MUMBAI Bollywood stars better watch out. Movie fans in India are handing out their own version of the Razzies, the annual Oscars spoof that spotlights Hollywood's worst performances.
The second Ghanta (bell) Awards and the fourth Golden Kela (golden banana) awards are doing the rounds of social media networks, with fans voting in various categories for the worst films of 2011.
The rise of what is known as the "multiplex audience", urban viewers who have a taste for edgier cinema and the spending power to watch it, has meant that Bollywood is exploring newer storylines and bolder themes.
But Indian actors and film makers continuing with stale family melodramas and bad scripts risk being pilloried by urban audiences exposed to top-notch Hollywood films who now expect the same standards in India.
This year, the Ghantas also have a holier-than-thou film award, for "indulgent film makers".
"These are typically personal stories that do not cater to mass sensibilities," says Karan Anshuman, film critic and co-founder of The Ghanta Awards.
"Here, films are inspired by the grammar of world cinema and not so much Bollywood," says Anshuman.
"And while this is an encouraging step towards making available different cinemas to an audience, more often than not the movies are ineptly made and just plain bad and silly."
With categories like "Most Atrocious lyrics", "Worst Rip-Off" and "Worst Holier-than-thou films", fans can take potshots at the worst of Bollywood cinema from the past year.
Big-ticket stars Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan are nominated in the worst actor categories at The Ghantas while the Shah Rukh Khan caper "Don 2" has been nominated in the "Worst Rip-Off" category for imitating "every Hollywood action film".
The response from the Indian online community has been encouraging. A day after voting began, more than a thousand users had cast their votes for the Ghantas. More than 300,000 people cast their votes for The Golden Kelas last year.
Organisers aren't counting on the same support from the Indian film industry.
"Bollywood isn't really known for laughing at itself and frankly has zero sense of humour," says Anshuman.
Organisers of the Golden Kela awards, which last year awarded the Worst Actor award to Shah Rukh Khan, say no Bollywood star or film maker shows up to claim their prizes.
This week, film maker Anurag Kashyap tweeted he would collect his Ghanta award in person if his film "That Girl in Yellow Boots" wins in the "holier-than-thou" category.
While the Ghantas will be announced in February in Mumbai, the Golden Kela award ceremony will be held in New Delhi in March.
(Reporting By Shilpa Jamkhandikar, editing by Paul Casciato)
Trending On Reuters
Prolific horror filmmaker Wes Craven, who directed the slasher classic "A Nightmare on Elm Street," died on Sunday afternoon, his family said in a statement. He was 76. Read