Winning doesn’t always mean being first. It also means doing a thing a notch better than what you’ve done in the past. You set the bar higher not for others but for yourself. And this is true at least for the winners of the 64th Vimal Elaichi Filmfare Awards 2019 that you will witness tonight at 9pm on Colors TV. Those who held the trophy were the first among equals. And those who cheered for them did so with immense grace.
From the fresh-faced Sara Ali Khan who wowed the audience with her vivacity and her gung-ho attitude in Kedarnath and Simmba to the evergreen Hema Malini who charms us even after spending fifty years in the industry. She was honoured with a special award for her work. Lovebirds Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt both took home trophies, as did the loveliest father-daughter duo in B-town, Gulzar and Meghna Gulzar. Ranveer Singh might have won an award for playing a baddie but Deepika Padukone had only love in her eyes for him when she presented him the Black Lady for the Critics’ Award for Best Actor (Male) that he shared with Ayushmann Khurrana.
There was a lump in everyone’s throat when the late Sridevi was posthumously honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. She was there with us in spirit, alive in the memories of all those present. All stood up in respect when Boney Kapoor with daughters Khushi and Janhvi Kapoor received the award on the legend’s behalf.
This and so much more happened and you can witness it all tonight as the show rolls at 9pm. But before the celebration unravels, here’s profiling all the winners who took the glorious Black Lady home.
Best Actor In A Leading Role (Male) – Popular
Ranbir Kapoor – Sanju
Here, Ranbir Kapoor seems to have convinced himself that he’s actually Sanjay Dutt. No wonder his physical transformations and the voice modulations appear so convincing. They seem to mirror Dutt’s soul. Ranbir’s breakdown during the premiere of his debut Rocky, the turmoil during drug rehab, the excruciating jail scenes ñ all appear hauntingly real just as do those scenes where he’s being a stud. Looks like it’ll be difficult for Ranbir to surpass this performance.
Best Actor In A Leading Role (Female) – Popular
Alia Bhatt – Raazi
Alia Bhatt is the soul of the film. You can sense the anguish she undergoes being a field agent, pushing aside all personal and humane feelings, knowing well she’ll have to pay the ultimate sacrifice. She goes around with a smile on her face, fulfilling all the obligations of a new bahu, even as she’s plotting all the time. Her reaction shots inside the Brigadier’s household are breathtaking. You cheer when her patriotism comes to the fore, you tear up when she’s left to stare at a vacuous life ahead.
Critics’ Award For Best Actor (Male)
Ranveer Singh – Padmaavat
Ranveer Singh flexed both his hard-earned muscles as well as his acting chops to give us a portrayal of a power-hungry ruler driven by lust and tyranny. As a battle-hardened warrior, he betrays an insatiable greed to possess the best. He’s ruled by his obsession for the Rajput queen and Ranveer brings Alauddin Khilji’s mad energy superbly to life. You can’t take your eyes off him, anxious to know how far the mad monarch can go.
Ayushmann Khurrana – Andhadhun
Ayushmann Khurrana is a steal as the piano player with a kink. His switches from being blind to being normal are spot on. Later, his helplessness and rage at being subjected to the world’s unfairness is apt too. It’s said the musically-inclined actor took lessons in playing the piano for the role. No wonder the notes were a manifest of his myriad emotions. He plays a practical joke on the world and like a seasoned stand-up comic, never breaks character. His face is a succession of masks throughout.
Critics’ Award For Best Actor (Female)
Neena Gupta – Badhaai Ho
Neena Gupta is such a natural in Badhaai Ho, that you believe she’s actually pregnant. She glows at the thought of getting another chance to play mother and lets life take over. A third pregnancy, that too after her sons have grown up, isn’t easy. Neena, as the unsuspecting middle-aged mother-to-be, brings to fore all the embarrassments, difficulties and insecurities associated with it in her performance. Her reaction scenes with screen husband Gajraj Rao (and with everyone else) are on point. That the audience took to her performance is a sign of the changing times.
Meghna Gulzar – Raazi
She directed her first film, Filhaal, in 2002. The film was positioned around surrogacy. Her second movie was Just Married in 2007. Her third feature Talvar (2015), based on the Aarushi Talwar murder case won much critical acclaim. Raazi is her most successful film commercially as well as critically. Meghna Gulzar concentrated less on spy craft and more on the emotional toll that it takes on Sehmat (Alia Bhatt) while doing her duty. The director made sure to bring out the human side even of the enemy.
Best Film (Popular)
Junglee Pictures and Dharma Productionsí Raazi is a slickly made espionage drama brimming with patriotic fervour. The 1971 war serves as the backdrop of this spy thriller. Thankfully, jingoism has been avoided. There’s no Pakistan bashing or India bashing in the film. Both sides go about their jobs as professionals, believing in their respective causes. Alia Bhatt comes across as an ordinary girl on an extraordinary mission. Not for one moment does the film lose sight of her torment. It subtly brings home the truth that war is actually a defeat at the human level.
Best Film (Critics)
Sriram Raghavan – Andhadhun
Sriram Raghavan won critical acclaim for his 2004 thriller Ek Hasina Thi. His second feature film, Johnny Gaddar (2007), was also appreciated. The revenge-thriller Badlapur (2015), consolidated his position. His latest, AndhaDhun (2018), received positive reviews and remains his most commercially-successful film. With ample use of noir elements , it reminds you of American pulp movies, where every character is skewed and serves his or her own agenda. AndhaDhun offers homage to the Hindi film music of the í70s as well, what with Ayushmann playing hit tunes of the era on his piano.
Best Actor In A Supporting Role Male
Gajraj Rao – Badhaai Ho
The way Gajraj Rao, our very own Rowan Atkinson, reacts to things around him is delightful. Mr Bean would be proud. His romance with Neena Gupta epitomises the comfort that comes with a long companionship. He doesn’t have to say anything to her. Mere glances are enough.
Vicky Kaushal – Sanju
Vicky Kaushal, as the goofy Kamlesh in Sanju, is a revelation indeed. He goes toe-to-toe with Ranbir Kapoor in the film. He acts as the emotional anchor to the protagonist and is also his conscience keeper. He comes out trumps displaying both sentimentality and sternness through the journey.
Best Actor In A Supporting Role Female
Surekha Sikhri – Badhaai Ho
Surekha Sikri is delightful as the vitriolic mother-in-law, who nevertheless takes up for her bahu at a family wedding when the relatives corner her for her supposed indecent behaviour. Sikri’s everyone’s grandmother rolled into one. The actor has made a career out of playing the cranky matriarch but admirably brings variations to every role she enacts. She’s shown to be mostly lying on a bed in the film but that doesn’t stop her from making her presence felt all the same.
Best Original Story
Anubhav Sinha – Mulk
For years, we have been divided into them and us. Currently, this divide has reached such a state that only if you hate them, are you with us. Mulk makes you see these dark truths and you can’t help but nod. The writing, especially the idiomatic dialogue and the court scenes, are soul-stirring. Anubhav Sinha peels off the genteel mask of society and makes us face the monster within through some sensitive writing.
Akshat Ghildial – Badhaai Ho
The film is a situational comedy about a middle-aged woman bearing a child. The setting is strictly middle-class Delhi. One can imagine the complexities arising within her family, as also in her neighbourhood as a result of her unusual pregnancy. The gossip that you hear seems real, so is the envy, not to mention the awkwardness in conversations. What’s more, the love and concern comes out as real as well.
Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti, Yogesh Chandekar, Hemanth Rao – Andhadhun
Director Sriram Raghavan and his team of writers have written a delightfully dark AndhaDhun, which grabs you by the jugular in the first frame itself and refuses to let go. It’s funny as hell, morbid too in parts and includes noir elements as well. The best part is the screenplay, which keeps the viewers involved and guessing. The twists and turns keep turning up till the last scene and you want to rush back to the theatres to decode the unsolved mystery.
50 Years of Outstanding Contribution to Cinema
Hema Malini is not only an accomplished actress but also a classical dancer with a worldwide following. She’s a writer, director, producer and a politician as well.
Hema made her acting debut in 1962 with the Tamil film Ithu Sathiyam. Her debut as a lead actress began with the Hindi film Sapno Ka Saudagar (1968), where she was cast opposite showman Raj Kapoor. Incidentally, it was in the posters of her debut film that she was described as Dream Girl ñ a sobriquet that has stuck to her ever since. Incidentally, during her heyday, a film called Dream Girl (1977), starring Dharmendra and her, was produced to cash in on the popularity of her nickname. She appeared in hits after hits like Johny Mera Naam, Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay, Azaad and Naseeb (between 1970 -1981). She formed formidable partnerships with top stars of her era, be it Sanjeev Kumar, Rajesh Khanna, Jeetendra, Amitabh Bachchan and of course Dharmendra, whom she later married. Such was her track record that she was labelled as a female superstar. Apart from her commercial successes, she also won applause for doing off-kilter films like Khushboo (1975), Kinara (1977), Meera (1979) and Ek Chadar Maili Si (1986). Dance and politics remain other significant facets of her persona.
Lifetime Achievement Award
After making a mark, first as a child artiste in the South industry and then as one of its leading lights, she soon came to dominate the Hindi film world as well.
The late Sridevi’s first Hindi film as a lead, Solva Sawan (1979) didn’t do well at the box- office. It was with Himmatwala (1983), where she was paired with Jeetendra, that she came to be known as a blockbuster heroine. The Sri-Jeetu pair became a popular one with hits like Jaani Dost (1983), Justice Chaudhury (1983) and Balidaan (1985) to their credit. They went on to star in around 20 films together in a six-year period.
The other actor with whom she formed a professional bond was Anil Kapoor. The duo appeared in around 14 films together, most of them successful. Their first mega hit was Mr India (1987). The chemistry they displayed in the song Kate nahin katte was surreal and still manages to keep us riveted. Her other best known commercial hits include Nagina (1986), Chaalbaaz (1989), and Laadla (1994).
She only did limited films with Amitabh Bachchan. They first appeared together in Inquilaab (1984). Their big hit as a pair came with Aakhri Raasta (1986). Khuda Gawah (1992) too was a notable success. They were also seen together in English Vinglish (2012), where he had a cameo. After a five-year hiatus, Sridevi featured in Mom (2017). She was last seen in a cameo in Zero (2018). The superstar passed away last February in Dubai, leaving millions of fans bereaved…
Best Debut Male
Ishaan Khattar – Beyond The Clouds
Ishaan Khatter is the find of noted Iranian filmmaker’s film Beyond The Clouds. His chemistry with his screen sister (Malavika Mohanan), who ends up in jail in a bid to protect him, has the right dose of love and despair. Though this is a stark film, his performance also hints at his latent commercial prowess. Unrehearsed yet intuitive, his confidence is amazing for a debutant.
Best Debut Female
Sara Ali Khan – Kedarnath
What holds your attention in this Abhishek Kapoor film is the natural ease displayed by debutante Sara Ali Khan. Her bubbly effervescence is a hark back to that of mother Amrita Singh’s verve. Sara’s screen presence keeps you oblivious of everything else around in this film of love in the time of loss. To display such proficiency opposite a seasoned actor like Sushant Singh Rajput, is nothing but sheer talent.
Best Debut Director
Amar Kaushik – Stree
Once in a while there comes a film, which turns out to be genre defining. Amar Kaushik’s Stree turned out to be that horror comedy. It was a film, which defied conventions. The ghost in the film, for instance, fought for women’s rights. The film not only scared you silly but imparted valuable lessons too along the way. Talk about having the best of both the worlds.
Vikram Dahiya And Sunil Rodriguez – Mukkabaaz
The reason the boxing bouts in Anurag Kashyap’s Mukkabaaz feel so real is because instead of incorporating stunt fighters, the action directors cast real boxers for the scenes. So, the protagonist had to go toe-to-toe with athletes, who are serious about the sport and got knocked about quite a bit. But the results are worth the pain as the fights look authentic indeed. The action choreography is as good as those we see in Hollywood boxing films.
Best Music Album
Padmaavat – Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is the ultimate filmmaker. But in Padmaavat, his labour of love, he excelled in composing music too. The soundtrack has music influenced by Sufi elements, Arabic and Egyptian tunes and the folk strains of Rajasthan. Every song is like a miniature story that brings out different elements, different emotions. The orchestration too is minimal, not taking over the vocal efforts of the singers. The album endorsed the musical genius of SLB.
Ae Watan – Gulzar (Raazi)
It isn’t easy to create a rousing patriotic song. But not only has veteran Gulzar created one, he’s succeeded in turning it into a ghazal-qawwali fusion as well. And he did it all without resorting to hyper nationalism. The song talks about being in love with one’s country and the protagonist’s willingness to lay down her life for the homeland. It exudes josh and inspiration at the same time.
Best Playback Singer (Male)
Arijit Singh – Aye Watan (Raazi)
Arijit Singh’s rendition of this patriotic song brings out strong feelings of love for one’s country but in a subtle way, going against the grain of such anthems. Itís almost like a tender love song, albeit for one’s country. It’s more like a ghazal, an ode to the nation. The orchestration is offbeat, giving more leeway to the singer, who has experimented with it in the best possible way.
Best Playback Singer (Female)
Shreya Ghoshal – Ghoomar (Padmaavat)
Ghoomar is a riot of emotions and Shreya Ghoshal renders them all bang on. It’s a song both about celebration and dance with Rajasthani folk elements. Shreya captures it all perfectly. The song is about a queen rejoicing with abandon. It’s about a woman letting go and dwelling in the moment. Shreya’s voice encapsulates all that and more.
Rd Burman Award For Upcoming Talent In Film Music
Niladri Kumar – Laila Majnu
Niladri Kumar’s father, Pandit Kartick Kumar, was a sitar player. He was a disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Niladri started learning music at the age of four under his father. He gave his first performance at the age of six at Shri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry. Niladri is credited with inventing the zitar, a combination of the sitar and the guitar. He reduced the strings from 20 to five and also added an electric pickup inside the instrument to make it sound like a guitar. He’s known for his mastery over both the sitar and the zitar and has been touring extensively all over the world as a solo artiste and also with renowned musicians like Zakir Hussain, Jonas Hellborg and John McLaughlin. In Laila Majnu (2018), he composed five songs. His tracks blended the inherent folk sound of Kashmir with the strains of world music.
Pankaj Kumar – Tumbbad
Cinematographer Pankaj Kumar should be lauded for the haunting visuals encased in Tumbbad. Rahil Anil Barve and Adesh Prasad’s film is set in a remote Maharashtrian village. The pristine beauty of the place is brought alive in the camerawork. Apart from that, the film is also set in a tunnel down a well and the claustrophobia associated with enclosed spaces is effectively conveyed. After a while, the eeriness of the place begins to have an effect on you, thanks to the immersive cinematography.
Red Chillies Fx – Zero
Shah Rukh Khan’s height was digitally altered in Zero to make him look like a dwarf. It was all done so seamlessly that nothing seemed out of place. The scenes in NASA, particularly the zero-gravity sequence, was a perfect marriage of technology and imagination. Zero is a milestone. It has taken VFX to another level, offering us a glimpse of possibilities that lie ahead and suggesting exciting methods of storytelling. Zero is a hero when it comes to computer imagery.
Best Background Score
Daniel George – Andhadhun
AndhaDhun is a thriller and key moments are subtly highlighted to cue in the viewers. In fact, the music keeps the tension alive. The bulk of the background track makes ample use of piano scores, using both jazz and Bollywood tunes to create a crescendo, which complements the film to a T. The score is an aural treat and its earworm-like quality makes sure you take it home with you.
Kruti Mahesh Midya, Jyoti Tomaar (Ghoomar – Padmaavat)
Ghoomar is a celebration of love, of life. A young queen from distant shores has learnt a new style and wants to showcase it to her beloved ñ the king. Love makes her feet twirl as she flows from one step to the other, floating on happiness. You can’t take your eyes off Deepika Padukone in the song. She’s literally like a force of nature, twirling away to glory. The intricate choreography by Kruti Mahesh Midya and Jyoti Tomaar is a class apart.
Pooja Ladha Surti – Andhadhun
Deft scissor work is the difference between a smooth thriller and a jerky one. Editing gives shape to the tension in such films. The edge-of-the seat quality of AndhaDhun owes a great deal to Pooja Ladha Surti, who perhaps was able to cut so well because she was part of the writing team too. The numerous twists and turns in the film lend an even pace. The editor also made sure that the action never slacked.
Best Production Design
Nitin Zihani Chaudhary,Rakesh Yadav – Tumbbad
Tumbbad is set in a small hamlet of a bygone era. The props, the vehicles, the architecture look authentic. The smallest details, be it the wooden boats, the ancestral well, or the dilapidated ancestral house, appear genuine. The story would have lost its purity if even a little was compromised. But Nitin Zihani Chaudhary and Rakesh Yadav made sure nothing was out of place. The set of the labyrinth where the climax is held, seems truly like a dark, mysterious place, where all hope is lost.
Best Sound Design
Kunal Sharma – Tumbbad
Tumbbad is a horror film at one level but also a coming-of-age story at another. And the sound design incorporates both elements. The eeriness grips you from the first frame itself and doesn’t let go of you till the last. The sound design is understated in the sense that it acts as an undercurrent to what’s happening on the surface. And the climax scene adds to the claustrophobia and desperation.
Sheetal Sharma – Manto
The story of Manto begins in pre-Partition Mumbai and ends in Pakistan. The film doesn’t set a single wrong foot in bringing to life the prevalent clothing choices of the era, not only for the central characters but also for the crowd scenes as well. It seems Sheetal Sharma, sort of, transported himself back in time, making sketches of what people wore in the 40s and designed the costumes. Not only did the clothes appear authentic, they had a lived-in quality as well.
Short Film Awards
Best Film (Fiction)
Director: Sanjeev Vig
The 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008 was one dastardly act of terror that shook Mumbai. It affected thousands of lives and Rogan Josh is about one such family, which has suffered because of it. Sanjeev Vig has chosen food as the metaphor to tell a sensitive tale about moving on despite the ordeal and laying the ghosts of the past to rest. The food analogy is delightful and appeals to all. The film leaves a powerful message in its wake despite the short length.
Best Actor (Female)
Kirti Kulhari (Maya)
What does growing up mean? Adding years or adding experiences? Kirti Kulhari plays a young woman, who is tired of boys courting her and wants a man in her life. She also has to deal with her mother, who is fast degenerating into a child, thanks to the advancing years. This bittersweet film about the vagaries of life has her dealing maturely with whatever fate throws at her, never losing her sense of humour in the whole process.
Best Actor (Male)
Hussain Dalal (Shameless)
Unfortunately, we tend to regard people who serve us ñ the domestic helpers, waiters, delivery boys, drivers as lesser human beings. We remain unmindful of the fact that as humans, they could be having problems too. Hussain Dalal plays a bachelor, who angers a delivery girl, and his world comes tumbling down after that. The actor is a delight to watch as an arrogant slacker, whose sense of entitlement gets deflated as the film progresses.
Best Film (Non-Fiction)
The Soccer City
Director Sachin Balasaheb Suryawanshi
The Soccer City sheds light on how football was a craze earlier in Kolhapur, boasting of a vibrant club culture. It may be known for its kushti culture today but Kolhapur has perhaps the largest number of soccer clubs in the country, with around 3000 players actively involved in the game. The sport has been thriving in the industrial town since 1936. Even today, the stadiums are filled with excited fans whenever the big teams play. The passion, the rivalry, as also the changes brought in by time are all encapsulated in this delightful short film.
Best Film (Popular Choice)
Life can either be seen as a long list of complaints or it can be perceived in the light of numerous things to be grateful for. When you make a list of both, the things to be appreciated will always outnumber those we fret about. This is the lesson given by Jyoti Kapur Das delightful film Plus Minus, which is about a chance exchange between an Indian army officer (Bhuvan Bam) and a homemaker (Divya Dutta) fed up of monotony. The conversation proves to be a game-changer for her.