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09 January 1998

Stage set for Screen-Videocon award ceremony 

Our Bureau  
Mumbai, Jan 8: It's show time again. And Bollywood's night of reckoning is around the corner. On January 17, the Screen-Videocon awards will crown the hottest films, the most happening stars and best technicians-it will crown the new kings of 1997-98.

Last year, Screen led the celebrations for India's 50th year of independence. The award ceremony took a journey down five glorious decades of the silver screen, encapsulating the mega achievements of the filmworld.

This time, the theme for the show will be `Life Is Laughter'.

And quite appropriately, the evening is being directed by ace-comedian Satish Kaushik and his company, Prayas Productions. The stage setting is being handled by Raja Bundela and Bhushan Lakhandri is choreographing the event. "For these times, when there is depression on all fronts, humour is the natural choice," says Kaushik. The show, which has been divided into six different sections, will kick-off with rib-tickling numbers from the classic to the contemporary. This will include the entire gamut of funny songs from `Main hoon jhum jhum jhumroo' to `Main to raste se ja raha tha'.

"We have made a film titled `Phir Wohi Film Laya Hoon', specially dedicated to the cliches that are integral to Bollywood. So we have everything from "filmi" doctors walking into a hospital room wiping their hands saying, Mubarak ho aapko chand sa beta hua hai, to endless movies inspired by judwaa bachche," he says. And in an unprecedented gesture, Screen will bring together all the comedians who have enlivened Hindi cinema - from Johnny Lever to Johnny Walker - for the first time in the history of Bollywood.

Says Kaushik, "they have never been given their due recognition. But these are the people who lend weight to Hindi cinema." And the grand finale of the evening will be a tribute to the man who brought tears to comedy-Raj Kapoor."We have a great team of juries, with experienced veterans like Hrishiskesh Mukherjee, who has judged various national and international competitions," says Screen editor Rauf Ahmed. The panel includes stalwarts like Bhimsain, Khayyam, Ramesh Sippy, Sadhana, Ramesh Talwar, Aruna Raje Patil and Padmini Kolhapure.

Speaking of the quality of films produced in 1997, film maker Bhimsain says, "it was quite difficult to determine the winners -- there were some very good films like `Virasat' and `Border'. Then there were technically superior films like `Dil To Pagal Hai' and `Pardes'. The overall standard of films has definitely improved over the last year."

`Border', `Chachi 420', `Mrityudand', `Pardes' and `Virasat' are in the fray for the best film, while their makers, JP Dutta, Kamal Hassan, Prakash Jha, Subhash Ghai and Priyadarshan are competing for the best director award.

"An unusual thing is that `Border', which does not pander to the front-benchers, has been listed for 10 to 12 nominations," says Ahmed. Aamir Khan (Ishq), Anil Kapoor (Virasat), Govinda (Deewana Mastana), Kamal Hassan (Chachi 420) and Shah Rukh Khan (Dil To Pagal Hai) are the nominees for the best actor award.

And coveting the best actress award are Juhi Chawla (Yes Boss), Madhuri Dixit (Mrityudand), Rekha (Aastha), Sridevi (Judaai) and Tabu (Virasat).

Says music director Sharang Dev, who heads the jury for the music awards, "last year saw the return of melody-there were many catchy numbers and hummable tunes, especially in films like `Border' and `Yes Boss'. We have also seen a marked improvement in the technical department."The nominees for the best music director award are Anu Malik (Border and Virasat), Jatin-Lalit (Yes Boss), Nadeem-Shravan (Pardes) and Uttam Singh (Dil To Pagal Hai).For the best lyrics category, the nominees are Anand Bakshi, Gulzar and Javed Akhtar.

"There is still room for improvement in our lyrics. After all there is more to life than the `jaaneman...'that lyricists dwel on forever," says Dev.

Then follows the non-film music category, which includes best pop album and best ghazal album. "There is so much music besides pop songs. Where do you fit it? If there's no encouragement, people will not be interested in making these kinds of songs. I am glad that Screen has included this award," he says.

Another important category for the music awards is the best background score. "Background music has the ability to lift the film and make it more interesting. Without appropriate music, a film can fall flat on its face," says Dev. The nominees for this category are Aadesh Shrivastav (Border), Raghunath Seth (Mrityudand), SP Venkateshwaran (Virasat), Uttam Singh (Dil To Pagal Hai) and Vanraj Bhatia (Pardes).

The panel for the small screen awards comprises luminaries like Bhakti Barve Inamdar, Kamana Chandra, Javed Siddiqui and Ketan Mehta. Awards categories for television include best serial (drama), best serial (comedy), besttalk show, best director, best actor and actress and best anchor among others.A three-member team comprising Kiran Shantaram, Mahesh Manjrekar and Mohan Wagh will decide the winners for the Marathi cinema section.

The show, which will be held at the Andheri Sports Complex, will be compered by Archana Puran Singh and Javed Jafferi. "We have had hardly three weeks to put together the whole show. Since their inception, the Screen Awards have acquired the reputation of being one of the most credible and just awards. And we are working very hard to keep it so," says Ahmed.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.



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