The South Indian International Movie Awards returned to Dubai for its fourth edition on Thursday and Friday, bringing together many of the biggest names in the South Indian film industry. The two-day event, celebrating the best of the Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam film industries, was packed with performances by South Indian stars, which recognised the best films and performances from the past year, along with special honours for lifetime contributions and a few special awards.
The highlight of the first day was an electrifying performance by singer Usha Uthup, who celebrated 35 years in the industry with a medley of her most famous songs.
Extremely emotional after the performance, she delivered a short speech about her experiences in the industry, after which she was joined on stage by several actors, including Best Actor Telegu nominee Balakrishna, who hugged and congratulated her.
A touching tribute was paid to the legendary Daggubati Ramanaidu, an acclaimed film producer who died in February. He holds the Guinness world record for most films produced by an individual (150 films in 13 languages). His son Venkatesh, and grandson, Rana Daggubati, were at the ceremony, and were moved by the tribute.
The opening-day mood was lightened by scintillating performances by Shriya Saran, Pooja Hegde, Adah Sharma, Nikki Galrani and Pranitha Subhas, who sizzled on the stage in a black leather jacket and hot pants. On the second day, Shruthi Haasan stole the show with a sizzling performance to a medley of songs.
The biggest single winner was the Kannada film Mr And Mrs Ramachari, which bagged 10 awards: Best Film, Best Director (Santhosh Ananddram), Best Actor Male (Yash), Best Actor Female (Radhika Pandit), Best Cinematography (Vaidhy S), Best Music Director (V Harikrishna), Best Stunt Choreography (K Ravi Varma), Best Lyrics (Ghous Peer - Karmoda Saridhu), Best Singer (Rajesh Krishnan) and Best Supporting Actor (Achyuth Kumar).
In the Tamil categories, Kaththi stole the show, winning Best Film, Best Music Director (Anirudh Ravichander) and Best Villain (Neil Nitin Mukesh). Ranjith was named Best Director for Madras, and Hansika Motwani walked away with Best Actress for Aranmai.
Fan-favourite Dhanush, who has won several Siima awards in the past, won Best Actor male, along a special award as Pride of South Indian Cinema.
Other special awards were given to Amala Paul (Critics Best Actress), Allu Arjun (Stylish Youth Icon of South India), and Bharathiraja (Lifetime Achievement).
In the Telugu section, the Best Actor Male award was taken by Balakrishna, and Best Actor Female by Shruti Haasan, both for the film Legend. A surprise result in the Best Singer Female category saw Neha Bhasin win for the song Aww Thujo Mogh Korta from the film 1 Nenokkadine. She won despite a double nomination for playback powerhouse Shreya Ghoshal. 1 Nenokkadine also won Best Stunt Choreography by Peter Hein. This was one of two Telegu victories by Tamil stars, the other being Best Music Director, which went to S S Thaman for Race Gurram.
In the Malayalam section, Bangalore Days was named Best Film, while Anjali Menon won Best Director for the film. Nivin Pauly won Best Actor for his role in 1983, while Manju Warrier won Best Actress for How Old are You. For more winners, check www.thenational.ae.
The red carpet
The stars pulled out all the stops to look good on the red carpet. The most stunning look of the first evening was that of Amala Paul, a Best Actress nominee in the Tamil category. She shone with a traditional look, wearing a plain black sari and an embellished blouse, with a statement nose ring and a blue bindi.
British model-turned-actress Amy Jackson also showed up in a traditional outfit. Singer Neha Bhasin (nominated for the Best Singer Telegu) turned heads with her Lady Gaga-inspired look: blonde hair and a simple, form-fitting, strapless, black minidress. Actress Amyra Dastur looked resplendent in a long, yellow structured dress, despite a strange neckpiece. Fan favourite Shreya Saran (nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Telegu) was dressed in a long black-and-white gown, with a flowing train. Kriti Sanon’s black gown was also a winner.
Yash and Radhika Pandit, the stars of the film Mr. and Mrs. Ramchari (nominated for Best Film in Kannada), arrived at the event together.
A major fashion faux pas was committed by Shruti Haasan (nominated for Best Actress Telegu), who wore the same outfit as she did for the 2013 ceremony – a dress that had also been worn by Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt for a photo shoot.
Haasan, meanwhile, had a Komal Sood gown that has previously been worn by actress Deeksha Seth for the premier of her film Lekar hum Deewana Dil in 2014.
A disaster was averted by Lakshmi Manchu, who suffered a wardrobe malfunction just as she was about to leave her hotel for the awards venue. Actress Taapsee Pannu came to her aid, and Manchu ended up arriving at the red carpet wearing an outfit her saviour had been planning to wear the next day: a stunning Archana Rao pantsuit in maroon. Pannu was dressed in a one-shoulder nude gown.
Day two’s style winners included Pranitha Subhash, who wore a Schon by Sakshee Pradhan black ball gown, and Hansika who wore a shimmering, flowing black sleeveless gown.
Bhoomika turned up in a short black polka-dotted casual dress, which was quite surprising, given her outfit for the first day: a strapless dress with intricate detailing on the bust.
Malaika Arora Khan walked the carpet in a strapless white gown with a cape. Traditional looks were sported by Taapsee Pannu and Amala Paul, who wore a Shilpa Reddy and Manish Malhotra, respectively.
Shruti Haasan made up for her first day faux pas with a gorgeous Veda Raheja gown.