The IIFA Awards Lost Their Relevance 20 Years Ago
The International Indian Film Academy(IIFA) awards were instituted with the lofty and express purpose of projecting and promoting Indian cinema across the world.
Not Bollywood, mind it! It was meant to be a global platform for Indian cinema. Farcically, the IIFA awards have over the years, become a platform solely for Hindi cinema, and not even that. Just Bollywood, thank you.
Each year, barring the last two when the pandemic did us a service by sparing us all the humbug and squandering of resources the worldover, IIFA does an eeny-meeny-mini–moh on the globe, picks an untried spot of the world—quite like foodies who try new dishes at a fancy restaurant—and then invite ‘Bollywood’ to come and celebrate.
No Malayalam cinema, no Bengali, Tamil, Telugu Assamese…just Bollywood descends on the Chosen Land for a weekend of vacationing, shopping and partying. Nobody who goes for the annual jamboree gives a flying duck for Hindi cinema(let alone Indian cinema). They are all there to party and let their hair down, whatever little of it still remains on their heads.
I remember a completely inebriated actor calling me from some part of the world where the IIFA was held that year. He had not attended even one of the functions or events hosted by the organizers, and most incredibly, he had even skipped the function where he was supposed to get an award.
That brings me to why stars agree to go to IIFA year after year even when it has zero relevance to their career: they go because they want to enjoy an all-expenses paid holiday with their family, and that includes nannys and Man-Fridays. I remember a well-known actress who refused to board the flight to Tahiti/Timbuctoo/Bosnia or wherever the “global” awards were held that year because the ticket for one of her children’s two nannys had not arrived.
While we laugh over the sheer pettiness of these joyless celluloid travelers, think of all the millions that have been wasted over this annual jamboree. Who pays for the nanny’s ticket?
More importantly why do we give any importance to an awards function that purports to represent India globally and then represents a fraction of Indian cinema , and that too the most irrelevant part of it?
Think of this. The nominees want to know in advance if they are getting the award. Or else they won’t attend the function.More fun to go shopping especially when it is on the house.