All roads lead to the 61st Britannia Filmfare Awards. . .
Awards season is officially in full swing, not only here in America but also in Mumbai for Bollywood films! My friend, and guest blogger Anjali Dhawan recently attended the creme-de-la-creme of Bollywood award shows and one of the oldest film events in India, the Filmfare awards. Here is her account of this grand event, which took place on January 15, 2016 and will be airing on satellite television this Sunday:
Growing up in a small town in India in the 70s and the 80s, the simplicity of my everyday life was pleasantly punctuated each week by Chitrahaar on Wednesdays and family outings to see the latest Bollywood movies on Sundays. On Wednesdays, the whole family looked forward to sitting down together to enjoy visuals incorporating the most popular songs from Hindi movies on our black-and-white television sets; the half an hour show showing movie stars running around trees or rowing boats in lakes, energized us for a whole week, but left us pining for more. On Sundays, we were enthralled by Dharmendra and Hema Malini’s on screen chemistry in Jugnoo, Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha’s intense romance in Silsila, Yash Chopra’s breathtakingly spectacular tulip fields in Kabhi Kabhie, and Sridevi and Jitendra’s acrobatic dance moves in Tohfa. Bollywood made our lives colorful, beautiful, and fun.
With Bollywood being such an important part of my growing-up years, it was no wonder that when I moved to the United States twenty-six years ago, I tried to cling on to my memories by watching every Bollywood movie and going to every show featuring Hindi film stars. However, what I enjoyed the most each year were the award shows shown on television in the United States. Thanks to the many Indian channels on Comcast, Dish, and Direct TV, I could watch my favorite stars receive accolades and recognition for their work. I could miss the Oscars, but I never missed the telecast of the Indian equivalent of the Oscars- the Filmfare Awards held in Mumbai each year to recognize the best and the brightest of the Hindi movie industry.
My husband, not quite the movie buff that I was, watched in amusement each year when I planned a stay-at home evening, so that I could watch Filmfare Awards. If, for some reason, we could not be home, I would record the show and watch it as soon as we got home. So, in a beautiful show of his love, when the organizers of the Filmfare Awards decided to offer tickets to the public for the first time since the inception of the awards in 1954, my dear husband gifted, me with a ticket to go watch the Filmfare Award show live in Mumbai. I was delighted.
Across the Sea Link from where I was staying in Mumbai, at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel stadium in the new part of the city, the stars descended on the lovely night of January 15, 2016. Seated just a few rows from the stage, I was mesmerized by all my favorites, seen before only on the silver screen, standing before me in flesh and blood. Deepika beautifully dressed in her red designer gown, Shahrukh and Karan Johar impeccable in their tuxedos, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali elegant in his sherwani- all took my breath away. Madhuri, Sonam, Alia, and Rekha looked ethereal, Amitabh, and Jaya looked regal. Salman danced till the audience had its fill. Kapil Sharma had me in splits with his amazing comedy. The stadium teemed with the younger stars walking around. Six hours without an intermission just flew by. The energy of the stars was amazing. The show was everything I could have hoped for, and more.
Would I make the long 24-hour journey to go see the awards again? Any day!! The memories of a beautiful evening will stay with me forever. I grew up watching and loving Bollywood movies; movies are a part of my DNA. Watching my beloved stars, all at the same time, up close and personal, was indeed a special experience- one that I am unlikely to forget for a long time. So, until I go again. . .