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Wed, Jun 13, 2012
The New Paper
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Girl power rules
by Veena Bharwani

Women ruled at this year's International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, which were held on Saturday night at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and lasted into the early hours of Sunday.

The best actress award went to Vidya Balan(above, right), 34, for her stupendous performance in The Dirty Picture.

Balan, who played soft-porn actress Silk Smitha in the show, spoke in a shaky voice of her triumph at the post-show press conference: "Seven years ago, I made my debut in Parineeta and it has been a beautiful journey so far.

"And to be getting this award exactly seven years from that day, on June 10, 2012, is beautiful." Priyanka Chopra's 24-year-old cousin Parineeti Chopra (above, left) was a double winner - best female debut and best supporting actress for Ladies Vs Ricky Bahl.

But most impressively, 39-year-old Zoya Akhtar bagged the best director award for Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, joining the ranks of other esteemed female film- makers like Farah Khan, who have managed to pave their own way in a male-dominated industry.

When asked over the weekend how it feels being the rose among the thorns, she said cheekily: "I feel pretty."

Akhtar's sophomore movie also won awards such as best picture, best story and best supporting actor, which went to her brother, Farhan Akhtar.

Besides a moving homage to veteran actress-dancer Zohra Segal, 100, for her outstanding contributions to the industry, sexy Bollywood babe Priyanka Chopra, 30, and Bengali bombshell Bipasha Basu, 33, set the stage on fire with their electrifying dance performances.

Basu wowed audiences with her moves to her own song Bipasha Basu from the movie Jodi Breakers, albeit being slightly off-beat.

Chopra delivered an emotional tribute to 57-year-old veteran actress Rekha - starting off with a twist to the classic song In Aakhon Ki Masti from the movie Umrao Jaan and continuing with a dance to Salaam-e-ishq Meri Jaan.

But Chopra took the performance to a whole other level when she reprised the role of legendary actor Dharmendra in the song Rafta Rafta and was joined by Rekha herself, who received the special honour for outstanding achievement in Indian cinema.

Girl power may have taken centre stage during the four-hour ceremony, but the men did not do too shabbily either.

The IIFA Awards also celebrated rising male stars in the absence of the usual mega-Khans - Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman, much to the disappointment of the 7000-strong crowd.

Shahid Kapoor, 31; Ranbir Kapoor, 29; Farhan Akhtar, 38, and other "youngsters" of Bollywood did a remarkable job keeping fans at the edge of their seats throughout the night.

Shahid shouldered perhaps the most responsibility, especially for an actor who was a virtual unknown at the last IIFA Awards held in Singapore in 2004.


At the press conference for his upcoming movie, Teri Meri Kahaani, on Saturday afternoon, he confessed that he was nervous about the show.

He said: "I'm dancing and hosting, and I'm a little stressed."

But Shahid obviously performed under pressure, judging from his spectacularly funny take on Sikh fertility doctor Dr Chadha from the hit movie about sperm donation, Vicky Donor.

He went up to his peers in the audience armed with plastic cups, asking them to donate their sperm, much to the delight - and embarrassment - of his seniors.

He gave the biggest jar to comic actor Boman Irani, who responded spontaneously in Hindi: "Do you need this filled by today?"

Besides bagging the best actor award for his role in Rockstar, Ranbir - the biggest piece of male eye candy - also took to the stage with his father Rishi Kapoor and danced to the latter's hits, as well as his own hit Saada Haq from Rockstar.

While he hails from the Kapoor dynasty of actors, Ranbir told The New Paper that he does not feel any pressure as Rishi Kapoor's son.

"I'm working hard and I just want to make them proud with my own performances.

"I feel a sense of responsibility that I have a legacy to carry on and I hope my children and grandchildren can carry them on too," he said.

But it was not all smiles at the IIFA Awards.

While the stars shimmered down the green carpet before the show, some made their annoyance clear when the media irritated them.

The beautiful Preity Zinta, 37, who sizzled in a pink dress, refused to answer journalists who merely wanted her to give meaningless sound bytes.

When two Singapore broadcast journalists asked her to say, 'Hi, this is Preity Zinta and you are listening to ...', she waved her hand in annoyance and walked away.

With tongue firmly in cheek, Shahid and Farhan also mocked them by asking stupid and unrelated questions of Zoya, Balan and Ranbir when they received their trophies.

Farhan cheekily shoved the mic into Ranbir's face and wanted his thoughts on the rising price of oil.

He asked in Hindi: "What is your opinion on the matter now that you are the best actor?"


This article was first published in The New Paper.

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