A handful of award ceremonies for the films of 2009 have come and gone, it is now the turn of the 55th Annual Filmfare Awards. As with each year, the winners will largely be predictable, while there will be some truly deserving films that will be left behind. Here is my rundown of the top ten categories at this year’s FilmFare Awards, highlighting the films and artistes that truly deserve the recognition. Oddly, despite having 37 categories, the organizers have only made these 10 categories and the nominees public. Here is who I think should win and who I predict will win:
BEST PLAYBACK SINGER (FEMALE)
Nominees: Alisha Chinoy (“Tera Hone Laga”, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani) | Kavita Seth (“Iktara”, Wake Up Sid) | Rekha Bhardwaj (“Genda Phool”, Delhi-6) | Shilpa Rao (“Mudi Mudi”, Paa) | Shreya Ghoshal (“Zoobi Doobi”, 3 Idiots) | Sunidhi Chauhan (“Chor Bazaari”, Love Aaj Kal)
This one goes to Rekha Bhardwaj for “Genda Phool” from Delhi-6. Not only is the music to this song a great fusion of traditional folk and contemporary urban beats, Bhardwaj lends it a teasingly fun voice. Her voice is mostly known for more traditional folk songs, but here she adds the oomph and brings the same fusion of the music into her singing.
My Prediction: Rekha Bhardwaj for “Genda Phool” or Kavita Seth for “Iktara”.
BEST PLAYBACK SINGER (MALE)
Nominees: Atif Aslam (“Tu Jaane Na”, Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani) | Javed Ali – Kailash Kher (“Arziyan”, Delhi-6) | Mohit Chauhan (“Masakali”, Delhi-6) | Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (“Aaj Din Chhadya”, Love Aaj Kal) | Sukhwinder Singh – Vishal Dadlani (“Dhan Te Nan”, Kaminey) | Sonu Nigam – Salim Merchant (“Shukran Allah”, Kurbaan)
This is actually a tough one to decide but I would give it to Javed Ali-Kailash Kher for “Arziyan” from Delhi-6. It is one of the most mesmerizing contemporary renditions of a qawwali I’ve heard in a long time, and both Ali and Kher bring to it a deep spiritual aura that makes the song unforgettable.
My Prediction: Sukhwinder Singh-Vishal Dadlani for “Dhan Te Nan” from Kaminey, because it was undoubtedly the anthem of 2009.
Nominees: Gulzar (“Kaminey”, Kaminey) | Gulzar (“Dhan Te Nan”, Kaminey) | Irshad Kamil (“Aaj Din Chhadya”, Love Aaj Kal) | Javed Akhtar (“Iktara”, Wake Up Sid) | Prasoon Joshi (“Masakali”, Delhi-6) | Prasoon Joshi (“Rehna Tu”, Delhi-6)
Gulzar deserves this recognition for the title song of Kaminey. He is at his usual poetic best, having written a hauntingly somber song that unfortunately didn’t receive much popular acclaim as it was overshadowed by “Dhan Te Nan.”
My Prediction: This could go any which way, but I’d bet on Prasoon Joshi for “Masakali” or Gulzar for “Dhan Te Nan.”
Nominees: A.R. Rahman (Delhi-6) | Amit Trivedi (Dev D) | Pritam (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani) | Pritam (Love Aaj Kal) | Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy (Wake Up Sid) | Vishal Bhardwaj (Kaminey)
This goes to A.R.Rahman for Delhi-6, hands down! Not only is it the best soundtrack of 2009, it should also go down in history as one of the best ever. The enchanting and eclectic quality of this album is proof of the genius of Rahman. It has everything from a Hindu prayer to a rap song to a soulful love ballad to a qawwali, and everything in between. Truly amazing. Amit Trivedi is a runner-up for an innovative (and big) album for Dev D. Also, the underrated Ilaiyaraaja deserved a nomination for Paa.
My Prediction: A. R. Rahman for Delhi-6. If he wins, it will be his 4th consecutive win.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (FEMALE)
Nominees: Arundhati Nag (Paa) | Dimple Kapadia (Luck By Chance) | Divya Dutta (Delhi-6) | Kalki Koechlin (Dev D) | Supriya Pathak (Wake Up Sid) | Shahana Goswami (Firaaq)
I believe Kalki Koechlin’s character in Dev D was incredibly difficult and risqué. She wasn’t just the romanticized courtesan, but the gutsy no-care-for-the-world yet internally conflicted prostitute. A shining performance. Dimple Kapadia as the ageing diva in Luck By Chance was also excellent.
My Prediction: Dimple Kapadia for Luck By Chance.
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE (MALE)
Nominees: Amole Gupte (Kaminey) | Boman Irani (3 Idiots) | Neil Nitin Mukesh (New York) | R Madhavan (3 Idiots) | Rishi Kapoor (Luck by Chance) | Sharman Joshi (3 Idiots)
I’d tie this between Amole Gupte for Kaminey and (someone who’s not on the list) Piyush Mehra for Gulaal. While Gupte was gripping as the shrewd, edgy and darkly funny bad guy we all loved to hate (and secretly wishing we could hang out with), Mehra was absolutely amazing as the mentally challenged and musically gifted moral conscience of Gulaal.
My Prediction: Amole Gupte for Kaminey or Neil Nitin Mukesh for New York.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE (FEMALE)
Nominees: Deepika Padukone (Love Aaj Kal) | Kareena Kapoor (3 Idiots) | Kareena Kapoor (Kurbaan) | Katrina Kaif (New York) | Priyanka Chopra (Kaminey) | Vidya Balan (Paa)
This one is difficult, not because everyone is deserving of the award, but because I’m not sure any of these performances were truly that great. Sadly, 2009 was a dry year for female actors in terms of role depth and scope. The best films are still male-centric narratives so the female actors have to work extra hard to be noticed. Having said that, Priyanka Chopra’s performance in Kaminey stands out in this list. She was very convincing as a feisty lower class city girl with attitude, and managed to deliver a truly commendable performance despite competing with two Shahid Kapoors!
My Prediction: Tough to call, but maybe Kareena Kapoor for either of her films.
BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE (MALE)
Nominees: Aamir Khan (3 Idiots) | Amitabh Bachchan (Paa) | Ranbir Kapoor (Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani) | Ranbir Kapoor (Wake up Sid) | Saif Ali Khan (Love Aaj Kal) | Shahid Kapoor (Kaminey)
Out of this crop Shahid Kapoor undoubtedly deserves the award. He delivered a truly coming-of-age performance in Kaminey, playing both the stammering and lisping twin brothers. Both were difficult roles, and Shahid pulled them off with élan. Abhay Deol should have been nominated for a stellar performance in Dev D. Ranbir Kapoor is also worth noting, but not so much for either of two films for which he’s nominated here. His performance in Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year was miles better.
My prediction: Amitabh Bachchan for Paa.
Nominees: Anurag Kashyap (Dev D) | Ayan Mukerji (Wake up Sid) | Imtiaz Ali (Love Aaj Kal) | R Balki (Paa) | Rajkumar Hirani (3 Idiots) | Vishal Bhardwaj (Kaminey)
For the fact that I think both his releases in 2009 were the best films of the year, the Best Director is unquestionably Anurag Kashyap. He is a director that isn’t afraid to push the envelope. He doesn’t just push it, he flings it wide open. His stories are punchy, relevant, and at the end of the day, thoroughly entertaining. A close runner-up would be Vishal Bhardwaj for Kaminey. A name that should have been in this list is Zoya Akhtar for Luck By Chance for delivering an intricately mature and thoroughly entertaining look at the inner workings of the Mumbai tinsel town.
My prediction: R Balki for Paa or Rajkumar Hirani for 3 Idiots.
Nominees: 3 Idiots | Dev D | Kaminey | Love Aaj Kal | Paa | Wake Up Sid
I’m going to really shake things up here: the Best Film of 2009 hasn’t even been nominated! Eight years in the making, a punchy socio-political drama with powerhouse performances, the Best Film of 2009 is Gulaal. Directed by Anurag Kashyap, this film is outstanding and path-breaking, a treat for lovers of Hindi cinema.
However, if I had to pick from the six Filmfare nominees, I would go for Dev D. This too is an Anurag Kashyap film. The film breaks many conventions and delivers an eccentric, at times frenetic, interpretation of a literary classic and a Bollywood favorite – good ol’ Devdas. A very close runner-up, again, would be Vishal Bhardwaj’s Kaminey.
My prediction: 3 Idiots.
So there you have it. My two cents. Who would you give the awards to?