It was a starry starry night at the Cotai Arena in Venetian Macau on July 6, 2013. After their successful stint in 2009, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) returned this year with even more elan and edutainment. The IIFA fever was felt throughout the weekend even across the neighbouring hotels, as fans flocked in numbers just to get a glimpse of their favourite stars. The celebrities too reciprocated the excitement and appreciation by enthralling their audiences with workshops, press conferences, and of course, their stellar performances at the award show.
Following the inaugural media conference to welcome all parties, Anupam Kher kick-started the event with an acting workshop. To learn from the man who is the chairman of one of India’s leading acting schools, Actor Prepares, and has personally garnered countless awards over his thirty years career encompassing Hollywood and Bollywood and beyond is by itself a huge privilege. Undoubtedly, all attendees were left inspired, informed and encouraged about the nuances of acting. In a similar fashion, Sonu Nigam, one of Bollywood’s most popular singers, hosted a music workshop the next day. Therein, Nigam improvised and tuned a composition together with his participants. Both workshops were a thorough success, as they gave the aspiring attendees a glimpse into the tremendous effort and practice needed to become a star.
One was then fortunate to interact with an even bigger star who is precisely admired for her dedication, talent and passion, along with of course, her evergreen beauty. Unlike her contemporaries, Madhuri Dixit Nene honoured her commitment as she took out the time to partake in the press conference held to introduce her upcoming film, Gulab Gang. Along with her director and co-producers, which included Anubav Sinha (director of Ra. One), she patiently addressed the media and fans alike, visibly confident and unperturbed about the film’s lack of ‘male masala’. When asked for the umpteenth time about her thoughts on being one of the country’s most inspirational and popular stars, she modestly echoed “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Thus came the time of the much-awaited Awards show, preceded by the celebrity parade on the ‘environmentally friendly’ green carpet. While the celebrities started walking on the carpet in the late evening, many of their fans had gathered hours earlier. The fans were understandably irked, though, when most of the popular celebrities arrived last and many of the big stars didn’t even walk through. Most of the actors that walked the carpet were the reported participants of the previous night’s fashion show, IIFA Rocks. It was later reasoned that the missing A-listed celebs were busy backstage, engaged in last-minute preparations for their performances at the Award show. You can see some of the pictures from the green carpet here.
The Awards ceremony was indeed a grand affair and worthy of all the frenzy and hype; the setting of the stage was just as aesthetically beautiful as it was professionally functional. Anchors Shahrukh Khan and Shahid Kapoor tried to infuse life into proceedings, albeit with reasonable success, as they led their audiences through the scheduled sequence of events. Amongst the newcomers, the romantic duet performed by Ayushmann Khurana and Parineeti Chopra was indeed the pick of the lot as they reminded everyone just why they are the best of their batch. Deepika Padukone‘s batameez performance provided the much needed impetus after an unexpected lull, as the interest levels then gathered more steam throughout Sridevi’s dancing duel with Prabhudeva, only to crescendo in Madhuri’s classy dance celebration.
In terms of award results, there weren’t too many surprises when compared to the results from other award ceremonies. Barring Yami Gautam, who surprisingly beat out Ileana D’Cruz to be awarded the best debut actress, most of the winners even made it apparent that their IIFA Award wasn’t the first prize they were winning this year. Special recognition awards were also given to yesteryear’s Yash Chopra along with Javed Akthar, Shabana Azmi, Anupam Kher and Shahrukh Khan for their outstanding contributions to Indian cinema.
For a city usually starved of live Bollywood interaction, the attending fans must have really thanked their stars, as they revelled in every event and made an eternal memory of each moment. To organize such an extravagant affair is indeed an achievement to be appreciated, and the crew behind such efforts were the true stars. Sure, one always wished to see more of those celebs who were on the absentee list, but this only gives more hope to the possibility of yet another amazing award show being hosted in Macau soon.