The drama and the dazzling dances aren’t limited to Bollywood musicals or so proved the 20th edition of the International Indian Film Academy Awards (Iifa) 2019 that was held in Mumbai for the first time in awards history.
Dubbed as the Bollywood Oscars, the annual travelling awards show held at the Dome on September 18 did throw many surprises.
Although Ayushmann Khurrana’s cerebral murder mystery ‘AndhaDhun’ was heavily nominated at the 20th edition of International Indian Film Academy Awards (Iifa 2019) with 13 nods, Alia Bhatt and Vicky Kaushal’s spy thriller ‘Raazi’ and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s sweeping epic ‘Padmaavat’ won major awards.
While ‘AndhaDhun’ won the Best Director award for Bollywood’s maverick talent Sriram Raghavan, along with the Best Story trophy, ‘Raazi’ ensured that Alia Bhatt got the Best Actress award, while the film won Best Picture and Best Singer Male and Female.
The night also belonged to Ranveer Singh who won the Best Actor his evil emperor role of Alauddin Khilji in period epic ‘Padmaavat’. Aditi Rao Hydari won the Best Supporting Role award for the same film. While the majority of stars who attended the awards night walked home with some trophy or the other, the night wasn’t devoid of fun, glamour and drama.
Gulf News tabloid! was in Mumbai to document all that action in the five-hour plus ceremony. Here are our top highlights from Iifa 2019:
MOST ENDEARING WINNER OF IIFA 2019 GOES TO RANVEER SINGH:
Ranveer Singh may have won the Best Actor award for his barbaric emperor act in ‘Padmaavat’, but if we had a choice we would have thrown in The Best Husband award to this outlandish actor of our generation.
“You inspire me everyday baby… My wife is sitting in the front row looking proud of me, baby you are looking fine. What more could I ask for? What more can I ask the forces above?” said Singh looking straight at his wife Padukone seated in the front row. She blew him a kiss in return.
A few minutes before he was announced winner, he was seen holding his wife’s hands in solidarity. While they gave us couple goals, his acceptance speech was equally touching.
“It’s a miracle that I get to do what I absolutely love doing. I am grateful for that every single day. That’s enough for me. This recognition is truly overwhelming. I want to dedicate this award to the team of ‘Padmaavat’ and to Sanjay [director Sanjay Leela Bhansali] for shaping and moulding me into the actor I am,” said Singh.
But before he accepted the award, Singh even went up to Khurrana, the host of the night, and called him the ultimate “man of the moment”.
“You are like the gift that keeps on giving. To be nominated alongside you is a true honour. The man of the moment for me is Ayushmann Khurrana. A round of applause for him ladies and gentleman,” said Singh, before he ran up to director Kabir Khan to accept his trophy.
SALMAN KHAN’S DIG AT RANVEER SINGH’S OUTLANDISH CLOTHES:
“Have you worn Deepika’s gown?,” asked Salman Khan slyly as he laughed aloud at Singh’s Moschino grey blazer and pants, with red silk train detailing.
“Yes, we are recycling these days,” said Singh, matching him in his wry sarcasm. He even wore boots and a walking stick for effect.
Despite Khan’s sly digs at his outlandish choice of clothes, Singh remained unfazed. There was another moment of awkwardness between the two actors. Singh was on call to promote a car company that Khan had endorsed earlier.
“Don’t get too excited about talking them up. Remember I was their brand ambassador and they chose you after dropping me. Then you won’t feel very good,” said Khan in Hindi.
SALMAN KHAN HAS SWAGGER, BUT HE’S A QUESTIONABLE SINGER:
The Iifa presentation ceremony that went on past 3am after its 10.15pm start in Mumbai was a bloated affair. But what kept us invested were the electrifying performances on stage by Bollywood’s top talents. Saving the top act for the last, it was Khan who called it a night.
“Guys, it’s past 3am! Go home,” he told screaming fans after he regaled them with his laid-back style of dancing.
“Every actor has exhausted every dramatic entry… Some came down from a swing [Katrina Kaif], other sprouted from below… And I have just realised that I have legs and I can just walk up to the stage without any props… I have been here almost 10 years, what’s left? I have tried everything,” said Khan, who looked visibly-jaded.
While he has a commanding charisma, the same couldn’t be said for his singing skills. His song was at best serviceable and if we are nit-picking, it was pretty terrible to hear him sing. But he made it up with his energetic dance steps that included multiple hip gyrations. Any other actor would have looked awkward doing those signature Khan moves, but trust him to carry it off.
THE SIBLING CONNECTION:
It was an emotionally-charged moment for Shahid Kapoor and his half brother Ishaan Khatter, who took home the Best Debutante (male) trophy at the Iifa 2019. (The female award went to Sara Ali Khan).
“Fifteen years ago, my brother won his first Iifa award. Here I am today receiving this award from his hands. It’s truly special. I have always looked up to you bhai [brother] and I don’t think I can ever give back the love you give me, but I hope I can make you smile the way you are smiling now,” said Khatter looking adoringly at his sibling.
But he didn’t stop there. He made Kapoor and the hosts of the evening, the Khurrana brothers [Aparshakti Khurrana and Ayushmann], dance to his hit song ‘Zingaat’ from ‘Dhadak’ was pure gold. These two sibling pairs were perfectly coordinated and busted some serious Bollywood moves.
DEEPIKA PADUKONE’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH FOR A BIZZARE AWARDS CATEGORY:
Deepika Padukone, who was nominated for the Best Actress for her warrior princess role in ‘Padmaavat,’ looked a tad surprised when she was given the Best Actress in 20 Years award.
“Wow. Twenty years ago I was in school and I was 13 years old. Back then, being an actress was just a dream and to be standing here today on this illustrious stage after having worked in films like ‘Piku’ and ‘Chennai Express’ is that dream being realised. I have learnt self-confidence over the years and I can tell you with confidence that I will entertain you for the next 20 years with great films,” said Padukone, holding the trophy.
While we love Padukone’s acting skills, this trophy almost seemed like a consolation prize for attending the show. Bollywood award nights are notorious for handing out trophies to stars who deign to attend these five-hour-long award ceremonies and their meritocracy is always questioned. This award doesn’t help to convert the cynic in us either.
Ranbir Kapoor, who won the male equivalent of the same award, did not turn up to collect his. Enough said.
MADHURI DIXIT NENE SHOWS US HOW IT’S DONE:
There were half a dozen actors including Katrina Kaif, Sara Ali Khan and Vicky Kaushal who hit the stage with dazzling costumes and perfectly synchronised Bollywood moves, but it was Madhuri Dixit Nene’s ode to Bollywood choreographer Saroj Khan that reeled us in.
Her facial expressions along with her graceful moves, proved that you don’t need violent, sexually-charged dance steps and a scantily clad backup dancer to put together a riveting performance. Take a bow, the original dancer of Bollywood. She also chose two of late Sridevi’s hit songs, including ‘Kate Nahi Kat Te’, and was simply magnificent on stage.
REKHA’S RANBIR KAPOOR ODE:
Trust Rekha to give an amazing ode to actor Ranbir Kapoor who was honoured with the Best Actor in Twenty Years trophy. Before handing over the award she said: “Never in a million years will there be a man, son, colleague, brother, friend, co-star like him.” But Kapoor wasn’t there and when Alia Bhatt came up on stage: “Oops, I forgot to add, lover,” said Rekha.
Bhatt was blushing furiously, while Rekha couldn’t backtrack from an obvious faux pas. Judging by the cat whistles from the audience, Ranbir Kapoor and Bhatt’s budding romance is the worst kept secret in Bollywood today.