The Indian television industry (Rs 128.70 billion in 2004 as per the FICCI Frames report) hasn't yet managed to shake off its 'filmi' hangover despite being double the size of the film industry (Rs 56.50 billion in 2004 as per the FICCI Frames report). The 'flimsy filmi' hangover was evident at the fifth Hero Honda Indian Television Academy (HHITA) Awards 2005, held on November 7, 2005, in Mumbai.
The HHITA awards were presented by Hero Honda and STAR Plus with other sponsors being: The Asian Age, Deccan Chronicle, Mumbai Mirror, Antiquity, RED FM, Eikona, Bright and hosted by Shashi-Anu Ranjan's Indian Television Academy. However, as in the plethora of film award shows, there were allegations of bias in the nominations as well as the eventual winning entries' selection with justifications and explanations galore.
The most poignant moments of the show included an overwhelmed Jeetendra (Chairman of Balaji Telefilms) even as he was surrounded by his heroines of the glorious yesteryears (Asha Parekh, Moushami Chatterjee, Reena Roy and Aroona Irani); a lively Shatrughan 'Shotgun' Sinha at his verbose best; and the presentation of the lifetime achievement award to Indian television's doyen, Ramanand Sagar, by Pawan Kumar Munjal (Director, Hero Honda Group).
The presence of industry head honchos such as Sameer Nair (COO, STAR India), Shobha and Ektaa Kapoor (Directors, Balaji Telefilms), and G Krishnan (CEO, Aaj Tak, TV Today Network) added the requisite corporate touch. Otherwise, the show witnessed TV stars aspiring to pay glorious tributes to film classics.
Said Shashi Ranjan, Convenor, Indian Television Academy (ITA), "An eminent jury headed by Raveena Tandon, renowned National Award winning artiste and Ex-Chairperson of Children's Film Society of India, shortlisted the nominees. The jury also comprised stalwarts like Shrabani Deodhar (Director), Pallavi Joshi (Actress/Producer), Saurabh Narang (Director), Ravi Ojha (Director), Vinay Apte (Director), Arun Frank (Director), Arvind Kumar (Cinematographer), Jyothi Venkatesh (Critic and Columnist), Bharat Nerkar (Cinematographer), Shubha Khote (Actress) and Uday Shankar Pani (Director)."
Informing about the performances, Anu Ranjan, President, ITA, said, "This was the fifth year of the HHITA awards and each year the awards have grown bigger and bigger and the nominations received have increased. As many as 2,017 nominations were received this year, from 340 TV shows, representing the entire spectrum of the medium, be it soaps, comedies, telefilms, documentaries, musicals, news and current affairs, lifestyle-shows, etc. There were as many as 46 channels in the fray for the coveted awards this year."
Even as we present the winners list, we cannot help but spare a thought for the losers and the contentious winners while throwing up these posers:
Vikram Chandra ('The Big Fight') of NDTV bagged an award for the best talk/chat show even though the show isn't believed to be quite as popular as it was when Rajdeep Sardesai (now with India Broadcast News, CNBC TV-18 India) used to host it. Also, he beat 'Koffee with Karan' and 'Rendezvous with Simi Garewal' and 'We The People' (Bakha Dutt).
Shabbir Ahluwalia bagged the award for the best supporting role (male) for STAR Plus' 'Kahiin To Hoga') even though Gaurav Gera (Nandu) of Sony TV's 'Jaasi…' is quite popular.
Shilpa Saklani (Ganga Virani) bagged the award for the best supporting role (female) for STAR Plus' 'Kyon Ki Saas…' even though Gauri Pradhan (Nandini) from the same serial was believed to be the sure fire winner.
How can diverse genre channels such as AXN, BBC, HBO and STAR Movies be clubbed in the same group 'Best Foreign Channel'?
Karan Johar ('Koffee With Karan') lost out to Prabhu Chawla (remember the tight close-ups of 'Seedhi Baat') in the best anchor (news/current affairs shows).
Nand Kumar Kale ('Special Squad') getting the award for the Best Director of a Drama Series and beating Ajai Sinha of 'Astitva' seems illogical.
STAR One's 'Siddhant' won the Best Serial-Drama and beat Zee Telefilms' 'Astitva'.
Ajai Sinha, Director of 'Astitva', quipped, "We have two awards out of the seven nominations received, so it is ok, and anyways it is difficult for a serial which has been on air for so many years now to win awards if one doesn't have the 'left and the right support' and in which I don't believe in. My office does not have any more space to accommodate awards."
Some other winners included:
Best Anchor - News / Current Affairs - Bharkha Dutt - We the People; Best Anchor - Tral / Chat Show - Prabhu Chawla - Seedhi Baat; Best Music & Film-based Show - Indian Idol (Miditech Pvt. Ltd.); Best Music Channel – In a Popular Category – MTV; Best News Channel in a Popular Category - Aaj Tak; Best Serial in a Popular Category - Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi; Best Sports Channel in a Popular Category – ESPN; Best Entertainment Channel in a Popular Category - Star Plus; Best Foreign Channel in a Popular Category – BBC; Best Hindi Movie Channel in a Popular Category - Zee Cinema; Best Children's Channel - Cartoon Network.