Sixteen years ago, when he donned a rustic cloth and trained an amateur cricket team, the British waived off a Gujarat village’s land tax. Recently, when he donned a rustic cloth and groomed his two daughters to become wrestling champions, the inspiring film compelled Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Delhi to declare it tax-free. It does seem like every time Aamir Khan, among the highest tax-paying actors of Bollywood, becomes a rural sports coach, he helps you save tax.
After setting new records at the box office, “Dangal” swept away the night’s three of four major awards — Best Actor, Film and Director while Alia Bhatt won the Filmfare Best Actor Award (Female) for her performance in “Udta Punjab”. Last night, though, another coincidence closed the 16-year gap between ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Dangal’. At the 62nd Jio Filmfare Awards 2017, the notorious perfectionist, who last won a Best Actor award for ‘Lagaan’ in 2002, bagged one this year for his brooding portrayal of a patriarch who grooms his daughters to be wrestling champions in ‘Dangal’.
Given that the sports biopic based on the Phogat sisters picked up three major awards at the event, the venue could not have been more on point. Held at the Dome at Worli’s National Sports Club of India (NSCI)— an indoor stadium where Pro-Kabaddi players have slapped their thighs as their earthy game received a shot of glamour— the event saw ‘Dangal’ bag both Best Film and Best Director (Nitesh Tiwari) awards. In addition, ‘Udta Punjab’—Abhishek Chaubey’s weighty look at the insurgence of drug abuse in Punjab—too enjoyed some well-deserved spotlight with Alia Bhatt winning the Best Actress award and Shahid Kapoor the Critics Award for Best Actor for his mind-altering portrayal of a drug-addled singer.
The evening began with the host, Shah Rukh Khan, dropping from the sky in a harness with a guitar, lipsyncing a song about cinema and strumming even as he dangled mid-air. “I am banned in Wankhede, not in NSCI,” he told the organizers through his hands-free mike, while requesting them to let him step on to the stage. Given that the Best Actor category featured all three Khans, the Badshah of Bollywood decided to take an instant poll of popularity by asking the audience to clap for their favourite Khan one by one. When they clapped for Aamir, SRK deadpanned: “Liars. If you are a true fan of Aamir, you won’t be at an awards function.” Fellow hosts, motormouth comedian Kapil Sharma and director Karan Johar, too, kept pace with SRK’s lasersharp one-liners. A key moment arrived when Salman Khan, his turquoise bracelet and tongue-in-cheek wit firmly in place, exchanged thoughts on choppy mobile networks with SRK. Amitabh Bachchan presented the the lifetime achievement award to Shatrughan Sinha.