The event of the weekend was beyond compare. Taking place in Toronto’s Rogers Centre – a huge venue which was at full capacity for the night – the stars descending upon the city, much to the joy of their fans.
Ritesh Deshmukh and Boman Irani took on the mantle of hosting the IIFA Awards for the fourth year in a row, bringing the laughs. Their chemistry and comic timing are well-known, especially their ability to go the distance for a good joke. The audience saw them in various costumes and avatars as they entertained, parodied popular films and generally had a good time.
Not only that, but the superstar legend of the evening, Shah Rukh Khan, helped them with a few of their hosting responsibilities at the beginning of the show. This led to one of the most shocking moments of the show. A fan jumped up onto the stage at one point, grabbing SRK’s legs. Many were unsure if the act was planned, but the pain on Shah Rukh’s face (he is to have knee surgery in a few days) was very real. The man was pulled away by security, but Shah Rukh kept his composure, turning it into a joke. Now that’s showmanship!
The first performance of the night was Kangana Ranaut. What she lacked in technicality she made up for in adaa, playing up the urban-gangster vibe. In the end she was also joined by the men of her film Double Dhamaal who grooved on stage with her.
The Deol brothers Sunny and Bobby were there to support their father Dharmendra when he received his award for 50 years in the film industry. Dharmendra had the audience on their feet. Sharmila Tagore also received an award for Outstanding Achievement and another standing ovation. The clips of her work in movies as a young actress brought about a flood of nostalgia.
Another eagerly awaited award is the Hottest Pair. Who did everyone think lit up the silver screen this year? None other than Ranveer Singh and Anushka Sharma in Band Baaja Baraat! The crowds went wild seeing the duo get up on stage together to receive the award, but nothing compares to Ranveer saying “thank you Anushka, you really really make me hot!” Cheeky.
Ritesh and Boman had a lot of fun pretending to be item girls to their newly-created song “Ruby Queen” and searched the audience for the next big item girl. Getting both Arjun Rampal and Karan Johar up on stage to dance was a highlight. The boys were having fun, with Ritesh sitting on Arjun who was sitting on Karan at one point. But the boys may have had all the fun, but it was the gals that really stole the show. When they called Shilpa Shetty up to show off her item girl moves she astounded the crowd with her nakhras. Wow! This all led into Bipasha Basu’s performance to all of the popular item songs of 2010/2011, including Dum Maaro Dum, Sheila Ki Jawani and Munni Badnaam.
Next up were the Debut awards. It came as no surprise to anyone that Ranveer Singh took home the Best Male Debut award while Sonakshi Sinha took home Best Debut Female, but what was thrilling was seeing the two of them perform! Ranveer Singh certainly has a bright future if his performance, energy and charisma is any indication and Sonakshi is not far behind. They danced to Band Baaja Baraat, Ainvayi Ainvayi, Dhinka Chika and Tere Mast Mast Do Nain. In fact, on the green carpet Ranveer mentioned that he only had a day and a half to prepare for the act. Unbelievable! It was definitely one of the highlights of the show.
The immortal Asha Bhosle was paid tribute to by none other than Priyanka Chopra who did a fantastic job dancing to all of Ashaji’s most memorable songs. From Aaiye Meherbaan to Rang De, the crowd was able to relive the magic of Ashaji’s incredible talent. Priyanka herself was honoured t be able to present the award to Asha Bhosle. It was a moment of filmi magic, indeed.
Ritesh Deshmukh took home Best Comic Actor, Sonu Sood was humbled when he received the Best Villain Award for Dabangg. Prachi Desai represented Once Upon A Time In Mumbai with her win of Best Supporting Actress and Arjun Rampal brought home some hardware for the Rajneeti team as Best Supporting Actor.
Boman Irani and Ritesh Deshmukh continued with their antics by presenting us with clips of how movies would be if they were made by different directors or actors. Sholay by Rajkumar Hirani? Lagaan by Sanjay Leela Bhansali? How about Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge with Ranbir Kapoor? But the most response was given to the what if of Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan in Deewar. The short video with Ritesh and Boman playing the roles of Sallu and SRK showed the two Khans reuniting as friends and the crowd was clearly in support of the idea, giving big cheers. Wonder if Shah Rukh Khan took note…
Next up was Best Actress. Up against stalwarts like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kajol Devgan and Vidya Balan, it was young ingénue Anushka Sharma who took home the award. She was shocked, overwhelmed and humbled, but so proud for the recognition, specifically for the film Band Baaja Baraat. The girl will go far in the Hindi film industry and I for one cannot wait to see just how far.
Up against Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, Ajay Devgan and Ranbir Kapoor for Best Actor, it was the man of the hour who once again stole the limelight when Shah Rukh Khan one for his work in My Name Is Khan. The crowd was on their feet within seconds, giving him a standing ovation as he claimed his award from none other than Hilary Swank who had come to the IIFA Awards to show her support for India and Indian cinema. Shah Rukh mentioned Kajol in his acceptance speech, which caused the crowd to go wild. SRK also paid tribute to his dear friend, the late Yash Johar, whose death anniversary coincided with the event. He also thrilled his fans by saying “my name is Khan and I am a Torontonian”.
The Best Director award was given to Karan Johar for My Name Is Khan as well. He explained the importance of the film and its message of equality, peace and understanding. Karan was extremely proud of how far the film was able to reach across the globe. He also paid respect to his late father and the emotion was clear in his voice.
The final award of the night was Best Film, which was presented by Bipasha Basu and Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. It was a one-of-a-kind crossover moment. The award went to Arbaaz and Malaika Arora Khan for Dabangg. They both came up on stage and of course thanked Salman Khan in absentia.
Finally, the show was topped off with a performance by Shah Rukh Khan. The actor has been suffering from knee pain and so instead of the usual type of performance one would expect he instead taught the audience how to pull off the dance moves from certain songs. From Say Shava Shava to Aati Kya Khandala to Rock On, we were treated with a very interactive experience. Various sections of the Rogers Centre were given props to help them with their dance moves. In the final moments, Shah Rukh Khan got the entire full-capacity audience on their feet and dancing to Deewangi Deewangi as Dia Mirza, Ritesh Deshmukh, Boman Irani, Priyanka Chopra and Anushka Sharma all joined him on stage to dance.
Jetlagged, exhausted, injured or not, Shah Rukh Khan gave his 110% to ensure the crowd was entertained and he delivered. It was the perfect ending to the night as the stars thanked Toronto one last time. An evening to remember!