It's Bollywood's equivalent of the Oscars, so why, why is the Filmfare Awards ceremony broadcast two whole days after the event? Can you imagine the Academy Awards not being telecast live?
What can the reason be? Too many costume changes? Too many bloopers? Not enough cameras? Too much unsightly footage of veteran actors asleep in their chairs?
Whatever the excuse, Bollywood fans have to wait 48 hours before they can watch what we suspect is a highly sanitised version on Sony TV.
SEE OUR PICTURE GALLERY OF THE STARS ARRIVING
But we don't watch the show for the winners! It's everything else about it Ė the spectacular performances, the close-ups of Rekha,†the eloquent speeches, Farhan Akhtar (Best Actor, and rightly so)†looking incredibly suave, and the red-carpet triumphs and disasters (cough-Vidya Balan-cough).
It's four hours of non-stop entertainment, and we can't wait.
Curtain raiser: The irrepressible Chunkey Pandey is messing around with the stars, inviting them to sit beside him, making jokes at their expense and getting away with murder.
Chunkey's wearing what looks like a cropped smoking jacket in an eye watering shade of red, and red sunglasses. Because he's on the red carpet.
VJ Andy is on the red carpet, too; he's accosting female celebrities and asking them if they are on a diet. And if they love potatoes.
He even has a potato song: Saira Banu sings with him, and can she hold a tune. What a star! Dilip Kumar, who's been ill lately, is not to be seen.
Adverts, adverts. Juhi Chawla endorsing Danube Buildmart, Katrina Kaif selling Lux soap. It's going to be a long night.
And we're back.
Chunkey has a Wall of Shame, hung with framed film posters of him photo-bombing all the nominated actors in scenes from their films. My fav is the one in which he has outrun Milkha Singh (Farhan Akhtar) on the track. Farhan spots the pic, turns to Chunkey and remarks: "Haha! You look anxious because I'm about to overtake you."
Raj Kumar Yadav of Kai Po Che fame arrives sporting a big bushy moustache. Ugh!
Salman's dashing in a blue tux. He's going to perform later. He tells off Chunkey a couple of times but is the comedian chastened? Not Chunkey, no.
And the curtains go up! Drum roll ...
But where are the hosts, Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra?
Some teleportation nonsense involving Ranbir Kapoor arriving at the awards ceremony. Yup, here he is on stage, in a silly space suit and glasses. Ah! The theme of this awards show is 'the future'. Right, then. Now he's dancing to a song about Filmfare. Now neatly seguing into his Badtameez Dil song from Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Not so bad after all.
Is it just me or does he sound exactly like his dad? Shut your eyes and it could be Rishi Kapoor talking. No sign of Rishi or Neetu, surprisingly. Where are your parents, Ranbir?
Ha! Ranbir tells us he has arrived via teleportation from the future and claims the secret to his youthful looks is the Rekha Elixir - he has a bottle with a label showing Rekha's mug. She's in the audience and looks just like she did when she was 25. Except that she's 50 years old. Cue several close-ups while everyone squints hard, searching for signs of Botox.
And the first awards of the night (just the important ones, folks. There are hundreds).
Dolly Ahluwalia - Best Costume for Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.
Aarif Sheikh - Best Editing for D-Day.
And first performance of the night: Shahid Kapur in a red tux, hat and beard (what's with all the facial hair, guys? Not cool!). Brave man, taking the stage to songs from his latest film, Phata Poster Nikla Hero, which bombed at the box office.
Still no sign of Priyanka.
Tamil star Dhanush is in the audience, dapper in a well-cut suit but looking a little bemused and nodding absently - everyone's talking in rapid-fire Hindi. He's going to win Best Male Debut for Raanjhanaa. Yay!
Priyanka's on, finally: she's a 'giantess' - suspended from the roof in a neon-lit skirt that goes all the way to the ground - and dancing with creepy androids. Gaga-ish? No, this is Bollywood!
Salman is grooving in the audience. He seems to like Priyanka's frankly odd sequence. He's sporting what looks like a two-day stubble that's mostly grey but still manages to look extremely handsome.
Ranbir is flirting with Rekha. He's down on one knee; he's holding her hand now. He says he's nervous. What's he going to do? Oh dear, no, he's quoting one of those extremely romantic poems from Silsila - Main aur meri tanhayee. Remember Rekha-Amitabh-Jaya in that love triangle that was said to mirror their lives? Rekha has the grace to blush, and tells Ranbir she'll always love him. Amitabh is conspicuously absent.
Bhaag Milkha Bhaag's Siddharth Mahadevan gets the RD Burman award for up and coming music talent. He belts out Zinda for the audience. Wow! Chip off the old block - Shankar Mahadevan (of the music directors trio Shankar Ehsaan Loy) is his dad.
Ranbir keeps taking digs at Priyanka and her new singing career. Choprano, he calls her, right to her face. Bet he didn't think much of that single.
Arijit Singh - Best Playback Singer Male for Tum Hi Ho, Aashiqui 2. Ho hum. Our choice was Amit Trivedi for Maanja, Kai Po Che.
Ankit Tiwary - Best Music Director for Aashiqui 2. Trivia alert: Did you know Aashiqui, starring Rahul Roy and Anu Agarwal, came out 24 years ago? Google it.
Madhuri Dixit Nene in a gold and wine-red anarkali - hers is a mujra-style performance with shimmering lanterns and lasers, to a remix featuring O Re Piya, Ghagra and Kajra Re. And Maar Daala. Mouths agape in the audience. People are wolf whistling. And to think she last ruled the silver screen 20 years ago.
KJo remembers the late Farooq Sheikh and Suchitra Sen in a moving tribute. Also, Jiah Khan, Pran, Manna Dey, Rituparno Ghosh, Sophiya Haque, Sudhakhar Bhokade. RIP.
Then he announces the Lifetime Achievement Award - it's for Tanuja - and flubs his line - over and over and over. Threatens to slap Kajol (who is Tanuja's daughter) because she laughs at him. Then flubs it again. This is going to take a while.
Farhan Akhtar, ever the improv guy, jumps on to the stage, delivers the line, claps for himself and exits to deafening applause.
But here's Amitabh to present the award to Tanuja, who was his first leading lady. Touching speech. Standing ovation as she makes her way to the stage. Kajol, in splits two minutes ago, is now in tears. Ooh, I'm clapping, too!
Ranveer Singh up next: he goes Rajasthani for his dance sequence. He seems to have borrowed Chunkey's red shades. They definitely looked better on Chunkey. Ranveer's promoting world peace, apparently, and even gets Gabbar Singh to give Thakur his arms back. For those not in the know, watch Sholay. Or Sholay 3-D.
Ranveer is excellent. Not my favourite, but that may change.
Coming up next: Salman, Katrina, impassioned speeches. And Ranbir being cheeky and irresistible. Stay tuned.
And here is Ranbir in an outfit reminiscent of Amitabh in Yaarana's Saara Zamaana. Remember those flashing lights along his sleeves and trousers?
Nawazuddin Siddiqui - Best Actor in a Supporting Role for The Lunchbox. Haven't watched the film yet? What are you waiting for?
More than anyone else in the audience, Farhan Akhtar is loving Ranbir's spoofs on the nominated films. The best is the one on Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, with Ranbir as the Pakistani General who commends Milkha on his win. Farhan's laughing so much he's rolling about, eyes shut, holding his sides. So am I. Priceless.
Shah Rukh Khan is not here to accept the Trendsetter of the Year award - created especially for Chennai Express. Deepika accepts it on behalf of the entire team, but the applause is lacklustre. Everyone wants SRK, but he did get injured in an accident while on set last week. Give the man a break.
And the moment everyone's been waiting for: Katrina Kaif - the Dhoom 3 girl in a futuristic-style (what else?) song with line dancers all sporting digital masks - of her face. Now they're all in green masks and outlandish eye make-up. What on Earth? Where's Aamir Khan when you need him? Oh, wait, he doesn't attend awards ceremonies 'cos they're rigged'. Yeah, that'll teach us all. Take that, Shah Rukh, you big getter of awards.
Karisma Kapoor arrives on stage to present an award and she's looking suspiciously Botoxed.
Shilpa Shukla - Best Actor Female, Critics Award, for BA Pass. (She was the feisty, troublemaking hockey player in the film Chak De India, remember?).
Raj Kumar Yadav (he of the new moustache) - Best Actor Male, Critics Award, Kai Po Che.
Best Film, Critics Award - The Lunchbox. No sign of Irrfan Khan anywhere. He's probably at some international film festival. He was in the capital for the last Abu Dhabi Film Festival and the women were swooning, so I have heard.
Yes, yes, we know who all the winners are already but it's nice to watch good actors being rewarded and getting all teary-eyed in the process.
Dhanush on receiving the Best Male Debut award: "I've done 25 films and this is my first debut award." He is calm and measured, and as always, a little shy. We adore him. Ranbir persuades him to sing Kolaveri D, the song that propelled him to national fame. Dhanush says it's boring - but Ranbir won't let him off the hook.
Joke of the evening: Priyanka places a call to Aamir (fake, obviously) and asks him why he doesn't go to awards events. Fake Aamir: 'I'm right outside the gates! The guard won't let me in because I never attend these things and he doesn't believe it's me!'
And finally, Sallu is on stage. He's in a sky blue suit and girls in pink floaty dresses are swirling around him. He's starts with some dialogue-baazi, then the music changes to Aankhon ki Gustakhiyan. A bit cheesy but then it's Salman Khan. Now a new costume (all black) and abrupt mood change. The Bodyguard song and he's prancing all over the stage. Lots of screaming from the women. Like, LOTS.
Dabangg songs now - the crowd is frantic. Seamlessly merges into tracks from Jai Ho - the stage is blazing with lights.
Yup, this is how we know we're nearing the end of the show: the biggest star comes on last. The music cannot be heard for the noise the crowd is making.
Coming up next: the final four: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Actor.
Best Film: Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Man, that song Zinda really is something; every time it's played, I get goosebumps.
Best Director: Raakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Preity Zinta and Subhash Ghai present it. Farhan's face is a mask - how tense he must be about the Best Actor award!
Best Actress: Deepika Padukone for Ramleela; it's presented by Rekha. Deepika touches Rekha's feet. She's in tears. She thanks her fans and actually calls one of them up on stage. KJo doesn't let her get away without asking her who her inspiration was - "Was it Ram?" he says with a grin, hinting at her relationship with her co-star Ranveer Singh. This isn't Koffee With Karan, KJo.
Did Deepika deserve to win, you think? The debate rages.
Best Actor: Farhan Akhtar, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Shahid Kapur is given the honour of announcing what has traditionally been the ceremony's biggest gong. Farhan's overwhelmed, but keeps his speech short, and, true to his style, witty.
Who else could Best Actor have gone to? Shah Rukh Khan for Chennai Express? Come on, this may be Bollywood, but times, they're a-changing.