Yes, you read that right. Ranveer Singh won the title for playing an iconic Maharashtrian in a Bollywood movie - Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao II in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani. By the way, Ranveer is neither a Maharashtrian not a native Marathi speaker.
"Maharashtracha Abhimaan"-The Pride of Maharashtra!— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) April 1, 2016
Before we talk about the absurdity of bestowing on him the title, a little bit about the awards first: Instituted by one of the largest media houses in Maharashtra, Lokmat Media, the awards have been in place for seven years now, and lists Amitabh Bachchan and Dilip Kumar among past winners. It honours achievers settled in the state in various categories such as social service, science and technology, sports, theatre and cinema.
This year, the jury included home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former union minister Praful Patel, lawyer Ujjwal Nikam, social activist Medha Patkar, businessman Harsh Goenka, journalist Ayaz Memon and filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar. It was presented by chief minister Devendra Fadnavis.
We want to ask them: What were you thinking? Ranveer Singh as Maharashtrian of the year, really!
One doesn't get honoured for playing an icon. One gets it for being an icon.
It's not like Ranveer didn't do a great job of playing the Maratha king. But he didn't get the award for his acting skills, because the award in the best actor category went to Nana Patekar.
A significant pat on the back that will motivate me 2 grow in the pursuit of excellence! "Maharashtracha Abhimaan"🏆💫 pic.twitter.com/R5bLJJyZxV— Ranveer Singh (@RanveerOfficial) April 1, 2016
So it seems like just another case of pandering to Bollywood stars at awards, even the non-filmy ones. Nana, whose welfare work for drought-hit farmers in the state is well-known, didn't qualify to be the state's pride, but was reduced to his achievements on the silver screen. And Ranveer, who is known for little else than being a Bollywood star, is state's pride. Ironic!
And many on Twitter are calling out the organisers over this:
Ranveer Singh as Maharashtrian of the Year is the third cruelest joke played on Maharashtra after Drought and Chhath Puja.— Antinational Bajirao (@bizzarebhide) April 1, 2016
Nana Patekar helping drought affected farmers here but they give Ranveer Maharashtrian of the Year for #BM who can't even speak Marathi .— NaKuL . (@itsNaCool) April 1, 2016
If the same logic was applied in other cases...
Maharashtrian of the Year is Ranveer Singh for "Bajirao" performance? By that yardstick, Priyanka Chopra is a Manipuri!— Madhavan Narayanan (@madversity) April 1, 2016