How A Bollywood Lyricist Turned A Pointless Award Into A Debate About Patriotism

Not only do Bollywood film awards have no integrity and/or pedigree, but lyricist Manoj Muntashir felt the need to invoke desh prem to argue his case.

If you had any doubts about Bollywood’s bent towards chest-thumping patriotism purely because of how lucrative it is, look no further than lyricist Manoj Muntashir’s angry tweet. Having lost an award for Best Lyrics to Ankur Tewari and Divine for Gully Boy‘s Apna Time Aayega, Muntashir, who wrote Teri Mitti for Kesari, put up a ‘statement’ on Twitter about his disillusionment with Bollywood awards. In the tweet, Muntashir pats himself on the back for a line he wrote, calling it the awards’ “failure to honour the words which made millions of Indians cry and care for their motherland.”

This is funny on more than one level, because not only do Bollywood film awards have no integrity and/or pedigree whatsoever, but Muntashir felt the need to invoke desh prem to argue his case. To say Apna Time Aayega doesn’t deserve an award for its vernacular lyrics is more puritanism than Bollywood can handle.

Also, it’s stale news that Bollywood awards aren’t given out on merit. Rishi Kapoor has mentioned an instance when he ‘bought’ a Filmfare award in 1976. The likes of Karan Johar, Kangana Ranaut, Saif Ali Khan… have all debunked how much of a farce these awards shows are. Only a few months ago a video of Alia Bhatt was circulating, where she can be spotted leaving with an award even before the ceremony commenced. In the video, Bhatt’s manager can be heard requesting the paparazzi to publish these pictures only after the show is televised.

A televised event, where even the laughs are manufactured by cutting and pasting, it’s amusing how Muntashir is bidding adieu to awards only now… after he lost.

The patriotism angle worked wonders for Kesari at the box office, and Muntashir’s tweet quickly got a lot of traction. And it soon became about how a song ‘honouring’ the martyrs of Saragarhi, lost to a song with words like ‘tu nanga hi toh aaya tha, kya ghanta lekar jaayega‘.

Not only is the logic severely flawed, but the whole patriotism angle is terribly opportunistic. That too, for an award that doesn’t have the best track record for recognising merit.