Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Why we don't need an IIFA?

I don't remember the exact words in that article, but what it meant was that rather than going to foreign industry leaders and governments to invite them for exploring investment opportunities in their state, it would be better if our chief ministers, ministers and beaurocrats set their own house in order. With broken down (or non-existent) roads, illusive power supply and administration and law and order situation in disarray in most of the states, there is virtually no infratstructure that would attract any kind of investment from businesses within the country, forget the foreigners burning their fingers!I agreed completely with the views expressed in the article. The rule is very simple and very logical. Before hard selling the brand you have to build it. That's precisely what Chandrababu Naidu did to Andhra Pradesh.

Guess why I remembered this old story. I read a couple of new ones about (albeit grandeously titled) International India Film Academy (IIFA) Awards. IIFA Awards are held every year in a foreign country, usually in a high profile city. Starting in year 2000 in London, IIFA has been hosted by Sun City (South Africa), Genting Highlands Resorts (Malaysia), Johannesberg (South Africa), Singapore, Amsterdam (Netherlands) and latest version was held in Dubai. The official website claims to have given a boost to the host's tourism and 'promoted the business of Indian Cinema and provided it an impetus'. Well may be in terms of overseas distribution IIFA has done its bit but what else?

What is big deal in conducting another-of-the-zillion award functions that we Indians have to suffer? (I guess you have heard that Rakesh Roshan tried to get 'Kaho Na Pyaar Hai' a place in Guiness Book of World Records for highest number of awards it won! Thankfully Guiness Book brushed his claim away) There was a Filmfare (however controversial it was, it had some respect) and then came Screen-Videocon, Hero Honda-Stardust, Lux-Zee and others I don't even remember the names of. Each award is associated with a corporate and is telecast on a particular channel and you don't need to be Sherlock Holmes to understand that every award is just another 'event' for these TRP-hungry channels rather than celebrating Indian Cinema and honouring it's real talent. And very honestly presence of Amitabh Bachchan (he is the brand ambassador of IIFA) does very little to differentiate IIFA Awards from others (and if you care to visit and read about them, the award ceremony is the highest and only thing they seem to talk about).

Excuse me if you think I am being a cynic, IIFA does some good things like 'showcasing best of Indian Cinema', what I want to convey is that do these execises in foreign lands bring Indian Cinema the real prestige it deserves? Till a few years ago no one had heard about Chinese Cinema. It took only a 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' to change the global outlook towards them. I don't know if Chinese, Japanese or Koreans organize any annual award ceremonies in other countries to popularize their movies. Then why the world's largest film industry has to?

Now can you relate this scenario to one I mentioned in the beginning? Rather than going abroad singing and dancing (we have enough of that already, no?), should we not try to bring in a little more originality in our movies (favorite of every award jury, 'Black' has been 'inspired' from Krzysztof Kieslowski's 'Blue').

I agree that many of our film makers are doing good but frankly I believe that one of our movies winning an Oscar (or even a series of nominations) will do us more good than all the IIFA ceremonies put together! And may be Mahesh Bhatt is not interested in Oscar (with the kind of movies he is involved with now, he can't win it anyway!), I will be very happy and very proud that day.


Anonymous said...

Bollywood or hindi cinema has a dozen awards i.e zee, honda screen, GIFA(global indian film awards), and isn't the same as IIFA except its international instead of global, and more where it is all based on the same concept, members associated w/these awards pick nominees and fans choose them. The other famous award is the filmfare, where only the juries nominate and choose the winner. All these awards have the same nominees and not suprisngly the same winners. In addition, newer awards are added to the same list, such as MTV style awards and maybe there are more than I don't know of. Even mr. bachan was asked when IIFA came out, "Aren't there already more awards, why this one?" To this he replied, its a free country we can have as many as awards and its all recognizing the artists for their talents. This statement does not make any sense at all, as to why there are awards after awards in a year for bollywood. This is all just the t.v channels that is living like a parasite on hindi cinema for their survival and bollywood does help them and this is the reason hindi cinema only is the face indian cinema.

Anonymous said...

I found an article regarding what mr. bachan himself has to say abt the purpose of IFFA. The site were this article is found is
This is what he says.
“I think over the past seven years IIFA has benefited the film industry both commercially and socially. From providing a lucrative venue to creating awareness about Indian cinema…it has achieved a lot,” he said.
Amitabh says apart from popularising Indian cinema abroad, IIFA also allows the film fraternity to spend quality time with each other.
“I think it is a wonderful opportunity for the entire film industry to get together in one city in any part of the world over a period of four days. We are all neighbours in the film industry. But we don’t get the time to meet one another. I think it is wonderful to be in an environment where one can relax and be with one’s colleagues without stress or anxiety,” he said.