There were doubts that the 10th IIFA Awards could live up to expectations at the Venetian Holiday Resort in Macau. Many of the top stars were missing due to filming commitments, including the three Khans of SRK, Aamir and Salman and the great khiladi himself, Akshay Kumar. The industry is still reeling from a disastrous first half of the year with income down 40% due to a poor set of releases and the multiplex strike — and the world economy deep in the trough of a recession.
And yet — nothing can stop Bollywood rising above it all and pulling out all the stops when it matters. In a glittering occasion, lasting seven hours, and shot through with style and glamour, the 10th awards turned out to be another great success. The show must go on!
Ashutosh Gowariker’s epic Jodhaa Akbar swept the awards taking Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor for Hrithik Roshan. The timely historical story of communal harmony between the Muslim emperor Akbar the Great and his Hindu wife Jodhaa beat off the challenge of Aamir Khan’s Ghajini in the final run-in. Director Ashutosh Gowariker was of course delighted and said during his acceptance speech, “When I started this movie I was advised by all my friends not to make the film on a subject which depicted two religions coming together because the situation in the country at that point of time was not right. But I am happy that I made a film which is based on Hindu-Muslim unity.”
AR Rahman won the award for Best Music Director for the same film, with Javed Akhtar Best Lyricist and Javed Ali Best Male Singer.
The film’s female star, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan made a stunning appearance in the accompanying Extravaganza to the event in a flowing traditional gown in silver and red. However, she failed to pick up the Best Actress Award. This instead went to Priyanka Chopra for her startling performance in the second act of Fashion. “We Indians are everywhere,” she said, “The film industry is like one big family and the fans really feel a part of that.”
However, Aish found compensation in receiving an award for Female Star of the Decade and another for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema. Shahrukh Khan won the award for Male Star of the Decade. Veteran actor Rajesh Khanna, whose movies include Kati Patang, Anand and Amar Prem, received a Lifetime Achievement Award. “Babumoshai, thank you very very much,” he said looking at Amitabh Bachchan, with whom he starred in Anand.
Best Supporting Actor went to Arjun Rampal for Rock On!! – “Wow…I now want to thank someone whom I have always looked up to as my inspiration and that is none other than Amitabh Bachchan,” he said; and Best Supporting Actress was Kangana Ranaut for Fashion once more.
Best Actor in a Negative Role went to Akshaye Khanna to some surprise for Race, whilst Best Screenplay, more understandably went to Neeraj Pandey for his timely A Wednesday. Abhishek Bachchan was clearly thrilled at willing Best Comic Role for his performance in Dostana. “When I was a child I saw Amar, Akbar, Anthony and I told myself that I want to be like him Amitabh – and I am here because of him. I thank my mother and my wife. Aish, I only love you.”
Hosts Boman Irani and Riteish Deshmukh delighted the audience with some comic turns including a running spoof on Dostana where they pretended to be gay; and also a sketch announcing a Bollywood cabinet following the recent elections. Bipasha Basu, who performed at the awards in figure-hugging gold lame, should be Environment Minister, they said, because she is “the real reason for global warming all over the world.”
At the IIFA Business Forum the day before, actress Shabana Azmi was honoured with the Global Leadership Award. “Women are neither below nor above men,” she said, “They are just beautifully different and can contribute to the global dialogue that is taking place today.” A lifelong social activist, Shabana has been involved in campaigns connected to Aids and equality and against terrorism and extremism of all kinds.
The complete list of awards is as follows:
Best Film – Jodhaa Akbar
Best Director – Ashutosh Gowarikar (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Actor – Hrithik Roshan (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Actress – Priyanka Chopra (Fashion)
Best Music Director – AR Rahman (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Lyricist – Javed Akhtar (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Playback Singer (Male) – Javed Ali (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Playback Singer (Female) – Shreya Ghoshal (Singh Is Kinng)
Best Actor in a Comic Role (Male) – Abhishek Bachchan (Dostana)
Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male) – Arjun Rampal (Rock On!!)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Female) – Kangana Ranaut (Fashion)
Best Debutant Star Male – Farhan Akhtar (Rock On!!)
Best Debutant Star Female – Asin (Ghajini)
Bollywood Style Icon Awards – Hrithik Roshan & Bipasha Basu
Best Negative Role – Akshaye Khanna (Race)
Best Screenplay – Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday)
Best Scriptwriter – Neeraj Pandey (A Wednesday)
Best Sound Recording – Resul Pookutty & Amrit (Ghajini)
Best Background Score – AR Rahman (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Costume Design – Neeta Lulla (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Editing – Ballu Saluja (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Art Direction – Nitin Chandrakant Desai (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Make Up – Madhav Kadam (Jodhaa Akbar)
Best Action — Peter Heins and Stun Siva (Ghajini)
Best Visual Special Effects — Prime Focus (Ghajini)
Best Cinematography – Jason West (Rock On!!)
Best Song Recording – Purple Haze (Rock On!!)
Best Choreography – Farah Khan (Dostana)
Best Sound Re-recording – Leslie Fernandes (Race)
Best Dialogue – Manu Rishi (Oye Lucky Lucky Oye)
Lifetime Achievement Award – Rajesh Khanna
Male Star of the Decade — Shahrukh Khan
Female Star of the Decade — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema — Aishwarya Rai Bachchan