'Once Upon a Time in Mumbai' Tops IIFA Award Nominations

The Ajay Devgan-starrer snags 12 noms for Bollywood's Oscars in Toronto next June, followed by Dabangg with 11.

TORONTO – Hindi director Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time In Mumbai leads the field with a dozen nominations for the upcoming International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards in Toronto.

As nominations for Bollywood’s Oscars were unveiled Friday, Luthria’s drama about the origins of the mafia in Mumbai also picked up nods for lead Ajay Devgan as best actor, Emraan Hashmi in the best supporting actor category, and a best supporting actress nod for Prachi Desai.

Close behind is Dabangg with 11 nods, including best film, best director for Abhinav Kashyap and a best leading actor nod for Salman Khan.

Also contending in the best film competition is Rajneeti, My Name is Khan and Band Baajaa Baraat.

The best actor competition includes Hrithik Roshan for Guzaarish, Shah Rukh Khan for My Name Is Khan and Ranbir Kapoor for Rajneeti. And leading the best actress field is Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai Bachchan for Guzaarish, Vidya Balan in Ishqiya, Anushka Sharma in Band Baaja Baaraat, Katrina Kaif for her star turn in Raajneeti and Kareena Kapoor in Golmaal 3.

For song and dance-driven Bollywood, the competitive best male playback singer field includes Rahat Fateh Ali Khan for Dabangg and Mohit Chauhan for Once Upon A Time in Mumbai, while the best female playback singer competition see Rekha Bhardwaj contend for Ishqiya against Mamta Sharma for Dabangg and Sunidi Chauhan for Tees Maar Khan.

The IIFAs are staged annually by Wizcraft International Entertainment outside India, often in rising foreign markets for Bollywood movies.

The 12th edition of the IIFA Awards, to be hosted by Riteish Deshmukh and Boman Irani, will take place in Toronto from June 23 to 25. Last year’s IIFA Awards was staged in Colombo, Sri Lanka, after earlier Bollywood kudofests in Macau, Johannesburg, Singapore, Amsterdam, Bangkok and Britain.

Toronto, with its large Canadian-south Asian community, promises the usual weekend of promotional, charity and cultural events leading up to a star-packed Bollywood awards ceremony at the Rogers Centre.

“We're very proud to be the first place in North America to host this truly global event and we look forward to providing visitors with an unforgettable experience," Ontario premiere Dalton McGuinty said in a statement as the IIFA Award nominations were unveiled during a press conference in Mumbai.

The nominations were unveiled after industry voting in March. Online voting for the awards by international audiences of Bollywood will start April 15.