TORONTO: Screen tough guy Salman Khan’s corrupt cop romp “Dabangg” (Fearless) won a clutch of awards including best picture at the “Bollywood Oscars,” held late Saturday for the first time in North America.
The film directed by Abhinav Kashyap won in the hugely important music categories for best female playback singer, best male playback singer and best music direction, as well as best screenplay.
Actor Sonu Sood also picked up the award for best performance in a negative role as the evil head of a regional political party in the film. He thanked his mother when accepting the award.
“My Name is Khan” followed with four nods for best story, best lyrics, best director for Karan Johar and best actor for Shahrukh Khan’s portrayal of a Muslim suffering from Asperger’s syndrome who is detained at a US airport after his disability is mistaken for suspicious behaviour.
The making of the film was “emotional and therapeutic,” Johar said after the win, adding it taught him “restraint and love.” Tens of thousands of fans swarmed Toronto’s Rogers’ Centre stadium for the 12th annual Indian International Film Academy awards, and another 700 million were expected to have watched it on television.
Shahrukh Khan, Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and the Deol family were among the dozens of Bollywood superstars in attendance, along with Oscar-winners Hilary Swank and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Salman Khan, however, could not make it to Toronto as he was reportedly shooting his next film “Bodyguard,” a romantic action movie with Kareena Kapoor.
“I love you so much,” screamed Mamta Sharma over and over, after winning the award for best female playback singer for the song “Munni Badnam.”
A tense moment followed when a fan grabbed Shahrukh Khan onstage, leading the “King of Bollywood” to complain that the man was hurting his leg. “This is the problem, only men grab my thighs,” Khan joked as his assailant was escorted off stage.
Khan’s return to the awards show after a six-year absence had earlier been put in doubt by a knee injury that had required being taped up at a hospital and “a couple of injections.” He said he had fractured a part of the bone and the ligament was “swollen to three times the size it should be.”
He had vowed to perform at the IIFA show but in the end his dance steps were tremendously scaled back, and he urged the audience to fill in the rest by dancing in the aisles.
Khan last attended the IIFA in Amsterdam in 2005, and last performed at the show a year earlier in Singapore.
A three-day festival leading up to awards night saw flash mobs of Indian dancers, gala movie premieres, a fashion show and Indian cultural events.
Jermaine Jackson also performed his late brother Michael’s hits with Indian pop singer Sonu Nigam at an IIFA concert on Friday to commemorate the second anniversary of Michael’s death.
Launched in 2000 at the Millennium Dome in London, the annual IIFA awards have been held in 11 cities around the world, including Colombo, Macao, Bangkok, Dubai, Amsterdam and Johannesburg.
It is designed to celebrate the popular Hindi-language film industry and win new audiences abroad. The award for best dialogue went to the thriller “Ishqiya” (Love).
Anushka Sharma won for best leading female role for the romantic comedy “Band Baaja Baaraat” (The Wedding Planners), which marked the directing debut of Maneesh Sharma.
Arjun Rampal and Prachi Desai won awards for best supporting roles in the thriller “Raajneeti” (Politics) and the gangster movie “Once Upon A Time In Mumbai,” respectively.
Ritesh Deshmukh, who co-hosted the Indian film industry’s glitziest awards show with Boman Irani, won best performance in a comic role in the Tamil film remake “Housefull.”
“Who said award shows are not fixed?” he quipped. “If you host the awards show for four years, they give you an award.”
The nominations came from more than 1,500 votes from the Indian film fraternity.