Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chak De! India the big winner at IIFA awards

The Indian International Film Academy handed out its annual awards in Bangkok on Sunday night in a star-studded, glamour-heavy spectacle that was broadcast to as many as 600 million television viewers. Like any Bollywood movie, it went on and on. Between the envelope openings were lavish song-and-dance numbers involving elephants, a parade of motorbikes, pyrotechnics and wirework. After five hours, the show wrapped up early Monday morning.

The top film was Chak De! India (Go For It, India!), a sports drama in which Sha Rukh Kahn portrays a disgraced coach who later managed the Indian women's national field hockey team to a World Cup victory.

Chak De! also won for best director (Shimit Amin), best actor for Shak Rukh Khan and best script for Jaideep Sahni.

Here's the other awards:

  • Best Performance in a Leading Role (Female): Kareena Kapoor (Jab We Met)
  • Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Male): Irrfan Khan (Life In A... Metro)
  • Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Female): Konkona Sen Sharma (Life In A... Metro)
  • Best Performance in a Comic Role: Govinda (Partner)
  • Best Performance in a Negative Role: Viveik Oberoi (Shootout At Lokhandwala)
  • Best Music Direction: A. R. Rahman (Guru)
  • Best Lyrics: Javed Akhtar ("Main Agar Kahoon", Om Shanti Om)
  • Best Playback Singer (Male): Shaan ("Jabse Tere Naina", Saawariya)
  • Best Playback Singer (Female): Shreya Ghoshal (Guru)
  • Achievement in Indian Cinema: Mumtaz
  • Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema: Shyam Benegal
  • Outstanding Contribution by an Indian in International Cinema: A. R. Rahman

Shah Rukh Khan was not present for the ceremony, though he came away the big winner.

"It's not about competition, it is about fraternity," Abhishek Bachchan, a contender for leading actor, was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. His father, Amitabh Bachchan, is the IIFA's brand ambassador.

A story by Agence France-Presse reads like a write-up of a fashion show.

Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, who dazzled fans in a full-length, strapless red satin fishtail gown, and her husband Abhishek Bachchan lost out for their lead roles in Guru -- the rags-to-riches story of an Indian business tycoon.

But another hot celebrity couple, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, received nods as the best new actors for their respective parts in Saawariya and Om Shanti Om.

Padukone's film Om Shanti Om, about an intrigue that carries over into a reincarnated life, swept most of the technical awards earlier in the show.

"This is an awards function that I have been watching on television with my parents. It's big to be here and be part of it," Padukone said.

Show-stopping dance numbers punctuated the ceremony, all promoting upcoming films that eschew the traditional song-and-dance format.

Dia Mirza donned a black halter top for a racy performance to promote her upcoming action thriller Acid Factory, only to be hit by a technical glitch that cut out the music and forced her to start again.

The stars of thriller Mission Istaanbul, about a terrorist plot centring on a Turkish TV station, shined in silver with Shriya Saran in a glitter top and a hip hop-styled Vivek Oberoi in a white plastic jacket and black trilby.

Wearing a tiger coat, Akshay Kumar flew on to the stage from the back of the hall on a skateboard, gliding along a wire, while turbaned dancers walked down the isles singing.

Kumar, who received a special achievement award, told the audience that he had once waited tables in the host city Bangkok before setting out to become a movie star.

"I was just a young man when my adventure began here. I was naive, restless and eager to please. This city embraced me with such love and kindness," he said.

I'm still more than mystified about the purpose and reason for the IIFA awards. If anyone wasn't anywhere near Siam Paragon this weekend, would they know the IIFA was going on? Other than brief blurbs on the nightly local television news, probably not. AFP has a bit more:

While all eyes are on the winners, the awards include a major dose of global marketing designed to raise the profile of new Indian films, especially in markets like Thailand, where Bollywood remains a novelty.

However, not many Thais actually saw the show, which was broadcast by satellite but not carried on local television.

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