Saturday, March 5, 2011

Explaining the TwiFi Awards nominations

I have not written down my views on TwiFi Awards so far, but I think I NEED to now. Don’t want to do it on the official ‘TwiFi Awards FB page’ so doing it here. The nominations for the first TwiFi awards were declared on Thursday evening. While there was still overwhelming support from many quarters, there was also a ‘backlash’, if I can call it that, form many avid film buffs, including those who are part of the jury. Many questions were raised and I want to answer them one by one. This may be long – so just skip straight to the part that you want answered, if you please

1. Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai are nominated, so these awards are #epicfail and disappointing because these are popular choices and TwiFi wasn’t supposed to have popular nominees.

Let me go back a bit and tell all those who don’t know HOW these awards were started:
I ranted about bad film nominations in other awards and wondered aloud HOW in the world could these people be nominated? What sort of a jury would nominate them? So I suggested why not we start something where the entire process would be FAIR, TRANSPARENT AND UNBIASED. And people would KNOW how the nominations were reached... in fact, the people would be involved in the process of it all.

I had started this for fun... but people were kind and generous in making this a deal bigger than I could have imagined. I thought, to be fair and unbiased, we should not involve anyone FROM industry on jury, and instead, we should have people who have actually seen every movie that comes out and are supposed to be unbiased by job description – Critics.

But again: This was NEVER supposed to be solely a critics’ choice awards – else, we would have never involved a tweeple jury and would not even have had audience voting. We’d have got critics’ votes and been done with it at that. But this was this was supposed to be ‘of, by and for’  tweeple, so we HAD to have a tweeple jury.

58 PEOPLE were on jury – 29 Critics, 29 Tweeple.
50 voted for the nominations – 24 Critics, 26 Tweeple.

When such a large number is involved, including a tweeple jury, I was never expecting ‘perfect nominations’. We obviously knew that we couldn’t have FAIL nominations – because the tweeple on the jury were also voted for on Twitter by movie buffs, including the critics and even people from the film fraternity. But these were never supposed to be solely critics’ choice. YET, we tried our best to make sure we have the ‘best possible’ nominations:

We had tweetups in 6 cities across India to discuss how the nominations should ideally happen: . Over 100 film buffs came together in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Cochin. PLEASE GO THROUGH THE LINK TO READ THE AGENDA: “WHOSE AWARDS ARE IT ANYWAY?” Questions like ‘Is it an elitist award or a people’s award?’, ‘Who exactly deserves to be in supporting categories’,  ‘What’s a good film or performance’ – ALL THE THINGS PEOPLE ARE ‘DISAPPOINTED’ ABOUT WERE RAISED AT THE TWEETUPS.

We wanted your feedback because we saw this coming, and we got some spectacular feedback where people realised that this is a start in the right direction and we ALL have to contribute in making this perfect: . All this was announced many times on the #TwiFi id.. so honestly, I’m very, very surprised to see people saying they were ‘disappointed’. I have no idea what they were expecting because even at the Mumbai tweetup, the very first tweetup, I must have repeated a 100 times – Please don’t support this award because you think the nominations are going to change the world. HELP US PUT TOGETHER A PROCESS that will ensure the best possible nominations, and then, please continue supporting us because this process was arrived at by discussion with all of YOU! And if it does throw up anomalies, please give us constructive criticism on how to make this better, and continue the support because we involved ALL of you and tried our best.

To further ensure that we have good nominations, we came up with TwiFi commandments - . We hoped these commandments would ensure people vote sensibly, and for good cinema. In the official mail we sent to the jury when we started the nomination process, we gave a link to these commandments. Here are some of the pts of the commandments:
1.       Every nominee should be as good or almost as good as the winner. No one should be included just to fill in the quota.
2.       The films nominated should be popular because of its content and not because of the popularity of its  song/album/film/actor/star/director.
3.       There will be no attempt to please all - people/films shouldn't be nominated in different categories just so that they win something. 

If, after this, some names have come in that you guys are not happy about, at least you need to give us the fact that we tried! And we are still trying -  we WILL take your constructive criticism and make this better! The most important thing here is: this IS the TWEEPLE awards. The public is involved at EVERY stage – that’s why we had tweetups. Is there anything we did that you didn't agree with? If after doing everything according to what everyone's wanted, there've still been a couple of downers, it's not too much to forgive for the first year?

Also, we’ll put up the individual nominations soon, so you'll get to SEE how we arrived at those nominations so you know we're not doing it to please someone or piss someone off. We haven't claimed to be the best thing to have happened to the industry.. but we do claim to be fair and transparent, and if you support us in that endevaour.. we'll work on making it even better next year!

2. The case of Naseeruddin Shah and Arshad Warsi
If you see the agenda of the tweetups (, we did raise these questions – how do you differentiate a best actor and best actor in supporting role? And the feedback clearly showed that parallel leads should not be considered supporting because they are ‘lesser stars’ than the ‘main hero/heroine’.

This is what happened: Some people thought Naseer was the ‘lead’ and put arshad in supporting, others thought arshad is ‘lead’ and put naseer is supporting. The point here is, people wanted the two of them to be nominated for sure, and it again, ultimately came down to their individual perceptions – who THEy think was the ‘hero’ and who they think was the ‘supporting actor’. Also, since there could only be 5 best actor noms and people felt there are others not from ishqiya who deserved to be in these categories,  they voted the other lead in the other category.

The worst situation would have been when because of this split, both would not get nominated – but the great thing is, both did! But seriously people, can WE dictate an individual critics’ perception of the movie? How can WE tell him/her that you are wrong in saying Arshad is the lead and Naseer is supporting.. or vice versa? Awards are ultimately based on perception, and this may just show that the only ‘lead’ in the movie was Vidya Balan, and Arshad and  Naseer were supporting roles!

3. The case of people being left out because of one or two votes:
We thought initially that we’d have 5 noms in each category – but  you know what? If you guys feel so strongly that its unfair Sanjay Mishra and Manu Rishi lost out by 1 vote or Do Dooni Chaar didnt make it by one vote, and so on – please remember, these awards are OF, FOR AND BY THE PEOPLE. We will definitely not disrespect the jury’s choices and delete anyone from the 5 they have chosen, but we can certainly increase the categories to 6 or 7... what say? If enough of you want that, we’re with you on this!

4. Where we did go wrong:
We didn’t SPECIFY that you can keep your nomination ‘blank’. We also didn’t have a rule that said something like if 4 nominees have clear 50% + majority, and the next highest nominee has only 5% votes, that nominee should not be included and we should wrap up the category at 4 nominations. But since it’s never too late – we WILL do this next year. But as I said, we don’t want to disrespect the jury, so we are not reducing the number this year from 5.

5. ‘These awards are similar to other awards’
I'm personally quite proud of the nominations these awards have thrown up. I didn’t want to defend them but because there are people who only go by what they see, here’s a comparison in some categories. Except for one or two similarities in terms of ‘popular’ choices, TwiFi nominations are clearly very, very different from all others:

If you have any other questions, please do ask. If you have any sort of constructive criticism, please, PLEASE do give. If you are still disappointed with it all, we are sorry and hopefully, we’ll try and make this an even better process next year so that we can live up to your expectations as well. But this has come so far just because you guys thought it deserved to come this far – do continue your support till the end now. Give us a chance J

Also, do read Amit Gurbaxani's review of the nominations at Mumbai Boss, pretty fair I think:


  1. Hi Nikhil,
    Great post and I largely agree with you. TwiFi was never supposed to be anti-star or only to give small films a platform. Why is there a hue and cry over a couple of nominations, I fail to understand. If a large number of voters felt that two actors deserve to be nominated then let's accept that.
    Let's not expect people to nominate only for a certain films and if they nominate X person then you don't get cinema or are lesser than those who didn't.
    I did not nominate Hrithik but accept his nomination and I still believe SRK did a good job in MNIK even if it's not 'COOL' as per a few critics.
    I agree with you on empty nomination bit as I also struggled to fill the best actress nominations... Ideally, would have nominated only 3 actresses. But there is learning for next time as well and the voting is still open for the winner.
    Regarding increasing the number of nominations, let's avoid that even if some deserving names are left out. We should have a maximum of 5 nominations; they can be lesser than that but never more.
    These awards are 'NOT SIMILAR' to other awards as there is no agenda to please a star of lobbying... if a few stars are nominated then let's graciously accept that there is some merit in what they did.
    Looking forward to the technical nominations :)

  2. yes...plz extend to 6/7 as needed to include deserving nominations

  3. I wish I had made the jury. But I think the nominations look great. Initially I did think "these awards look like any other" but after having read what you wrote here, I can see how that happened.

  4. Hey Nikhil,
    Largely I agree with the nominations. I for one do not understand the hue and cry over the big stars that have been nominated. Its merit based not personality based and thats what matters.
    Good stuff!

  5. Triple nominations for one person? We have a lot of talent, say lot of singers who sang almost equally well. Still Rekha gets three nominations and Sunidhi and Shilpa get none. I think we're going wrong somewhere on that too. Don't u think so?

    Btw, totally liked ur idea of additions. They all seem to be deserving. I think you can go ahead with them.

  6. Hey Nikhil,
    Just curious to know about the nomination process you followed. Realized that it is not so simple mathematically! It seems the Oscars have a rather complex system (called preferential voting). Maybe u can put out the process now; it will also add further credibility to the process, especially in view of the 'backlash' on the nominations.

  7. Hey Sushil.. the nomination process is available here:

  8. Cinema in itself is a retard business. One more awards show adds to the misery. Something to cheer up wannabe film-makers who thrive on pseudo-intellectualism. Anurag Kashyap and co finally found a way to get recognized because right now there are neither here nor there. They cannot enthrall the public worldwide and they cannot even engage the public in India.

  9. dude, jst never get intimidated, or anything by those comments up there. brilliant effort! keep it up!