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Filmfare slammed for snubbing Rajkummar Rao in Best Actor nominations

Rajkummar Rao's stellar performance in Bareilly Ki Barfi earned him a nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category while his work in Newton and Trapped was ignored.

Rajkummar Rao in Trapped

Mayur Lookhar

In a year when nepotism was debated widely with Kangana Ranaut attacking Hindi cinema’s bigwigs, one would have expected the awards to honour the best on merit. However, the nominations for the 63rd Jio Filmfare awards 2018 announced yesterday (18 January) tell a different story.

The list has just pointed towards the dubious nature of the popular awards as it failed to nominate Rajkummar Rao in the Best Actor category.

Rajkummar Rao had an outstanding 2017 with stellar performances in films like Bareilly Ki Barfi, Newton and Trapped, but Filmfare has nominated him in the Best Supporting Actor category for Bareilly Ki Barfi.

What took one by surprise was the addition of Varun Dhawan's name in the Best Actor nominations. Though he performed well in Badrinath Ki Dulhania, it cannot be said that he deserves the trophy more than Rajkummar Rao.

Akshay Kumar, who was ignored last year, has been nominated for Toilet: Ek Prem Katha in the Best Actor category. Other actors nominated in the category are Shah Rukh Khan for Raees, Hrithik Roshan for Kaabil, Irrfan Khan for Hindi Medium, and Ayushmann Khurrana for Shubh Mangal Saavdhan.

Rajkummar Rao’s exclusion from the list has drawn criticism on social media. Here are some extreme reactions from Tweeple.

This user questioned why Filmfare always nominates Shah Rukh Khan for the Best Actor award. 

Another Rajkummar Rao fan questioned the absence of Trapped and Newton from the nominations. 

Battered on social media, Filmfare then put out a tweet defending itself and explaining how the nomination process works. 

According to the magazine, it releases a form for the common public, across its print and online platforms, where movie 'buffs' cast their vote for their favourite films released in a calendar year, ie. from 1 January to 31 December. The public can vote for films, songs and artistes in 10 categories.

After getting a list of popular nominations, a voting form is sent to the jury members of the popular category. This form has the potential nominations for the popular categories — Best Film, Best Actor, Best Actress, etc. Filmfare also has a separate technical and critics jury for films that may not have met with box-office success.

This explanation, however, failed to cut any ice with this user. 

Interestingly, back in December, Filmfare editor Jitesh Pillal had stoically defended the awards claiming they honour merit and that box-office success is not a criterion to award films.

Pillai was seconding Sonam Kapoor’s claim that Filmfare is the most legitimate award function, after Ranaut claimed that it is rigged

So, if the box office is not a criterion, then what wrong did films like Lipstick Under My Burkha, Newton and Trapped do? These films were critically acclaimed and some of them were appreciated by audiences as well, though they did not generate huge numbers at the box office as they had only limited release. Newton in particular was India’s official entry to the Oscars and the snub by Filmfare is hard to understand.

One cannot blindly say that those nominated don’t deserve to be there, but the absence of certain names from the list does raise questions over the credibility of the awards.

Cinestaan.com had its own lists of the Best of 2017:

Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film 

What do you think of our picks vis-a-vis Filmfare's? Let us know in the comments section below!

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