'Dabangg' Big Winner at Bollywood's IIFA Awards

Shah Rukh Khan - 2010
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan won for best actor and Anushka Sharma took home the best actress trophy as the Indian film awards made their North American debut in Toronto on Saturday night.

TORONTO -- The Salman Khan-starrer Dabangg (Fearless) was the big winner Saturday night as the International Indian Film Academy Awards, Bollywood’s Oscars, held its first-ever gala in North America.

Dabangg won for best film and took home three of the four major music awards: best male playback singer for Rahat Ali Fateh Khan for the song “Tere mast mast do nain,” best music director shared by Sajid Wajid and Lalit Pandit, and the best female playback singer trophy went to Mamta Sharma for the song “Munni badnam hui.”

Also for Dabangg, the best screenplay trophy went to Abhinav Kashyap and Dilip Shukla, while Sonakshi Sinha earned the female debut award for her star-turn in the hit Bollywood film.

Other acting category wins included Anushka Sharma taking the best actress prize for her performance in Band Baaja Baarat (The Wedding Planners).

Sharma also shared with Ravinder Singh the prize for Bollywood pair of the year. 

And the best actor trophy was won by Shah Rukh Khan, the Bollywood superstar who also performed the finale at the 2011 IIFA Awards.

The acting categories also saw Arjun Rampal win for best supporting actor for his star-turn in the political thriller Raajneeti, while the best supporting actress trophy went to Prachi Desai for her role in the Bombay gangster drama Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai.

Also Saturday night, the best comic movie role prize went to Ritesh Deshmukh for Housefull, the best movie lyrics went to My Name is Khan and the film’s song “Sajdaa,” while the best movie dialogue prize went to Vishal Bhardwaj for the murder thriller Ishqiya (Love).

And Shibani Bhatija picked up the award for best story for the film My Name is Khan, while the best male debut prize went to Ranvir Singh for her performance in the romantic comedy Band Baaja Baarat.

The 12th annual IIFAs, hosted by Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani, started 90 minutes late after a marathon green carpet stroll by Bollywood stars into the sold-out Rogers Centre in Toronto.

When the gala awards show did get under way, it quickly featured a host of A-list Indian film stars – including Kangana Ranaut, Bobby Deol, Shilpa Shetty of Big Brother fame, Priyanka Chopra and Bipasha Basu -- shimmering and shaking during full-on Bollywood music and dance routines.

Going into the main awards show, Once Upon a Time in Mumbai led the field with 12 nominations, followed close behind with Dabangg and its 11 nominations.

Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor (Slumdog Millionaire) and the Deol family were among the dozens of Bollywood superstars on hand in Toronto for the three-day IIFA Awards festival and awards show.

Shah Rukh Khan earlier tweeted to his fans that he was getting his knee taped up to perform a dance routine at the IIFA Awards show. “Feeling awful not being fully fit for IIFA ... as is attending after so many years ... will try and do my best. Toronto knee or not here I come !!!”

During a security lapse at the Toronto gala show, a fan rushed to the front of the stage and grabbed Shah Rukh Khan’s leg until his grip was loosened and he was escorted away.

In all, around 22,000 Bollywood fans filled Rogers Centre for the awards show, which reached an estimated worldwide TV audience of 600 million people.

Toronto has a 600,000-strong indo-Canadian community and politicians of all stripes take every chance they can to pose in front of local cameras with Bollywood stars.

Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper is frequently photographed with Akshay Kumar, and Ontario premiere Dalton McGuinty on Friday did a photo call with Shah Rukh Khan.

On Saturday night, McGuinty arrived on the green carpet outside Rogers Centre alongside Shah Rukh Khan yet again.

And Anil Kapoor gave McGuinty a rousing introduction Saturday night as the Ontario politician at the Rogers Centre repaid Bollywood’s North American charm offensive by bringing worldwide TV attention to Toronto.

That’s what you get when Ontario spends $12 million to bring the IIFAs to Toronto.

Also gracing the green carpet in Toronto Saturday night were Hollywood stars Cuba Gooding Jr. and Hilary Swank, who was escorted into the Rogers Centre by Anil Kapoor.