Bollywood casts its spell on IIFA awards

Jun 25, 2011

Romantic comedy "Band Baaja Baarat" and action drama "Dabangg" scooped up three early honours each at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Toronto that packed three days of film, song and dance culminating in Saturday's awards ceremony, often referred to as the Indian Oscars.

The IIFA Rocks, a Bollywood-inspired concert and fashion show bonanza, also paid a nostalgic tribute to late pop star Michael Jackson in a moving concert by Jermaine Jackson, elder brother of the King of Pop, to mark his second death anniversary. Singer and composer Sonu Nigam joined him in the performance.

Nigam's 'Thank you for the legacy' set the tone on Saturday in the city's ultra-modern Ricoh Coliseum, jampacked with more than 25,000 people.

IIFA Rocks started the awards portion of the weekend by giving away some technical film awards in between some high-energy musical performances by Mallika Sherawat who danced to 'Arabian Nights'.

IIFA: Bollywood casts its spell on awards night

Shah Rukh Khan gets a King's welcome

Actor Shah Rukh Khan landed in Toronto amid huge fanfare as screaming fans greeted him at the Royal York Hotel. Around a hundred fans, who waited to catch a glimpse of the actor at the hotel lobby were delighted as he broke into an impromptu little jig despite his knee injury.

Virtually the whole of Bollywood, including actor Anil Kapoor, veteran stage and film star Anupam Kher and Bipasha Basu has descended on the Coliseum to entertain Toronto. The four-hour-long IIFA Rocks show was conducted by Karan Johar and Anushka Sharma.

Namrata Rao won the IIFA award for editing, Naharika Khan for costume and Vijay Dayal for best song 'Ainvayi ainvayi' in 'Band Baaja Baaraat'.

Pritam Das for best sound recording in 'Love, Sex aur Dhokha', Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for background score in 'My Name in Khan', Leslie Fernandes for re-recording in 'Dabanng', and Sudeep Chatterjee for cinematography in 'Guzaarish'. Sabu Cyril won the award for art direction in 'Robot', which also won the IIFA awards for special effects and make-up.

Dia Mirza performed a dance medley of hit numbers such as 'Pyar Do, Pyar Lo,' 'Parda Hai Parda,' and 'Aapka Kya Hoga.' Nigam enthralled the audience with his cocktail of qawwali and rock.

The cheering was so raucous when the venue's camera monitors' flashed on Bollywood superstars sitting in their seats that it sometimes drowning out the hosts, that "When we're speaking, please don't put close-ups of big movie stars on the screen," joked co-host Karan Johar, drawing laughter from the crowd.

Johar and co-host Anushka Sharma alternated between English and Hindi throughout the evening.

Sharma was treated to a hug by Shahrukh Khan, often referred to as "King Khan," whose close-ups on the monitor screens drew the loudest cheers.

"I'm tired of girls giving me a hug. I want a deep passionate kiss," said Khan.

"You're forgetting what would happen at home if that happened," smirked Johar.

Khan retorted, "We're thousands and thousands of miles away. What happens in Toronto, stays in Toronto." But in the end, he played it safe with a big bear hug for the bombshell Bollywood actress.

Much of the evening's music was provided by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, a musical super group consisting of Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa, who also won an award for best background score for their work on "My Name is Khan," starring Shahrukh Khan.

But the real musical superstars were British-Canadian bhangra trio RDB, whose energetic performances with singer Veronica and two players of the drum-like dhol, got the audience shaking their shoulders in their seats and cheering excitedly.

The IIFA provides the climax for three days of moviegoing, dancing, fashion, music and a business forum aimed at strengthening ties between India and Canada -- something event organizers hope to do around the world, too.

With an expected worldwide TV audience of 700 million viewers tuning in to watch the show, tickets were scooped up in less than 10 minutes. Some 22,200 faithful, Bollywood fans hope to get a closer look at many of their favorite stars.

Debuting in 2000 in London, the IIFA's have been held on four continents in cities including Dubai, Bangkok, Colombo, Singapore, Macau and Johannesburg but never in India.

Nominees for IIFA

Awards in 15 categories are up for grabs at Saturday's green carpet event.

The larger-than-life gangster film "Once Upon a Time in Mumbai" leads the pack of movie contenders with an impressive 12 nominations, including best film and best leading male role for Ajay Devgan, solidifying him as one of Bollywood's premier actors.

"Dabangg" is a close second with 11 nominations. The corrupt cop thriller broke box office records in its debut week in theaters and is the highest grossing Bollywood film of all time, It earned a best male role nomination for on screen tough guy Salman Khan.

"My name is Khan" goes into the IIFAs with four nominations. The film looks into the struggles of a Muslim family in the US following the September 11 attacks. The film earned Bollywood heavyweight, Shah Rukh Khan, a best actor nod in his role as a man with Asperger's Syndrome who travels across the country telling people he is not a terrorist.

Rounding out the category for best picture honors is "Ishqiya" nominated for nine IIFA awards while the romantic comedy "Band Baaja Baaraat" and the political thriller "Rajneeti" each have eight.