The 2011 International Indian Film Academy Awards opened with a Dabangg, so to speak.
The hit Salman Khan-starrer scooped up 10 awards, including Best Film, leaving the others in the pack trailing way behind. First-time producer Arbaaz Khan said he knew he had a winner in his hands as soon as he read the script.
"I decided this was going to be the film I would start my production career with," Khan said. "And when I told my brother Salman I was making this film, he said 'I'll do it.' And I said, 'hear the script first', and he just said, 'I'll do it,'"
Dabangg was very much a family affair. Salman Khan, Bollwood's bad boy, played the lead while real-life brother Arbaaz Khan took a supporting role as Salman Khan's on-screen brother. Meanwhile, Arbaaz Khan's wife, Mallika Arora Khan, gyrated to the "item" song Munni Badnaam, which picked up the best choreography and best Female Playback Singer awards.
But surprisingly, Dabangg did not bring a Best Actor win for Salman Khan. That award instead went to Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan for My Name is Khan, a melodrama about Muslims facing backlash after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
My Name is Khan also picked up four other awards including best director for Karan Johar.
Meanwhile, Anushka Sharma won the award for Best Actress for Band Baaja Baraat.
"This is overwhelming," she said. "Thank you for all Toronto for all that love. Thank you Adi [producer Aditya Chopra]and Maneesh Sharma for believing in me when not many people did."
Sharma also picked up the Best Jodi (pair) award with co-star Ranvir Singh for the wedding planner rom com. The film tied with My Name is Khan with five wins each.
In an interesting twist, Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai, which had an impressive 12 nominations, only walked away with one win for best supporting actress in the end.
The IIFA Awards also had many touching tributes throughout the evening.
Veteran actor Dharmendra Singh Deol - of the cult classic Sholay - was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his 50 years of acting in Bollywood. Deol, a Punjabi, saluted Canada's multicultural community.
"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.
Meanwhile, actress Priyanka Chopra did a medley dance performance of playback singer Asha Bhosle's hit songs. Bhosle was honoured with an Outstanding Achievement award for forty years of her cinematic journey.
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. The IIFA awards also delivered on the promise of Bollywood's spectacle: A song-and-dance number from heartthrob Bobby Deol, who arrived in a car that was driven onstage, and was later joined onstage by brother Sunny and their legendary father Dharmendra.
The night's dance performances also included a huge crowd-pleaser by actors Ranvir Singh and Sonakshi Sinha. Singh, who has been winning the hearts of young fans, won the male debut award for his role as a wedding planner in Band Baaja Baarat. Sinha, meanwhile, won the female debut award for her role in Dabangg. They danced to songs from their films.
The night, however, belonged to none other than the man known as King Khan.
Shah Rukh Khan was the IIFA award's closing act, but he was unable to dance due to a fractured knee. Instead, he poked fun at Bollywood's simple - and veering on ridiculous dance moves - by showing audience members how to execute them. From pretending to shake lice out of hair, scratching one's back and sweeping the floor, Khan had the audience in splits and on their feet. Finally, the night ended - nearly 150 minutes after its scheduled end - with Bollywood celebs joining Khan on the stage as they all danced together.
With files from CP
Winners from the 2011 IIFA Awards
Best Film: Dabangg
Best Director: Karan Johar, My Name Is Khan
Best Actor: Shah Rukh Khan, My Name Is Khan
Best Actress: Anushka Sharma, Band Baaja Baaraat
Best Supporting Actor: Arjun Rampal, Raajneeti
Best Supporting Actress: Prachi Desai, Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai
Best Actor In A Comic Role: Riteish Deshmukh, Housefull
Best Performance In A Negative Role: Sonu Sood, Dabangg
Achievement In International Cinema: Irrfan Khan
Best Female Debut: Sonakshi Sinha, Dabangg
Best Male Debut: Ranvir Singh, Band Baaja Baaraat
Hottest Pair 2011: Anushka Sharma and Ranvir Singh
Outstanding Achievement in Indian Cinema: Sharmila Tagore
Best Screenplay Award: Abhinav Kashyap, Dilip Shukla, Dabangg
Best Female Playback Singer: Mamta Sharma, Munni Badnaam Hui in Dabangg
Best Male Playback Singer: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Tere Mast Mast Do Nain, Dabangg
Best Music Direction: Sajid-Wajid and Lalit Pandit, Dabangg
Best Lyrics: Niranjan Iyengar for Saajda, My Name is Khan
Best Story Award: Shivani Bhatija, My Name is Khan
Best Costume Designing: Niharika Khan, Band Baaja Baaraat
Best Action: S Vijayan, Dabangg Best Makeup: Banu (for actor Rajinikanth), Robot
Best Background Score: Shankar, Ehsaan, Loy, My Name Is Khan
Best Song Recording: Vijay Dayal, Ainvayi Ainvayi, Band Baaja Baaraat
Best Choreography Award: Farah Khan, Munni Badnaam, Dabangg
Best Editing: Namrata Rao, Band Baaja Baaraat
Best Sound Recording: Pritam Das, Love, Sex Aur Dhokha
Best Sound Re-recording: Leslie Fernandes, Dabangg
Best Cinematography: Sudeep Chatterjee, Guzaarish
Best Art Direction: Sabu Cyril, Robot
Best Special Effects: Indian Artists, Robot