The much-spoken-about Apsara Film Producer’s Guild Awards ceremony was finally hosted on May 29. Instituted by FPGI, the awards have marked a first for various aspects of media and entertainment, and all of them hold interesting meaning for the industry. Sponsored by Reliance Infocomm, the award ceremony was telecast live on NDTV India and NDTV 24×7.
The night was a good mix of personalities from both the big screen and the tube. While Sony and SAB TV formed a good part of the crowd, hardly any STAR faces were seen. While Shruti Sharma and Forooque Shiekh hosted the show, Mandira Bedi made her presence to keep the audience involved when the award giving was held up for the breaks to match the live telecast. For a change, not a single performance by actors was seen. Instead amongst acts like a Parisian Can Can troupe and Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan completed the night.
The show began with the awards for Indian television. It was a night for Sony Entertainment Television. Its highest-rated show, ‘Jassi Jaissi Koi Nahin’ bagged five awards. Apart from the show itself, it also clinched the best actress award in a television series, award for the best director for a television series, honour of the best drama series, best debutant actress award and, recognition for the best marketing of an entertainment product.
An elated and enthused Sunil Lulla, EVP and Business Head, SET India says, “The entire team is happy and excited on the excellent job we have done. And the result is of the efforts of Sony India and the international team in acquiring the software. Our efforts have made a distinctive difference and we are proud of it.”
SAB TV received all its three awards for Eagle video Films’ Office. The group romped home with the award for best acting by an ensemble in a television category, best actor’s award to Pankaj Kapoor and was reckoned as the best comedy series. STAR won an award for the best title song played in ‘Des Mein Nikla Hoga Chand’, while Zee won the best musical show award for ‘Hero Honda Sa re Ga Ma Pa’.
Award for the best animated series was won by Crest Communications for ‘Tenali Raman’, while the best factual/non fiction programme award went to NDTV’s Big Story for Afghanistan TV. NDTV also won the award for the best news anchoring by Barkha Dutt and Rajdeep Sardesai. Despite not being in any of the nominations, Balaji Telefilms was honoured as the best production house. A special award was declared for Subhash Chandra for ushering in the cable and satellite revolution on Indian television.
The Apsara awards lauded Indian television, Hindi films, regional films and international films on the same platform. FPGI announced the Apsara in April 2004 to honour its golden jubilee. Commenting on the motive, FPGI President Amit Khanna remarks, “This step is taken to establish a benchmark that parallels no other for excellence and technical brilliance within the entertainment industry. Given the response, it is obvious that the awards are well-received by the industry.”
The FPGI-constituted committee for the awards included, director of the awards Ramesh Sippy, FPGI president Amit Khanna and chairmen of the jury across each of the four categories, Shekhar Kapur for film awards, Govind Nihalani for technical Awards, Ronnie Screwvala for television awards and Yash Chopra with Amit Khanna for special awards category. To ensure credibility and transparency of the award, FPGI entrusted Pricewaterhouse Coopers – the auditor for the Oscar awards, with the responsibility to audit Apsara awards.
Members of the Guild, which include names like Aamir Khan, Shyam Benegal, Amitabh Bachchan, Ashutosh Gowariker and Kamal Barjatiya voted for the winners. A total of 37 categories, 12 from television, which included both fiction and non-fiction and 25 from cinema, comprised the Apsara Awards.