For the first time the 15th annual International Indian Film Academy or IIFA was held in the United States. Tampa, Florida was the place to be Saturday night for Bollywood A-listers and fans alike. Think of this as India’s version of the Academy Awards. Instead of being held inside an intimate venue like the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, it was the colossal Raymond James Stadium — home of NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Oscars have the red carpet and IIFA have their green carpet. Hollywood’s John Travolta and Kevin Spacey informed the international and Tampa Bay media Hollywood could learn a thing or two from Bollywood’s lively musical extravaganzas. Nina Davuluri, Miss America’s first Indian-American, and from the Oscar-winning film “Slumdog Millionaire” Anil Kapoor were the other celebrities getting the crowd excited.
Leave it to Bollywood going over the top and all out with their film award ceremonies held at an athletic and concert stadium. This would be like the Oscars at the Rose Bowl or The Coliseum. To honor the city of Tampa there was a history lesson of sorts. On gigantic video screens featured the annual Gasparilla Pirate Invasion and Parade festivities. The co-hosts came out in style with their own pirate garb invading RayJay (colloquial term for Raymond James Stadium). Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn gave them the keys to the city, as per the Gasparilla tradition, if they’d entertain the crowd and that’s what they did.
Over 20,000 were in attendance for the opening number of Cirque du Soleil like acrobats, aerial mermaids, sailors, and cheerleaders wearing the Tampa Bay Buc colors. The first IIFA award to be presented, Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema, went to Bollywood legend Shatrughan “Shotgun” Sinha for his lifetime achievement. It was his daughter who presented this award. Afterwards, Sinha took an opportunity to turn his acceptance speech into a political statement about Indian politics.
Kevin Spacey presented an award for Entertainer of the Year, while John Travolta received his IIFA award for Outstanding Contribution to International Cinema. Travolta informed the crowd “I’m honored. I’m humbled.” The ceremonies started an hour and a half late and finally ending after 2 a.m.
“Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” was the big winner of the night winning a total of 12 awards. The lead actor, Farhan Akhtar, who was one of the co-hosts of the IIFA awards, won best performance in a leading role. The film is a biopic of the Indian track and field Olympic athlete Milkha Singh.
Here’s a complete list of the IIFA 2014 Magic of the Movies and Technical Award winners:
Best Performance in a Leading Role (Female) – Deepika Padukone for “Chennai Express”
Best Performance in a Leading Role (Male) – Farhan Akhtar for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Performance in a Supporting Role (Female) – Divya Dutta for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Performance in a Leading Role (Male) – Aditya Roy Kapur for “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani”
Best Debut (Male) – Dhanush for “Aanjhanaa”
Best Debut (Female) – Vaani Kapoor for “Shudh Desi Romance”
Best Director – Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best performance in a comic role Arshad Warsi for “Jolly L.L.B”
Best performance in a negative role – Rishi Kapoor for “D-Day”
Best Playback Singer (Female) – Shreya Ghoshal for “Sun Raha Hai Na Tu (Aashiqui 2)”
Best Playback Singer (Male) – Arijit Singh for “Tum Hi Ho (Aashiqui 2)”
Entertainer of the year – Deepika Padukone
Outstanding Contribution to Indian Cinema – Shatrughan Sinha. The award was presented by his daughter Sonakshi Sinha.
Outstanding Contribution To International Cinema – John Travolta
Best Cinematography – Binod Pradhan for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Screenplay and Best Dialogue – Prasoon Joshi for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Editing – P S Bharti for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Sound Design – Nakul Kamte for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Sound Mixing – Pranav Shukla for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Background Score – Shankar-Ehsaan- Loy for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Costume Designing – Dolly Ahluwalia for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Make-Up – Vikram Gaikwad for “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”
Best Action — Sham Kaushal & Tony Ching Siu Tung for “Krrish 3”
Best Special Effects (Visuals) – Keitan Yadav & Haresh Hingorani – Red Chillies VFX for “Krrish 3”
Best Song Recording – Vinod Verma for Lungi Dance for “Chennai Express”
Best Sound Mixing – Anup Dev for “Chennai Express”