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Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Guzaarish.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in Guzaarish.

International Indian Film Awards

All the Bollywood that's fit to print Add to ...

The Natalie Portman of Bollywood: Kareena Kapoor

Like her Hollywood counterpart, Kapoor does blockbusters with as much flair as more serious films - from a critically acclaimed role as the unknowing wife of a terrorist to this year's IIFA-nominated turn as a tomboy in the slapstick comedy Golmaal 3. Mind you, she faced fans' outrage when she dropped to a size zero (they like their leading ladies voluptuous). Kapoor also regularly features in the gossip rags for her romance with Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan. She's part of a Bollywood dynasty; he's actually the prince of a royal house of India.

The Randy Newman of Bollywood: A. R. Rahman

Hollywood discovered him with his hit, Jai Ho!, in Slumdog Millionaire. But Indian fans are generally surprised that Rahman went mainstream for music that's not considered to be his best work. His more lauded pieces includes tracks in Bollywood hits Bombay, Rang de Basanti and Roja.

The Christopher Plummer of Bollywood: Amitabh Bachchan

Like his Canadian counterpart, the Big B is a thespian with a true versatility (and a deep, resonant voice) that has earned him legend status. The 68-year-old popularized the angry-young-man role when he first started in Bollywood in the seventies but has gone on to work with every big-name Bollywood director, in roles from rom-com lead to traditional patriarch to underworld don. Like Plummer, Bachchan has also played King Lear.

The Hugh Jackman of Bollywood: Hrithik Roshan

The 37-year-old's good looks and family-man image haven't hurt his heartthrob status. But his great dance moves could also give the Tony-winning Jackman a run for his money. Roshan's also known for his range: He has played a suave villain, a soldier and a 15th-century Indian king. Like Jackman, he's also done a turn as a superhero.

The Tim Burton of India: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Disturbing and funny, fantastical but strangely resonant, Bhansali's stylized films fill the quirk niche in Bollywood.


Tum Bin (2001) A romantic drama set in Calgary, the film garnered high praise for its soundtrack.

Bollywood/Hollywood (2002) A lighthearted poke at Bollywood's song-and-dance routines, it's directed by Deepa Mehta and stars Toronto actress Lisa Ray. Shot - and set - in Toronto.

Kal Ho Naa Ho (2003) In this romantic flick, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Preity Zinta and Saif Ali Khan, Toronto stands in for New York.

Neal 'n' Nikki (2005) A fluffy romantic comedy about Indian immigrants in Canada. Shot in Vancouver and Whistler.

Apne (2007) Another Toronto-as-New York production, starring Dharmendra, his sons Sunny and Bobby Deol, as well as Shilpa Shetty of Big Brother fame, and Katrina Kaif.

Thank You (2011) Starring Askay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor and Irrfan Khan, this film - about philandering and soon-to-be-reformed husbands - features several Ontario landmarks, including Toronto's Flatiron Building and the Air Canada Centre, as well as Niagara Falls.

Breakaway (coming soon) Canadian comic Russell Peters stars in this cross-cultural drama about hockey-mad Indian immigrants in Toronto's suburbs. (Bollywood's Akshay Kumar has a cameo.)


Best film The front runner this year is Bollywood's take on the western, Dabangg, which has set Bollywood box-office records. With bad boy Salman Khan in the lead role, the film (whose title translates as Fearless) delivers plenty of swagger, snark and, as Indians say "ishtyle."

Best director If critics had their way, Vikramaditya Motwane would win for his sensitive film Udaan ( Flight), which explores an abusive parent-child relationship. More likely, though, the prize will go to Karan Johar for My Name is Khan, about Muslims in post-9/11 America.

Best actor Judging from other Bollywood film awards, such as Zee Cine and Filmfare, this category will be a close call between Hrithik Roshan for Guzaarish (as a paraplegic magician who yearns to be euthanized) and Shah Rukh Khan for My Name is Khan (he plays an autistic Muslim).

Best actress Another toughie: Vidya Balan sizzled as the conniving heroine in the thriller Ishqiya, but Aishwarya Rai Bachchan has also won accolades for her performance as a paraplegic's caretaker in Guzaarish.

Best oddball tribute Bollywood "playback" singer Sonu Nigam is teaming up with Jermaine Jackson for a bow to the King of Pop. Nigam, who credits Michael Jackson as an influence on his song Deewana Dil in the Bollywood film Pardes, created a tribute song for the pop star after his untimely death. That song, which also incorporated fan tributes, eventually wound up on the tribute album The Beat of Our Hearts. The nod to Michael Jackson will be part of the IIFA Rocks event on June 24.

Best paparazzi opp He's called King Khan for a reason, and die-hard fans will do anything to get a glimpse of this megastar. Shah Rukh Khan has starred in some of the biggest rom-coms of Bollywood, including Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and Dilwale Dulhani Le Jayenge. So far, even the freshest-faced new stars haven't been able to nudge his status as Bollywood's favourite leading man.

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