Filmfare Award for two of the best

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It was just another day, until I came to know about the announcements of Filmfare Awards for this year. Two awards had gone to two friends of mine... and more importantly, to such persons who are talented, have worked hard to make a position in tough-tough Bollywood, and who did deserve it. And it was a coincidence that both of them had been alumni of Panjab University, and I have known them since I was myself a student there in Chandigarh.
Well, these two are-- Mahie Gill who bagged critics award for best female actor in a lead role, for her performance in 'Dev D'; and Irshad Kamil for his heart-touching lyrics of 'Ajj Din Chadeya..' in film 'Love Aaj Kal'. And both of them belong to that rare category of people who become more and more down-to-earth as they climb up the ladder of success. Talk to Mahie, and she will sound as a girl next door... talk to Irshad, and he will surely be fun to talk to. What's more, I can talk to both of them in Punjabi.
And, I did talk to both of them after I got the news. Irshad was tired but excited. He had told me about a fortnight ago that he was not sure if he would get the award or not, as the competition was tough. There were likes of Gulzar, Javed Akhtar and Prasoon Joshi in the fray. But he deserved it, so nobody could deny it to him. Every song, in fact every word of songs of 'Love Aaj Kal' is a class in itself.. possibly the best album so far by Irshad. He got the award for 'Ajj Din Chadeya..', though my personal favourite is 'Chorbazaari...'. After getting the award, Irshad told me that he was still in dreams, and he had not slept for more than 40 hours. 'Neend hi nahin aa rahi, Ajay,' he told candidly. The truth of having won a prestigious award was still to sink in.
For Irshad, it was hard work of eight long years that bore fruit one fine evening this year. After doing his MA in Hindi, he started his career as a cultural correspondent with a reputed Hindi daily in Chandigarh. But his dreams and destination lay somewhere else, and he made it there too. Everyone who knows Irshad must be happy for this easy-going guy.

What made Irshad more elated was the fact that his ammi was with them in Mumbai that night. He called up his home from the function itself, and his ammi was all in tears. Her son had made her proud. The son, who she never wanted to pursue a career in poetry, for the fear that he might not succeed. But the son had proved her apprehensions wrong. And who would be happier than a mother to be proved wrong by her son in a righteous way.
And as far as Mahie is concerned, my first impression of her had been of a sweet-natured girl who used to rehearse her part in the dramas in the lawns of Department of Indian Theatre in Panjab University, from where she was doing her MA. She has been the same even after these long 14 years, rather more humble as she has matured as an artist and a human being.
Filmfare Awards night was a big moment in her life, and she told me that this came a bit unannounced. She was in Goa the day before, when she got a call from Filmfare persons asking her to reach Mumbai immediately. It was an unexpected call, but it had to be, as Critics’ Award did not have any nominations. Had she known that she had been chosen for Best Female Performance in a Leading Role, she could have prepared her speech. But that was not so... and so it was a sweet surprise for her.
She had earlier bagged Screen Award this year for her role in 'Dev D'. So, her friends more or less knew the Filfmare Award was also coming. Last year, she was in Chandigarh for the premier of the same film. After the movie, I had joined the film crew for a dinner. Such was the impact of her powerful performance as Paro in the film, that I could not stop myself from forecasting that she was going to win Filmfare next year. Little I knew it would come true. But after seeing her performance 'Gulaal' also, I was convinced that she had finally arrived… after a struggle of about ten years in film industry.

Mahie has not only struggled in Bollywood, but she had fought battles at personal front also. She is a warrior. And this warrior said that she was overjoyed to receive the honour, and her joy was doubled when she got a call from her brother who lived in US. Her mother was also in US that day. She also could not sleep well after the awards ceremony as calls for interviews kept pouring in.
But she is not a girl who would refuse to talk. The result was evident when I called her up late in the evening. But in that fatigued voice, there was clearly a hint of triumph, that... yesss, I have arrived!!!


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