Shalandra Bunseelall.

Bollywood - It was a night of spectacular performances, dazzling outfits and a pure celebration of Indian cinema on a global platform as the International Indian Filmfare Academy Awards (IIFA) mesmerised Bangkok on Sunday and showcased the magic of Bollywood with ultimate glitz and glamour.

The grandest of stages saw the talented duo Karan Johar and Riteish Deshmukh play host in their own inimitable way. 

With Karan’s witty zingers and Riteish’s charismatic avatar combining on stage, the director-actor Jodi entertained the audience with their crackling chemistry and perfect improvisations.

Providing some support on stage was the delightful Ayushmann Khuranna and the rising star Karthik Aryan, who got more stage time than he deserved.

The Big Winners:

Tumhari Sulu deservedly won the Best Picture award, while Irrfan Khan won Best Actor for Hindi Medium. The late Sridevi won the Best Actress for Mom, while Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Meher Vij won the best supporting roles for Mom and Secret Superstar respectively

Performances:

Kudos to the team at IIFA for carefully selecting some amazing and power-packed entertainers. It was however, the grand diva of Bollywood Rekha that topped the list of electrifying and nostalgic performances in IIFA’s 19-year journey.

Receiving a standing ovation for her pure magic and brilliance on stage - Rekha was legendary.

The night also featured top-notch performances from Bollywood superstars including Ranbir Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Shraddha Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, and Lulia Vantur. One of the highlights of the night was the outstanding choreography on every performance.

What Worked:

The performances coupled with the overall stage design were breath-taking and simply perfect. It was also refreshing to see a new brigade of Bollywood glitterati display their talent.

What did not Work;

Despite the overall high quality production, technical glitches plagued the IIFA Fashion Rocks and the awards night with the tele-prompter being the biggest culprit. 

Big names were also missing, including Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anushka Sharma, Katrina Kaif and Tiger Shroff. Incidentally none of the Bachchans or the Khans made an appearance.

The Epic Moments;

A tribute to the late legendary Sridevi evoked pin drop silence as emotions ran high. 

Husband Boney Kapoor asked to keep the legacy alive by supporting the debut of their daughter Jhanvi Kapoor in the soon to be released Dhadak. But perhaps the most epic moment of IIFA 2018 was Rekha’s grand-finale.

Verdict:

While this indeed became the IIFA season of the Kapoors, it was another year dedicated to building bridges across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations, creating everyone’s dream: “One People. One World”.

In my 16 years of this IIFA journey, despite some of the small challenges - IIFA continuously cements my underlying love and passion for Indian cinema.

Something tells me next year is going to be super big as IIFA turns 20.

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