x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Explosion of awards for Dabangg at IIFAs in Toronto

Dabangg took 10 big prizes at the International Indian Film Academy awards in Toronto at the weekend, including Best Film.

The Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, left. with Hillary Swank and Anil Kapoor after winning the Best Actor trophy for his role in My Name Is Khan at the IIFA awards on Saturday.
The Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan, left. with Hillary Swank and Anil Kapoor after winning the Best Actor trophy for his role in My Name Is Khan at the IIFA awards on Saturday.

The big winner at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, which took place on Saturday night in Toronto, was Dabangg. Among its haul of 10 prizes, the action film picked up Best Film as well as three out of the four big music awards. The other big winners on the night were My Name Is Khan and Baad Baaja Baarat.

Dabangg is the directorial debut of Abhinav Kashyap and stars Salman Khan as a corrupt police officer who has family problems, girl problems and work problems. It’s a traditional Bollywood masala film, packed with clichés, yet it does them expertly with a great lead performance from Khan and an excellent soundtrack. It’s Bollywood kitsch at its best and works superbly as entertainment.

The film was a box-office sensation when it was released in September last year. It set opening day and first-weekend box-office records, overtaking last year’s big award-winner, 3 Idiots. It is the second highest-grossing Indian film yet.

Going into the main awards show, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai led the way with 12 nominations, while Dabangg followed closely behind with 11. But it was Dabangg that converted nominations into wins. A sequel is scheduled for release next year.

It was the first time that the awards, which take place in a different city each year, have been held in North America and tickets to the main Toronto ceremony held at the Rogers Centre on Saturday night were exchanging hands for C$800 (Dh2,973) at the 22,000-seat venue. The show had sold out in 10 minutes.

Hollywood stars who joined the slew of Bollywood glitterati walking down the green carpet included Cuba Gooding Jr and Hilary Swank, wearing a red ball gown, who alongside Anil Kapoor presented the award for Best Performance in a Leading Male Role.

If there was one big shock on the night it was that Salman Khan did not win the Best Actor prize for his charismatic turn in Dabangg. The main acting prize went to the Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan for his performance in My Name Is Khan. Always the consummate professional, Khan, who himself presented some awards, played to the crowd by declaring, “I am a Torontonian” as he picked up his award. It was the first time in a number of years that the biggest name in Indian cinema had attended the ceremony and the star also did a song and dance number during the show despite a knee injury.

In My Name Is Khan Shah Rukh Khan plays a man suffering from Asperger’s syndrome whose life in America is turned upside down by the hostile atmosphere following the events of September 11, 2001.

The Best Actress award went to Anushka Sharma, who appeared in another big winner of the night, Band Baaja Baaraat. In the love story Sharma plays a wedding planner looking for her own Mr Right. On Friday night, Sharma had hosted the IIFA Rocks concert with Karan Johar, who picked up the Best Director award for My Name Is Khan at the official ceremony.

The other acting awards saw Prachi Desai win Best Supporting Actress for her turn in Once Upon a Time in Mumbai, Arjun Rampal won Best Supporting Actor for Raajneeti, Ritesh Deshmukh won the Best Actor in a Comic Role for Housefull, Baad Baajar Baarat’s Ranvir Singh won the award for a male debut, while debut female went to Dabaang’s Sonakshi Sinha; in yet another award for Dabaang, Sonu Sood won for Best Performance in a Negative Role, a category that is unique to the IIFAs.

The awards were given out in two shows during the three-day celebration of Indian cinema in Canada. Most of the technical music awards were presented during the IIFA Rocks show and saw Dabaang and Baad Baaja Baarat share three prizes. IIFA Rocks, showcasing fashion and song, was memorable for a tribute by Jermaine Jackson to his late brother Michael, which saw the former member of the Jackson 5 sing Can You Feel It, Scream, and Wanna be Startin’ Something. Joining Jackson was Sonu Nigam, who performed Thank You For the Legacy, a song dedicated to Michael Jackson.

The 12th annual IIFAs started 90 minutes late after the marathon green-carpet (the organisers eschewed the more traditional red) stroll by Bollywood stars. The final award for best film was handed out at 2am. Special lifetime achievement awards went to the actor Dharmendra and the singer Asha Bhosle. The actress Sharmilla Tagore was handed an Outstanding Achievement award in recognition of 40 years’ service to the industry. And, partly explaining why the awards ceremony took so long, in yet another gong Irfhan Khan was awarded a prize for Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema.

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