After the roaring success of last year’s Reel Movie Awards, News18 is once again back with its second edition of content awards. Different from the previous edition, the iReel Awards exclusively celebrate the best of Indian web series that just not only raised the bar of online storytelling with their fresh, unconventional concepts but also resonated with a wider audience.
The nominations have Sacred Games dominating three of the five main acting categories for Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Jitendra Joshi. The Netflix original has overall scored an impressive five nods, including Best Drama and Best Writing. The Test Case, Bose: Dead/Alive, Inside Edge and Laakhon Mein Ek have followed with four nominations each.
The awards, to be held in Mumbai today, has already created a sizeable amount of buzz, with many celebrities praising the efforts of News18 for taking the initiative and recognising the hard work of several artistes who often get sidelined in the business.
“It’s a great initiative because there’s so much of great content happening in the digital world, and especially when News18 does an initiative like this, it’s very encouraging for a lot of others to step out and start making things because there are people out there who are watching it and honouring these actors and technicians,” said Rajkummar Rao, who is vying for Best Actor alongside the likes of Nawazuddin and R Madhavan, who is nominated for his portrayal of a troubled father in Amazon Prime’s Breathe.
Apart from mainstream acting categories, News18 has come up with an altogether new category— Best Ensemble Cast, to recognise a shows’s collective accomplishment and to acknowledge all the individual parts. Shows like Inside Edge, The Test Case, Laakhon Mein Ek, Zero KMS and Sacred Games have been nominated in the category. There are overall 12 categories at the iReel Awards and the winners are decided by an audience poll as well as a four-member jury that comprised Sudhir Mishra, Nikkhil Advani, Sujoy Ghosh and Monisha Singh Katial.
“It took its time coming but now that it’s here, it will become an extremely viable option for online actors as well. This is a really good idea and soon I think these kinds of awards will start mattering how important you’re considered in digital media,” said R Madhavan.
While Mukti Mohan, who is nominated in the Best Actress (comedy) category for playing a lesbian on TVF’s InMates, said, “I really thought that Indian market wasn’t ready for honouring this yet, and that this was more like taken on an entertainment basis. But, I'd say even entertainment requires a lot of hard work and a lot of people work behind telling a story. And I’m really glad that News18 is honouring that. It’s great.”
The ceremony, which will see who’s who of film and TV fraternity in attendance, will be hosted by stand-up comedian Daniel Fernandes, who has previously collaborated with several Indian stand-up comics and currently hosts his own online series titled You Started It. Unlike other Indian award shows that are full of dance performances and musical gigs, iReel Awards will only focus on shining the spotlight on real talents. Nawazuddin, Anurag Kashyap, Ronit Roy, Nimrat Kaur, Vikramaditya Motwane, Sumeet Vyas, Rasika Duggal, Jitendra Joshi, Seema Pahwa, Nusrat Barucha and Javed Jaffrey among others are expected to attend the event.