Known for accommodating cricket matches, pop and rap concerts, the Dubai International Stadium showed off its regal side by hosting the Times of India Film Awards on Friday night. The star-studded event had Bollywood fans pack the stands as they watched their favourite film stars stroll the red carpet and compete in one of the industry’s major awards of the year.
There were plenty of performances including those by superstars Salman Khan and Shah Rukh Khan, as well as Kareena Kapoor, Mika Singh, Kanika Kapoor, Varun Dhawan and Yo Yo Honey Singh.
With their witty one-liners, daring double entendres and risqué repartee, hosts Riteish Deshmukh and Manish Paul had the audience amused till the wee hours.
The action began early however, with the stadium filling in by 4pm, soon after the doors opened. The stars began arriving by 8pm, cutting alluring figures on the red carpet.
Some of the superstar attendees included Amitabh Bachchan and Anil Kapoor, actresses Karisma Kapoor, Genelia D’Souza, Bhumi Pednekar, Karishma Tanna, Urvashi Rautela, filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, actors Sonu Sood, Sooraj Pancholi, Deepak Dobriyal, and ace choreographer Shiamak Dawar — the latter responsible for the dance sequences during the event.
Ranveer Singh’s tribute to the legend Amitabh Bachchan was one of the best choreographed acts of the evening.
Singh made a superb entry on a dune buggy to the song Muqaddar Ka Sikander, followed by a performance to a medley of some of Big B's greatest hits, including, My Name is Anthony Gonsalvez, Jumma Chumma De De, and Kajra Re. The performance set the scene for the bestowing of the Lifetime Achievement Award to Bachchan.
Another tribute performance was delivered by Kareena Kapoor. Her medley captured the flair of some of Bollywood's most beloved leading ladies over the decades: from Helen in Yeh Mera Dil and Zeenat Aman in Laila Mai Laila, to Sridevi in Hawa Hawaii and her own sister Karisma in Le Gayee Le Gayee. She ended the act with a nod to her own body of work, to the feisty beats of Chammak Challo.
The biggest cheers were reserved for the Khans: Salman and Shah Rukh. The former made his entry into the arena on a white Ferrari 458 convertible, and surprised the crowd with a performance that included not just his songs, but those of some of his colleagues.
It was a delight to see Salman boogie to Sanjay Dutt's Tamma Tamma Loge, Akshay Kumar and Saif Ali Khan's Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Sunny Deol's Yaara O Yaara, Aamir Khan's Aati Kya Khandala, Hrithik Roshan's Ek Pal Ka Jeena, and Shah Rukh Khan's Chammak Challo.
King Khan stuck to his own catalogue, including Gerua from his latest superhit Dilwale. Never missing a marketing opportunity, Khan invited on stage and danced along with the UAE-based Moroccan singer Abdelfattah Grini, to perform the Arabic version of Jabra Fan from SRK's upcoming film, Fan, which is out next month.
The biggest winner of the evening was the majestic drama Bajirao Mastani, which picked up six gongs: Best Music Composer, Best Playback singer (Female), Best Supporting Actor Female, Best On-screen Jodi of the Year, Best Actor (Male), and Best Director.
Salman Khan-starrer Bajrangi Bhaijaan won the Best Film award, while Kangana Ranaut won Best Actor (Female) for Tanu Weds Manu Returns.
Bachchan also picked up the Critics Choice Best Male Actor award for his role in Piku. Kalki Koechlin won the Critics Choice Best Female Actor award for Margarita, With a Straw.
Top quotes of the night
“It would be very presumptuous of me to name someone, because that would mean I am assuming they are a fan. No, it would have to be me. It is me, and it would always be me.” - Shah Rukh Khan when asked about who would be his pick to star in his upcoming film Fan other than himself
“Oh please! He has a great beauty by his own side, and I also have a very handsome man by my side: my husband.” - Kareena Kapoor responding to Ranveer Singh’s enthusiastic reaction to her performance
“Are you guys having a competition to see who can grow their hair the longest? Also, don’t you ask him to wash his hair? It’s all dreadlocked now” – Co-host Manish Paul to actress Genelia D’Souza about her husband Riteish Deshmukh’s long hair