The Filmfare awards nominations for 2016 were announced a couple of days ago, and no one was surprised as the popular choices overshadowed some of the year’s best performances. Manoj Bajpayee (Aligarh), who has been touted to have given the best performance of the year was grossly overlooked for Best Actor, as Salman Khan (Sultan) took his place.
Let’s look at 16 movies from the past two decades which were grossly overlooked and didn’t score a single Filmfare nomination:
1. Fire (1996)
Dubbed India’s first lesbian movie, Deepa Mehta’s Fire was a deeply moving film on the relationship between two women who find each other to escape from their unhappy marriages. As right-wing activists banished the film from theatre screens, even Filmfare refused to acknowledge its existence by criminally overlooking the brilliant performances.
2. Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Maa (1998)
Based on a Bengali novel of the same name, this ‘art-house’ release starring Jaya Bachchan and Anupam Kher wasn’t even registered in the midst of Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Rajiv Rai’s Gupt and Priyadarshan’s Virasat. The film followed the account of a Naxalite’s mother, and Jaya Bachchan’s compelling performance did nothing to melt the hearts of the jury.
3. Abhay (2001)
Cited as an inspiration by Quentin Tarantino for its brilliantly executed manga animation, the film didn’t find an audience in India. Even though Kamal Hassan gave a knockout performance as the titular character, it was dubbed ‘ahead of its time’ and no effort was made by Filmfare to honour the genius of the film in the midst of Dil Chahta Hai, Lagaan and K3G.
4. Black Friday (2004)
Arguably Anurag Kashyap’s best film till date, Black Friday ran into controversy after it took names of real people who were undergoing trial for their alleged crimes. The courts stayed the release of the film and Filmfare didn’t think twice before leaving it out of its nominations list.
5. Socha Na Tha (2004)
Imtiaz Ali’s debut feature film and probably his most compelling movie till date, starred two newcomers Abhay Deol and Ayesha Takia and it sank without a trace. The film would go on to form a cult of its own in the years to come, and it is really shocking that a film that good didn’t get a single nomination.
6. The Blue Umbrella (2005)
Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaptation of Ruskin Bond’s short story revolved around a superlative performance by Pankaj Kapur, who played the role of Nandu, the tea-stall owner. The film was absolutely stunning in the way it was shot, and its music was nothing short of beautiful. Too bad, it was completely overlooked by Filmfare.
7. Aamir (2007)
Rajkumar Gupta’s debut feature film was a tense thriller featuring a knockout central performance by TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal. The director showed masterful restrain in spacing out the thrills throughout the running time, and using Amit Trivedi’s stellar soundtrack effectively. The movie got lost in clutter of Guru, Jab We Met and Chak De India! which were definitely the more popular movies.
8. Welcome to Sajjanpur (2007)
Shyam Benegal’s satire is one of the lost gems of Indian cinema. The director based his story in a fictitious village to comment on the various social evils plaguing the grassroots of our country, and it translated into a highly entertaining movie. However, brilliant performances by the underrated Shreyas Talpade, Ravi Kishen and an in-form Ila Arun went completely unnoticed.
9. Manorama Six Feet Under (2007)
Navdeep Singh’s adaptation of Roman Polanski’s Chinatown to hinterland Rajasthan had one great performance after another. Starting from Abhay Deol, Vinay Pathak, Raima Sen and even Kulbhushan Kharbanda, all of them nailed their characters in this tale of betrayal and deceit. It was lauded for being a brilliant adaptation, but the Filmfare jury didn’t agree.
10. Mithya (2008)
One of the best movies of that year, Mithya was a comical, dark and twisted tale of a gangster. However, it starred Ranvir Shorey and Naseeruddin Shah and not having an A-list star meant that the movie didn’t find an audience in the theatres or in the Filmfare jury. Rajat Kapoor’s direction and all the performances in the movie were first grade.
11. Phas Gaye Re Obama (2010)
Subhash Kapoor’s dark comedy on how the aftermath of the 2008 recession hit the kidnapping industry in Uttar Pradesh was consistently funny and witty and kept us on our toes. Starring an ensemble including Rajat Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Sanjay Misra and Amole Gupte, nothing from this movie got nominated at that year’s Filmfare awards.
12. That Girl In Yellow Boots (2011)
After the success of DevD, Kashyap made this movie about a girl who moves to Mumbai in search of her father. The film was carried by the compelling performances of Kalki Koechlin and Gulshan Devaiah and was praised for its gritty tone, but the Filmfare jury showered no love on it.
13. Detective Byomkesh Bakshy (2015)
Dibakar Banerjee’s neat adaptation of the detective character written by Sharadindu Bandopadhyay, was classy and hip in every way. Executing a set of 1940s Kolkata to perfection along with committed performances by both Sushant Singh Rajput and Neeraj Kabi, this neo-noir wasn’t even given a nomination in any of the technical departments.
14. Margarita with a Straw (2015)
Kalki Koechlin’s impression of a patient with cerebral palsy was believable and moving. The film, which explore themes about the sexuality of those with special needs, carefully treaded on thin ice but wasn’t shown any appreciation at that year’s Filmfare function.
15. Angry Indian Goddesses (2015)
Pan Nalin’s film was India’s first female buddy movie and it managed something most mainstream films fail at – capturing female characters of flesh and blood. However, the film was shockingly dismissed as feminist propaganda by a majority of the Indian audience. Seeing the film without a single nomination at Filmfare was definitely appalling since the movie got so much right.
16. Parched (2016)
Leena Yadav’s film unfairly dubbed as one of ‘those women-centric films’ is one of last year’s biggest losers. Addressing issues including fertility, marital rape and oppression of women in the hinterland, it was an important film if not the best film of the year. However, Filmfare didn’t seem too impressed with anything in the movie including Radhika Apte’s honest performance.
Celebrating ‘excellence’ much?