Celebrating Bollywood’s Worst

Fuelled by the thriving stand-up comic scene, mock awards are becoming popular while also gaining acceptance from the film industry

The first edition of The Ghanta Awards for 2011 was held at a small pub in Juhu as a free show with close to 200 people in attendance. The following year, The Ghantas — as the Bollywood mock awards are popularly referred to — grew bigger. A sold-out ticketed event, it was hosted at The Comedy Store. But what truly gave it credibility was Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor, who received the Worst Actress award for her performance in Mausam. Her presence was also indicative of the acceptance among the audience, organisers and their central subject of humour, Bollywood.

"During our first edition, Uday Chopra had tweeted about him winning the Worst Actor award for Pyaar Impossible. It assured us that there is a place for awards like The Ghantas, where mockery wouldn't be taken as an insult," says Prashant Rajkhowa, co-founder of the awards along with Karan Anshuman.

Awards that mock what is one of the subjects that Indians are most passionate about — Bollywood — are finding an audience for their tongue-in-cheek humour. Designed to celebrate the worst to have come out of Bollywood in that year, mock awards are growing popular, but the concept is not alien to the Indian audience. The celebrated Golden Raspberry awards or Razzies, started in 1981 to "honour" the worst in Hollywood, enjoys a cult following universally.

This year will witness the launch of the Filmfail awards and The Royal Turds. While The Ghantas are set to grow bigger in their latest edition on February 15 by moving venue to the upscale JW Marriott, with more Bollywood celebrities in attendance, The Filmfail Awards is expecting as guests actor Ayushmann Khurrana and director Rohan Sippy — names one would associate with prominent, mainstream Hindi films. "These awards are blunt, straight forward and irreverent. I have indulged in Bollywood satire in the past when I wasn't part of the industry. Criticism with a tinge of humour is always welcome," explains Khurrana.

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