend from Bollywood is a huge task and Kapoor was excellent. To play a character like Sanjay Dutt takes a lot of guts and Ranbir aced it.
So should the best film go to Sanju then? Well, to that we will say no. There are other matters at play here. First! Rajkumar Hirani is in trouble over the sexual harassment complaint made against him during the post-production of the film. Second, the fact that Sanjay Leela Bhansali fought his way through the political situation around the film to deliver a blockbuster certainly makes us tilt that much more towards Padmaavat. But that said, by the time the said Saturday night comes to an end, we might be proved completely wrong. Maybe Katrina Kaif will win Best Supporting actress, Shah Rukh Khan may win best actor. We have Zero expectations.