Quicksilver star dancer Shahid Kapoor descends from on high, and leaps on to the stage. The music swells and fireworks go up in beautifully orchestrated bursts. Light, Camera, Action! And away we go, as it all comes together for the 20th Life OK Screen Awards.
The Screen song fills the air, which has a familiar January nip. “Dhak dhak dil dil, dil dil dhak dhak”, perfectly encapsulates the mood of the evening : Indian hearts beat loudest for movies. And the Screen awards, most respected in the industry, kick-start the award season to honour the best and brightest in Bollywood, the biggest film industry in the world, and in Marathi cinema, which continues to astonish with its startlingly original talent.
The year gone by was Indian cinema’s centenary year, and in his opening remarks, chief guest Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari, held out some awards of his own : a single window clearance for film making, overhauling the archaic Cinematograph Act, greenlighting the Rs 600 crore National Film Heritage Mission, and the opening shortly of The Museum Of Indian Cinema in Mumbai. But that is all in the future : the present is right here, right now, and things are stirring on the stage.
Aaand anchor Shah Rukh Khan arrives, all dapper in a sharp black suit. As soon as he comes on, you can feel the temperature rise, perceptibly. The audience has been waiting for this superstar : he knows it and grins, and we can see the dimple flash all the way across the MMRDA grounds. Yo Yo Honey Singh, accompanied by a bevy of lovelies, gets into a rap medley, including his popular `Blue Eyes’, and the show is well and truly swinging by now. Next up is Sonu Sood, who does some dangerous stuff on a motorcycle, and then flings off his shirt, both stunts draw hoots and claps. Kazooom.
2013 has been a year of the most unusual confluence in Indian cinema. The big mainstream giants shook hands with the small, individual rookies, and got a couple of the best Indian films into theatres. The