Prashant Rajkhowa, co-founder of the Ghanta Awards, is a media professional who suffers from attention deficit disorder. This is why he has been a TV reporter, music channel producer, ad film director, business show producer and is now a web producer.
I remember it was sometime in late 2010 when the idea for the Ghanta Awards was born – after a conversation between Karan Anshuman and me. He was describing this scene in the (then) massively expensive, big starrer film Blue, where these sharks were circling the bleeding actors and no one got eaten. And my reaction was, “Someone should really award these guys for reaching new levels of WTF-ery…” I remember both of us going silent after I said that. Both had the same thought in our heads, “Yeah, someone should… but no one has so far.” At the brink of the third year of the Ghanta Awards, I can safely say, “The rest is history…”
Over the last three years, fans and journalists have asked us the same question in different ways. The question centres around why we think the Ghanta Awards do so well and are popular. And our answer has always been the same: Because we’re honest – nobody involved hates Bollywood but everyone involved is able to call a bad film, a bad film. We make sure that everyone involved understands the difference between “a bad film” and “a film we did not like.”
That is why we put up a jury of film makers, film critics and film bloggers, including Rajeev Masand, Sudhish Kamath and Sahil Rizwan (The Vigil Idiot) to decide the nominees. This jury panel comprises of journalists who you read every week to find out whether a movie is worth watching or not. We make sure that the performers don’t go on stage and criticise Bollywood for the sake of criticising Bollywood – we ensure that their satirising and roasting is based on honest reason.
And of course, the most important ingredient: We produce good, clean, comedy entertainment. We don’t produce a show where people go up and make lewd and vulgar jokes. Because if we wouldn’t want to watch a show like that, why would we make a show like that? Everyone kept telling us that we’re crazy for doing this because industry-folk are not known for laughing at themselves. And though we were apprehensive from the start, we did have hope that if we keep it clean and fun, everyone has a sense of humour. And guess what – Uday Chopra tweeted his joy on Pyaar Impossible winning, Abhishek Bachchan congratulated him, Gul Panag and Anurag Kashyap encouraged their fans to vote for them and Sonam Kapoor showed up to accept her award. If you produce a good, fun show, like we do at the Ghanta Awards, everyone has a sense of humour.
And what’s particularly exciting about this year is we’ve moved from a comedy show to an awards night – complete with bright lights, a red carpet and all the glitz and glamour. And to top it off, we’ve managed to rope in Sorabh Pant, who literally needs no introductions. The second the nominations got out and the voting began, people had loads to say about who should win, who should have been there and what they think of the movies. Which is exactly what we wanted the show to be about.
Think of the Ghanta Awards as social work. We try to articulate for the industry exactly what every person feels after watching a really bad film. Imagine if you watched a particularly bad film and got a chance to tell the director exactly what you thought of it – that’s what the philosophy of the Ghanta Awards is. We give people the chance to tell the industry, “Look, we love you and all, but what the F*** were you thinking when you decided that melting gold into Mini Coopers was a great plot twist?!”
Karan Anshuman always says, “Films can’t only be a pure business. It needs heart. And there isn’t enough going around.” That’s what the Ghanta Awards is about. Appreciating good cinema and calling out anything that is not. And we’re only in the third year… we’re only just beginning…