So I kick off this blog based on the season that never fails to come- the awards season. While far away in Hollywood, everyone is hoping for Leonardo Di Caprio to finally get an Oscar, people here are facepalming over the fact that Sooraj Pancholi is the best debut in Bollywood according to Filmfare, with Masaan’s Vicky Kaushal not even getting a nomination. People who do get nominated are stars who promise to attend/host the event (SRK for Dilwale. Seriously?) over stars who actually gave some praise-worthy performances (Akshay in Baby).
That’s when I thought of launching my own awards show. Unfortunately (or fortunately) this is not a 3 hour long show where film actors dance and TV actors crack jokes to keep you “entertained”. It is just a list of Bollywood films (chosen by me, the esteemed jury) for each of the 23 categories, one of them being the winner in my eye. I’d be happy if any of them wins other awards. There is reason given for each of them winning it.

I have nominations for even the technical categories, which I believe are equally important and must be appreciated. I have tried keeping 5 nominations for each category but some of them are so competitive that I’ve passed the limit.

27 films out of 119 films that came out of the Hindi movie industry last year are featured in the nominations list. Bajirao Mastani has the highest nominations of 18, way higher than the second highest. Which shouldn’t be surprising as the film excels in the technical, musical and acting department. There is never a rule that more nominations means better the film. Films like Dil Dhadakne Do and Tamasha might have more nominations than say a Talvar, but that doesn’t speak of the overall quality of the film.It is awarded to the category where the film manages to impress, regardless of its commercial or critical failure. So you might spot films like Phantom, Hamari Adhuri Kahaani and even Dilwale being nominated.

Also, a person with multiple nominations for a category has a higher chances of winning than those with one nomination. I think that a person’s art and versatality should be more appreciated.

Enough with these. Let’s jump to the awards. Here we go! :

Best Styling (Hair and Make-up): Bread-earners for the actors!

Gabreil Georgiou,Preetisheel Singh,Clover Wootton-Bajirao Mastani
Mantu Shaw-Manjhi: The Mountain Man
Sreekant Desai,Romy Angevin-NH10
Vikram Gaikwad-Badlapur, Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Gabreil Georgiou, Puneet Saini-Bombay Velvet
Gabreil Georgiou, Puneet Saini-Bombay Velvet
Not just the lead, but even the side characters were given the retro look and style for the film which was set in the 50s and 60s. Ranbir’s wierd hairdo also seemed to fit well for his character.

Best Costume: From retro to royal- we have seen them all this year!
Anju Modi, Maxima Basu-Bajirao Mastani
Niharika Bhasin Khan-Bombay Velvet
Manoshi Nath, Rushi Sharma, Manish Malhotra-Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
Arjun Bhasin-Dil Dhadakne Do
Alvira Khan, Ashley Rebello-Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Anju Modi, Maxima Basu-Bajirao Mastani
If the costumes of Bajirao Mastani didn’t stun you, then I don’t know what will! In a Bhansali film, the costumes are used to convey the emotions of the character that is wearing it. Bajirao Mastani being his most ambitious project yet, is no way an exception. The ones made for Deepika (Mastani) were spectacular.

Best Production Design: Responsible for your eyes to pop and jaws to drop.
Nitin Chandrakant Desai-Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Sonal Sawant-Bombay Velvet
Vandana Kataria-Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
Sriram Iyengar, Saloni Dhatrak, Sujeet Sawant-Bajirao Mastani
Parichit Paralkar-ABCD 2
Meenal Agarwal- Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Sriram Iyengar, Saloni Dhatrak, Sujeet Sawant-Bajirao Mastani
Like the costumes, sets play an equally major role in his films . The sets being beautiful was a given (specially the Aaina Mahal). What works more is its significance to the story. Bombay Velvet comes a close second for the amazingly detailed production design by Sonal Sawant.

Best Sound Design: One of the most underrated department.
Bishwadeep Chatterjee-Bajirao Mastani
Allwin Rego, Sanjay Maurya-Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!,Masaan
Shajith Koyeri-Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Debasish Mishra-Baby
Allwin Rego, Sanjay Maurya-Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!,Masaan
In Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, sound played a major role in transporting the audience into the Calcutta in the 40s. Clever use of songs and background music was seen throughout the film. The brilliant rock music playing in the background stayed with me for quite a while. 

Best Action: Which one gave the most bang-for-buck thrill to you this year?
Abbas Ali Moghul,Cyril Quenel Raffaelli-Baby
Sham Kaushal-Bajirao Mastani,Phantom
Justin Yu,Eric Brown-Brothers
Armin Sauer, Abdul Salaam Ansari-NH 10
Abbas Ali Moghul,Cyril Quenel Raffaelli-Baby
Very rarely does Bollywood manage to bring authenticity to their action scenes. Baby not only had some brilliantly mounted and crafted action scenes, but they were also very realistic.

Best VFX: In other words, magic created through computers!
Prana Studios-Bombay Velvet, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
NY VFXWaala-Bajirao Mastani
Viral Thakkar, Prashant Thakur-ABCD 2
Prana Studios-Bombay Velvet, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!
Both of these were period films set in metro cities, which look in no way like the one shown in the films. The studio did a great job in recreating some of the landmarks digitally.

Best Cinematography: The film beautician.
S. Ravi Varman-Tamasha
Carlos Catalan-Dil Dhadakne Do
Avinash Arun-Masaan
Ahmed Khan-Phantom
Sudeep Chatterjee-Baby,Bajirao Mastani
Sudeep Chatterjee-Baby,Bajirao Mastani
We are seeing great talents working as a DOP nowadays. Every nominee were great in their own ways. But Bajirao takes the cake again. Maybe it was a relatively easy task for Sudeep as he had the grandest sets. But the end product was extraordinary, so no complaints. 

Best Choreography: They know to make people dance to their tune
Remo D’Souza- Pinga and Deewani Mastani (Bajirao Mastani),Bezubaan Phir Se(ABCD 2)
Bosco-Caesar-Gallan Goodiyaan and Girls Like to Swing (Dil Dhadakne Do)
Saroj Khan-Ghani  Bawari (Tanu Weds Manu Returns)
Shabina Khan- Prem Ratan Dhan Payo (Prem Ratan Dhan Payo)
Remo D’Souza- Pinga and Deewani Mastani (Bajirao Mastani),Bezubaan Phir Se (ABCD 2)
The choreography for ABCD2, though very impressive wasn’t surprising as we’ve known Remo to excel in it. The real shock was how he managed to pull off a traditional dance form for Bajirao Mastani. The guy is on a roll!


Best Playback Singer Female: Where veterans rule the roost
Shreya Ghoshal- Deewani Mastaani, Mohe Rang Do Laal and Pinga(Bajirao Mastani), Hasi (Hamaari Adhuri Kahaani),Journey Song (Piku)
Neeti Mohan- Dhadam Dhadam and Naak Pe Gussa (Bombay Velvet)
Shalmali Kholgade- Mohabbat Buri Bimari (Bombay Velvet)
Priya Saraiyya- Sun Saathiya (ABCD 2)
Monali Thakur-Moh Moh Ke Dhaage (Dum Laga Ke Haisha)
Alka Yagnik-Agar Tum Saath Ho (Tamasha)
Shreya Ghoshal- Deewani Mastaani, Mohe Rang Do Laal and Pinga(Bajirao Mastani), Hasi (Hamaari Adhuri Kahaani),Journey Song (Piku)
Even with so many fresh and young talents entering the music scene, Shreya Ghoshal remains at her A-game. Not only are her songs chartbusters, but every song attached to her name also comes with an assurance of its quality.

Best Playback Singer Male: 
Mika Singh- Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai (Tamasha)
Benny Dayal- Matargashti (Tamasha)
Arijit Singh- Aayat (Bajirao Mastani),HamariAdhuriKahaani (HamariAdhuriKahaani), Sooraj Dooba Hai (Roy) and Janam Janam (Dilwale)
Papon-Humnava (Hamari Adhuri Kahaani)
Siddharth Mahadevan- Pehli Baar (Dil Dhadakne Do)
Aatif Aslam- Jeena Jeena (Badlapur)
Divya Kumar-Jee Karda(Badlapur) and Sun Saathiya (ABCD 2)
Arijit Singh- Aayat (Bajirao Mastani),HamariAdhuriKahaani(HamariAdhuriKahaani), Sooraj Dooba Hai (Roy) and Janam Janam (Dilwale)
The list of songs are enough to know why he’s been awarded. Either Arijit has a talent to make every song so scintillating, or it’s his luck that he only gets the best songs. Either way, Arijit is still in his fine form, even after 3 years since Aashiqui 2.

Best Music: Can you imagine Bollywood without them?
Amaal Mallik, Ankit Tiwari, Meet Bros Anjjan- Roy
Anupam Roy-Piku
Amit Trivedi-Bombay Velvet
Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy- Dil Dhadakne Do
A.R. Rahman- Tamasha
Ami Mishra, Jeet Ganguli and Mithoon-Hamari Adhuri Kahani
Anu Malik- Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Bajirao Mastani
Krsna Solo-Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Sachin-Jigar- Badlapur
Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Bajirao Mastani 
It was the toughest category to choose a winner from (that explains the exceeding no. of nominations). After much thought, I finally settled for Bajirao Mastani. All other albums had some genuinely good contemporary tracks. Major hoots to Amit Trivedi for bringing Jazz into Bollywood. But the magic that this album leaves you with is unexplainable. There is the nicely done “chartbuster track” Malhaari and there’s also some great classical numbers like Mohe Rang Do Laal and Aayat. As for my favorite track, it has to be Deewani Mastani. The Marathi vocals with which the song starts is enough to give you goosebumps. For me, the album is an instant classic!

Best Lyrics: The one who infuses life into a song!
Amitabh Bhattacharya- Bombay Velvet
Irshad Kamil-Tamasha, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Varun Grower- Masaan and Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Dinesh Vijan, Priya Saraiya- Badlapur
Kumaar and Abhendra Kumar Upadhyay- Roy
Anupam Roy- Piku
Siddharth-Garima (with Nasir Faraaz and Ganesh Chandanshive) and A.M Turaz-Bajirao Mastani
Irshad Kamil-Tamasha, Prem Ratan Dhan Payo
Irshad comes up with the right mix of poetry and fun. While the lyrics in Heer Toh Badi Sad Hai and Prem Leela are amusing, his darker tone in Agar Tum Saath Ho is equally effective.

Best Dialogues: The staple of a Bollywood film.
Himanshu Sharma-Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Vishal Bharadwaj-Talvar
R Balki,Rishi Varman-Shamitabh
Juhi Chaturvedi-Piku
Prakash Kapadia-Bajirao Mastani
Shahzad Ahmed, Varadraj Swami,Shaiwal- Manjhi: The Mountain Man
Rahul Mody,Tarun Jain, Luv Ranjan-Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2
Himanshu Sharma-Tanu Weds Manu Returns
The film wouldn’t have been as special as it is, if not for its throwaway punch lines and one-liners. It was the most fun I had watching a Bollywood film this year, all thanks to the insane dialogues written by Himanshu. The use of authentic Haryanvi and “shuddh hindi” worked well, even in the emotional scenes.

Best Screenplay: That can make or break a story. 
Juhi Chaturvedi-Piku
Varun Grover-Masaan
Zoya Akhtar, Reema Kagti- Dil Dhadakne Do
Vishal Bharadwaj- Talvar
Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas, Pooja Ladha Surti-Badlapur
Vishal Bharadwaj- Talvar
Vishal brought in every little detail of the infamous Aarushi case while also establishing the complex characters.
The true genius work here was to reconstruct the important scene according to each of the CBI investigations.

Best Editing: The master of cut
A Sreekar Prasad-Talvar
Chandrashekhar Prajapati-Piku
Aarif Sheikh-Phantom
Shree Narayan Singh-Baby
Jabeen Merchant-NH10
Jabeen Merchant-NH10
NH10 was a horror movie in disguise of a thriller, thanks to its plot.  This (almost) 2 hour film was very slickly edited. Ditching the song-and-dance routine and using only the appropriate time for establishing the story is what worked for me. There was a striking balance between drama and violence in the cuts. 

Best Story: A rare phenomenon in films these days
Jeetu Joseph-Drishyam
Kanu Behl, Sharat Katariya,Olivia Stewart-Titli
Varun Grover-Masaan
Vijayendra Prasad-Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Himanshu Sharma-Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Shonali Bose-Margarita With a Straw
Imtiaz Ali-Tamasha
Vijayendra Prasad-Bajrangi Bhaijaan
I would have given this award to Drishyam, if not for its originality. This blockbuster had a heart and a good story. While still being completely commercial, the believable characters and a unique plot that Prasad created made us hate our neighbours a lot less.

Best Debut Female: The new ladies, who surprisingly are unconventional already!
Bhumi Pednekar-Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Shivani Raghuvanshi-Titli
Bhumi Pednekar-Dum Laga Ke Haisha
This YRF find is polar opposite of any other actress launched by the production. Her bulk of talent very easily makes up for her bulk weight!

Best Debut Male: The one and only chance for the guys to prove their mettle.
Shashank Arora-Titli
Vicky Kaushal-Masaan
TIE between Shashank Arora (Titli) and Vicky Kaushal (Masaan)
It was very difficult to choose one out of the two as both were stunning debuts, and miles ahead of all the “anticipated” ones we had in the year. While Shashank’s character was dark, edgy, gritty;  in Masaan Vicky had a bit conventional role. Nonetheless both of them played their characters with absolute sincerity and honesty. Take a bow, guys!

Best Actress in a Supportive/Negative Role: The Maa-Behen club 
Shefali Shah- Dil Dhadakne Do
Priyanka Chopra- Bajirao Mastani
Huma Qureshi- Badlapur
Konkana Sen Sharma- Talvar
Harshaali Malhotra- Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Harshaali Malhotra- Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Bajrangi Bhaijaan wouldn’t have been half effective in those tear-jerking scenes if not for Harshali’s cuteness and acting. One can’t even imagine how she managed to pull off such a performance at such a tender age! Kudos, girl!

Best Actor in a Supportive/Negative Role: Coz being a side-kick or a villian needs some talent too!
Neeraj Kabi- Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, Talvar
Deepak Dobriyal- Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Nawazuddin Siddiqui- Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Badlapur
Ranveer Shorey-Titli
Sanjay Mishra-Masaan, Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Neeraj Kabi- Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!, Talvar
An actor’s range just can’t get bigger than this. Neeraj laughed creepily in Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! and sobbed sincerely in Talvar. Absolutely brilliant!

Best Actor: The clash of the titans!
Nawaddin Siddiqui- Manjhi: The Mountain Man
Varun Dhawan- Badlapur
Ranbir Kapoor- Tamasha, Bombay Velvet
Amitabh Bachcan- Shamitabh, Piku
Irrfan Khan-Talvar, Piku
Sushant Singh Rajput-Detective Byomkesh Bakshy
Ranveer Singh- Dil Dhadakne Do, Bajirao Mastani
Akshay Kumar- Baby, Brothers
Ranveer Singh- Dil Dhadakne Do, Bajirao Mastani
I admit- Irrfan has actually played with impossible perfection in Talvar. But it was amusing to see a young actor Ranveer Singh playing polar opposite characters in Dil Dhadakne Do (Kabir Mehra) and Bajirao Mastani (Peshwa Bajirao). The actor has clearly stepped out of most actor’s “comfort zone” and gave it all in this year. It was a brave thing to do and so the year and this award rightly belongs to him.

Best Actress: The most sought after category these days!
Kangana Ranaut- Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Deepika-Piku,Tamasha,Bajirao Mastani
Anushka Sharma- NH10
Priyanka Chopra- Dil Dhadakne Do
Richa Chadda- Masaan
Kalki Koechlin- Margarita With a Straw
Deepika-Piku,Tamasha,Bajirao Mastani
It is heart-warming to see the current top actress actually performing as great as the competition. Playing an annoying but charming Piku has what fetched her awards elsewhere. But I think it is in Tamasha and Bajirao Mastani (more so in the former) that she shows her acting flair. Both Tara and Mastani had limited screen space but was so well done.

Best Direction: The heart of a film. Better the heart, greater the art!
Shoojit Sircar- Piku
Kabir Khan- Bajrangi Bhaijaan
Zoya Akhtar- Dil Dhadakne Do
Neeraj Pandey- Baby
Aanand Rai- Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Sriram Raghavan-Badlapur
Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Bajirao Mastani
Sanjay Leela Bhansali-Bajirao Mastani
This sad tale of two lovers separated by society and moral becomes a poetry-in-motion in the hands of Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He reminds us of the wonderful time in Indian cinema where movies were a celebration of human emotions and the stories were so rooted to our culture.

Best Film: THE AWARD!
Tanu Weds Manu Returns
Bajirao Mastani
Yeah, I know. Not a single win till now except for this one. Well, that’s the beauty of it! The film may not be technically brilliant, or have the best plot. But the film wins for its sincerity and uniqueness. The film was flawless (for me), entertaining and leaves you satisfied. 

A concluding note:
 2015 was in many ways a better year than 2014 for Bollywood. We had a few surprising blockbusters. We saw darker themes explored. We also saw many movies ditching the song-and-dance routine. There was more emphasis on the director and writer. And again, actresses have gained more momentum.
Let’s hope 2016 would turn out to be as good.
And unless any of the other award shows actually award the deserved,  we hope to meet again next year!
Hey, before you go- do you agree/disagree on my nominations and winners? Feel free to leave a comment.
And while you’re at it, be sure to share it with your friends!