New Delhi: The 12th International Indian Film Academy Awards 2011 in Toronto on Sunday opened with a big 'Dabangg' with Salman Khan's tough cop romp scooping most of the awards, including best film and female debut for actor Sonakshi Sinha.
The event that packed three days of film, song and dance culminating in Saturday's awards ceremony, is often referred to as the Indian Oscars and brought together the entire galaxy of Bollywood stars in Toronto's Rogers Centre. The awards are expected to have a worldwide viewership of 700-million.
Best Direction went to director Karan Johar for 'My Name is Khan', a melodrama starring Shah Rukh Khan about Muslims facing backlash after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Khan also won Best Performance in a Leading Role (Male) for playing a man suffering from Asperger's Syndrome in 'My Name is Khan'.
Best Performance in a Leading Role (Female) went to actor Anushka Sharma for her performance as a feisty wedding planner in 'Band Baaja Baaraat'.
Arjun Rampal won Best supporting actor for political drama 'Rajneeti' while Prachi Desai won best supporting actress for 'Once upon a time in Mumbai.'
Actor Ranvir Singh won the award for best debut male award for his role in the romantic comedy 'Band Baaja Baaraat'.
'Dabangg' led the pack in the all-important music category, taking three of four major awards and winning for best Playback Singer Female, best Playback Singer Male and best Music Director.
The blockbuster film set box-office records in India and marked the comeback of actor Salman Khan in the quirky avatar of Inspector Chulbul Pandey, making him a household name in India.
Best Lyrics went to Niranjan Iyengar for ‘Sajda’ and ‘Noor-e-Khuda’ in the film ‘My Name is Khan’. MNIK also won the award for Best Story. The award for best dialogue went to the thriller 'Ishqiya'.
Earlier, Bollywood stars thrilled hundreds of fans on the green carpet before the awards show that raises the profile of Bollywood globally and could lead to exciting opportunities for film production abroad.
The awards gala was a grand music-and-dance spectacle, with hosts Boman Irani and Riteish Deshmukh doing comedy gags.
The entire stadium erupted with screams when Khan took to the stage to kid around with the hosts in a witty banter.
Awards in 15 categories are up for grabs, with the gangster film 'Once Upon a Time in Mumbai' leading the pack with an impressive 12 nominations. ‘Dabangg’ followed closely with 11 nominations.
"I certainly hope we'll sweep all the awards," said producer Arbaaz Khan. His wife, Mallika Arora Khan, already picked up the best choreography award for her gyrating dance number in the film.
Veteran actor Dharmendra was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his 50 years of acting in Bollywood.
"I know Punjabis from India and Punjabis from Pakistan, but both have found a new home in Canada," he said in Punjabi, referring to years of bitter feuding between India and Pakistan.
Sharmila Tagore, who has won several Indian National Film Awards, was also presented an award for outstanding achievement.
As per tradition, the show's first number was produced by the host country. The Ontario government's three-minute mix of video and live performance showcased the province's diversity with two Asian dragon dancers, bag pipers and South Asian costumes.
A high-energy dance number was performed by actress Kanagan Ranaut and a song-and-dance number by Bobby Deol, who arrived in a car that was driven onstage. He was later joined onstage by brother Sunny and their father Dharmendra.
The dance performances also included acts by Ranvir Singh and Sonakshi Sinha. Riteish Deshmukh won the award for best performance in a comic role for her part in ‘Housefull’, while Sonu Sood took the prize for Best Performance in a Negative Role for his work in ‘Dabangg’.
Mamta Sharma won the award for best female playback singer for her song ‘Munni Badnaam’ in ‘Dabanng’.
The award for best male playback singer went to Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for ‘Tere Mast Mast Do Nain’ from ‘Dabanng’.
For best music direction, the award went to Sajid-Wajid and Lalit Pandit for ‘Dabangg’. The award for best story went to Shibani Bathija for ‘My Name is Khan’. It was presented by Brett Lee, Fardeen Khan and Sajid Nadiadwala.
The award for best screenplay went to Abhinav Kahsyap and Dileep Shukla for ‘Dabangg’.
For the first time at the IIFA, Star Plus channel presented the Hottest Pair award to Anushka Sharma and Ranvir Singh for which 15 million votes were cast online. "Anushka, you make me feel hot," said Ranvir accepting the award in her company.
The first Green IIFA Award by Panasonic went to actress Priyanka Chopra.
Irrfan Khan, whom Anil Kapoor lauded for his performances on the global stage, received the IIFA award for his international performances.
The IIFA Rocks, a Bollywood-inspired concert and fashion show bonanza, paid a nostalgic tribute Saturday to late pop star Michael Jackson in a moving concert by Jermaine Jackson, elder brother of the King of Pop, to mark his second death anniversary. Singer and composer Sonu Nigam joined him in the performance.
IIFA Rocks started the awards portion of the weekend by giving away some technical film awards in between some high-energy musical performances by Mallika Sherawat who danced to 'Arabian Nights'.
Namrata Rao won the IIFA award for editing, Naharika Khan for costume and Vijay Dayal for best song 'Ainvayi ainvayi' in 'Band Baaja Baaraat'.
Pritam Das for best sound recording in 'Love, Sex aur Dhokha', Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy for background score in 'My Name in Khan', Leslie Fernandes for re-recording in 'Dabanng', and Sudeep Chatterjee for cinematography in 'Guzaarish'. Sabu Cyril won the award for art direction in 'Robot', which also won the IIFA awards for special effects and make-up.
The IIFA provides the climax for three days of moviegoing, dancing, fashion, music and a business forum aimed at strengthening ties between India and Canada -- something event organizers hope to do around the world, too.
Debuting in 2000 in London, the IIFA's have been held on four continents in cities including Dubai, Bangkok, Colombo, Singapore, Macau and Johannesburg but never in India.
Here are the winners in the main categories
Best Film: Dabangg
Best Direction: Karan Johar for My Name is Khan
Best Actor: Shah Rukh Khan for My Name is Khan
Best Actress: Anushka Sharma for Band Baaja Baaraat
Best Supporting Actor: Arjun Rampal for Rajneeti
Best Supporting Actress: Prachi Desai for Once upon a time in Mumbai
Outstanding achievement in international cinema: Irrfan khan
Best performance in a Negative role: Sonu sood for Dabangg
Best comic role: Riteish Deshmukh for Housefull
Best Debut (female): Sonakshi Sinha
Best Debut (male): Ranveer Singh
Green Globe Award: Priyanka Chopra
Hottest Pair: Anushka Sharma and Ranveer Singh
Outstanding achievement in Indian cinema: Sharmila Tagore and Dharmendra (With additional information from agencies and Toronto media reports)