As expected, the big winner at the 8th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards held Saturday night at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield, United Kingdom, was Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s political musical Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow, the tale of several alienated university students – among them Aamir Khan – who develop a sense of sociopolitical awareness after getting involved with a filmmaker (played by Alice Patten, daughter of Chris Patten, the UK’s
last governor of Hong Kong) attempting to make a movie about Indian nationalists whoc rose up against British rule.
In addition to being named best film, Rang De Basanti won three other awards out of 15 nominations in the Popular Categories (voted by film fans online from a list of nominees selected by the Indian Film Academy): best screenplay (Mehra and Renzil D’Silva), best supporting actress (Soha Ali Khan), and best musical direction (A.R. Rehman).
Mehra’s blockbuster ended up with more wins than any other film. In addition to its four Popular victories, Rang De Basanti garnered 7 other awards in the Technical Categories (chosen by Indian Film Academy members). Even so, the film failed to sweep the Popular awards as I’d expected it to.
The best director trophy, for instance, went to Rajkumar Hirani for the musical romantic comedy Lage Raho Munnabhai, which also won awards for best story and best dialogue, while Rang De Basanti‘s Aamir Khan lost the best actor award to Hrithik Roshan for his portrayal of a man with super-powers in Krrish / There’s No One Like You.
Other top winners were best actress Rani Mukherji for her performance in the drama Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye, best supporting actor Arshad Warsi for Lage Raho Munnabhai, and veteran director-producer-screenwriter Basu Chatterjee, who was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award.
Unlike other film academies, the IIFA give out several awards that, depending on one’s mood, could be considered either quirky or tacky – possibly both. For instance, there’s a Best Actor in a Comic Role category (the winner was Tusshar Kapoor, who plays a dolt in Golmaal), Best Actor in a Negative Role (or, in MTV speech, Best Villain – Saif Ali Khan, above, sans glasses, as a revamped Iago in Vishal Bharadwaj’s adaptation of Othello set in the world of Indian politics, Omkara), and best male/female playback singers. (Shaan was the male choice for his singing in Fanaa; Sunidhi Chauhan was the female choice for her singing in Omkara.)
Quirkier (or tackier) yet, the IIFA allows fans to vote on the “Most Glamorous Stars.” Unsurprisingly, the winners this year were beauty-of-beauties Aishwarya Rai and hunk-of-hunks Hrithik Roshan.
On a more serious note, director Deepa Mehta was honored with a special award for her international contribution to Indian filmmaking. Mehta’s win is a curious – and welcome – recognition for the director’s efforts. Her 2005 Indian-Canadian drama Water caused a furor among Fundamentalist Hindus, who destroyed the film’s Indian sets and threatened to kill the director. Production had to be scrapped, being later resumed in Sri Lanka. Water – the last installment of a controversial trilogy – went on to win three Canadian Genie Awards and to receive a best foreign-language film Oscar nomination.
According to reports, about 10,000 fans gathered at the Hallam FM to watch some of Bollywood’s biggest stars walk on the green carpet – a reminder of global warming. But with Aishwarya Rai, Hrithik Roshan, Abhishek Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan, and Preity Zinta parading around, it’s doubtful that onlookers paid much attention to either the color of the carpet or the looming global eco-disaster. (The British media, as provincial as any other, focused on the presence of UK Big Brother participant Shilpa Shetty, who received a special award from local authorities for her poise in the show during which Shetty was the target of ethnic slurs.)
Thousands of other fans reportedly watched the proceedings on big screens in Leeds, Bradford, and Rotherham. As per the BBC, about 10 percent of the income for Bollywood films come from outside South Asia, with the UK as the second-biggest market for Indian films. Sheffield county has the third-largest population of British Asians in the country, and tourist officials were hoping the awards would bring £10 million to the area.
Amitabh Bachchan – who performed a much-applauded dance duet onstage with son Abhishek – failed to win a best supporting actor award (and so did Abhishek), but he won’t be returning to India empty-handed. Bachchan and fellow film veterans Yash Chopra and Shabana Azmi were awarded honorary doctorate degrees by Leeds Metropolitan University earlier in the weekend. As per a Gulf News report, the Leeds university “has recently forged close links with India and the International Indian Film Academy … and has several students from India.” (I’m assuming they’re hoping to attract more Indian students in the future.)
And finally … Swanky dance numbers or no, the evening’s emotional highlight was apparently the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award to veteran actor Dharmendra, who received a standing ovation from the audience.
“Very few people know that it was on Dharmendra’s insistence that I got the role of Jay in Sholay ,” presenter Amitabh Bachchan said. “If it were not for him, I would never have been a part of this great film. My wife describes him as a Greek God, but for me, he has always been a very good human being.”
“I was a small-town boy in Phagwara and I used to look at this magical world of cinema and wonder if I would ever be a part of it,” the 71-year-old honoree remarked. “From those days to this stage, it has been a very eventful journey.” Since his 1960 debut, Dharmendra has appeared in nearly 250 motion pictures. In his upcoming film, Apne, he will appear for the first time with both his sons, Bobby and Sunny Deol.
Clearly, Hollywood and its Oscars don’t have a monopoly when it comes to both inspiring and fulfilling dreams of cinematic success.
June 3: Next Saturday, June 9, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) (website) will announce the winners of the 8th IIFA Awards in the Popular Categories. The ceremony will be part of the International Indian Film Academy Weekend, which will take place between June 7-10 in Yorkshire. In addition to the IIFA awards ceremony, the IIFA Weekend will offer a global business forum, a celebrity charity cricket match, and an Indian film festival. (Each year, the IIFA festival is held in a different city of a country with a large Indian population. Last year, Dubai hosted the event; the previous year’s party was held in Amsterdam.)
This year, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow received the most nominations, 15 in all, including best picture, best direction (Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra), best actor (Aamir Khan), and best screenplay (Mehra and Rensil Dsilva). This political-musical-coming-of-age drama (it’s all that) follows a group of spoiled university students as they sing & dance their way to sociopolitical awakening. The film has already won 7 awards in the IIFA’s Technical Categories (there are no nominations for those categories; only the winners are announced), including best cinematography (Binod Pradhan) and best editing (P.S. Bharathi), and it’s the odds-on favorite to sweep the 2007 IIFA Awards.
Rang De Basanti, which irked India’s military upon its release, was that country’s submission for the 2007 Academy Awards though it ultimately failed to get a nomination. It did, however, get a BAFTA nomination in the best foreign-language film category.
Other best picture nominees are:
Sanjay Gadhvi’s Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action, starring best actress nominee Aishwarya Rai in an action tale involving two buddy cops who try to catch an international thief;
Karan Johar’s expensively mounted Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye (above), starring another best actress nominee, Rani Mukherji, as a woman involved in an extra-marital affair with a football player (Shahrukh Khan);
Rakesh Roshan’s Krrish / There’s No One Like You, a sequel to Roshan’s 2003 action-sci-fi hit Koi… Mil Gaya / I Found Someone, described as the story of India’s “first ever superhero” – played by the director’s son, best actor nominee Hrithik Roshan (who also stars in Dhoom 2);
Rajkumar Hirani’s Lage Raho Munnabhai, a musical comedy-drama about a dolt (Sanjay Dutt) who, while trying to win the heart of the girl he loves, gets help from none other than the spirit of Mahatma Gandhi;
and Sooraj R. Barjatya’s Vivah, about how a young couple tries to cope after their lives are turned upside down by a major tragedy.
Vishal Bharadwaj’s Omkara, a retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello set in the world of Indian politics in Uttar Pradesh, failed to get a Best Picture nod, but Bharadwaj was shortlisted in the best direction category. Actor Ajay Devgan, actress Kareena Kapoor, and screenwriters Bharadwaj, Robin Bhatt, and Abhishek Chaubey, also nabbed nominations.
The 8th Indian Film Academy Award nominations in the Popular Categories were announced on April 30, 2007.
The 8th Indian Film Academy Award winners in the Popular Categories were announced at the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield/Yorkshire on June 9, 2007.
The winners of the Technical Awards were announced on April 18, 2007.
Note: Winners of the Popular Categories are chosen by the public, who vote on the nominees selected by the International Indian Film Academy. Technical Categories have no nominations; the winners are chosen by the International Indian Film Academy.
(” *” denotes the winner in each category)
Popular Category Nominees
Best Picture Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye Krrish / There’s No One Like You Lage Raho Munnabhai *Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow Vivah
Karan Johar - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye
Rakesh Roshan - Krrish / There’s No One Like You * Rajkumar Hirani - Lage Raho Munnabhai
Vishal Bharadwaj - Omkara
Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Performance in a Leading Role (Male)
Shah Rukh Khan - Don * Hrithik Roshan - Krrish / There’s No One Like You
Sanjay Dutt - Lage Raho Munnabhai
Ajay Devgan - Omkara
Aamir Khan - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Performance in a Leading Role (Female)
Aishwarya Rai - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action
Kajol - Fanaa
Kangana Ranaut - Gangster * Rani Mukherji - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye
Vidya Balan - Lage Raho Munnabhai
Kareena Kapoor - Omkara
Performance in a Supporting Role (Male)
Amitabh Bachchan - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye
Abhishek Bachchan - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye * Arshad Warsi - Lage Raho Munnabhai
Kunal Kapoor - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Atul Kulkarni - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Performance in a Supporting Role (Female)
Bipasha Basu - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action
Rekha - Krrish / There’s No One Like You
Konkona Sensharma - Omkara
Kirron kher - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow * Soha Ali Khan Pataudi - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Aditya Chopra - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action
Rakesh Roshan - Krrish / There’s No One Like You * Rajkumar Hirani - Lage Raho Munnabhai
Vishal Bharadwaj - Omkara
Kamlesh Pandey - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Girish Dhamija - Gangster
Sanjay Masoom - Krrish / There’s No One Like You * Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi - Lage Raho Munnabhai
Vishal Bharadwaj - Omkara
Prasoon Joshi & Rensil D’silva - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Vijay Krishna Acharya - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action
Anurag Basu - Gangster
Rajkumar Hirani, Abhijat Joshi, Vidhu Vinod Chopra - Lage Raho Munnabhai
Vishal Bharadwaj, Robin Bhatt, Abhishek Chaubey - Omkara * Rensil Dsilva & Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Pritam - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action - Crazy Kiya Re
Shankar Ehsaan Loy - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye
Rajesh Roshan - Krrish / There’s No One Like You - Dhoop Nikalti hai Jahan Se
Vishal Bharadwaj - Omkara - Beedi * A.R. Rehman - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow - Ru Baroo
Sameer - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action - “Crazy Kiya Re” * Prasoon Joshi - Fanaa - “Chand Sifarish”
Javed Akhtar - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye - “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”
Gulzar - Omkara - “Beedi”
Prasoon Joshi - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow - “Ru Baroo”
Playback Singer (Male) * Shaan - Fanaa - “Chand Sifarish”
K K - Gangster - “Tu Hi Meri shab”
Zubeen - Gangster - “Ya Ali”
Sonu Nigam - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye - “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”
A.R. Rehman & Naresh Iyer - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow - “Ru Baroo”
Playback Singer (Female)
Sunidhi Chauhan - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action - “Crazy Kiya Re”
Alka Yagnik - Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna / Never Say Goodbye - “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna”
Shreya Ghosal - Lage Raho Munnabhai - “Pal Pal” * Sunidhi Chauhan - Omkara - “Beedi jalaile”
Lata Mangeshkar - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow - “Luka Chhupi”
Performance in a Comic Role
Chunkey Pandey - Apna Sapna Money Money
Uday Chopra - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action * Tusshar Kapoor - Golmaal: Fun Unlimited
Paresh Rawal - Phir Hera Pheri
Sharman Joshi - Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Performance in a Negative Role
Hrithik Roshan - Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action
Emraan Hashmi - Gangster
Boman Irani - Lage Raho Munnabhai * Saif Ali Khan - Omkara John Abraham - Zinda
Lifetime Achievement Award: Dharmendra and Basu Chatterjee
Outstanding Achievement by an Indian in International Cinema: Deepa Mehta
Special Award for Best Adaptation: Vishal Bharadwaj for Omkara, adapted from Shakespeare’s Othello
Creative Person of the Year Award: Rakesh Roshan
Best Newcomer (Female): Kangana Ranaut
Best Newcomer (Male): Upen Patel
Most Glamorous Star (Female): Aishwarya Rai
Most Glamorous Star (Male): Hrithik Roshan
Winners in the Technical Categories
Best Cinematography: Binod Pradhan, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Best Editing: P.S. Bharathi, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Best Art Direction: Samir Chanda, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Best Costume Design: Anaita Adajania, Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action
Best Action: Tony Siutung, Shyam Kushal, Krrish / There’s No One Like You
Best Choreography: Ganesh Acharya for “Beedi Jalaile,” Omkara
Best (Visual) Special Effects: EFX studios, Krrish / There’s No One Like You
Best Background score: A.R. Rehman, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Best Song Recording: A.R. Rehman, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Best Sound Recording: Nakul Kamte, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Best Sound Re-recording: Hitendra Gosh, Rang De Basanti / Paint It Yellow
Best Make Up: G.A. James, Dhoom 2 / D:2 - Back in Action
Norwegian Drama ‘Sons’ Tops Seattle Film Festival
The winners at the 33rd Seattle International Film Festival were announced this past June 17.
The Norwegian production Sons / Sønner, which sounds like a darker version of Todd Field’s Little Children, was given the New Director Award. The film follows a short-tempered man’s attempts to prevent an alleged sexual predator from targeting his neighborhood’s leisure center. Instead of accomplishing his objective, he ends up making things more dangerous for all involved.
As per the jury’s statement, “Sons completely meets its own objectives and manages to successfully navigate a morally difficult subject matter. Sons is a remarkable debut, combining consummate storytelling ability with a fully realized cinema aesthetic.”
The film was directed by Eric Richter Strand, from a screenplay written by Strand and Thomas Seeberg Torjussen.
Harald Friedl’s documentary Aus der zeit / Out of Time, described as “a look at four old-world Austrian businesses that won’t survive gentrification,” took the best documentary award.
The Seattle festival’s Golden Space Needle Award for best film, voted on by audience members, was given to John Jeffcoat’s American-made romantic comedy Outsourced, about a man (Josh Hamilton) whose job is outsourced to India, where he goes to train his replacement and to – unexpectedly – find romance.
Daniel Waters, who wrote the well-received 1989 comedy Heathers, was voted best director for Sex and Death 101. This U.S. production is described as a “mordant comedy about a successful executive and ladies man whose life is turned upside down by a mysterious email.” Heathers alumna Winona Ryder plays “a femme fatale on a rampage of coma-inducing crimes against sexist men.” Simon Baker co-stars.
The 2007 edition of the Seattle Film Festival screened 405 films (211 narrative feature films, a record 61 documentaries, 12 archival films, four “secret” features, and 117 short films) from 60 countries during the course of 25 days. The festival came to a close last Sunday with a gala presentation of the North American premiere of Laurent Tirard’s Molière, which will be distributed in the U.S. by Sony Pictures Classics. In the cast of this period comedy are Romain Duris (in the title role), Fabrice Luchini, Laura Morante, Éduoard Baer, and Ludivine Sagnier.
The 33rd Seattle International Film Festival was held between May 24-June 17, 2007.
The 33rd Seattle International Film Festival Awards were announced on June 17, 2007.
Jury Award Winners
New Director Award
Grand Jury Prize:Sønner / Sons, Directed by Eric Richter Strand (Norway)
Special Jury Prize: Actress Valerie Donzelli for her performance in the film 7 Years directed by Jean-Pascal Hattu (France)
New American Cinema Award
Grand Jury Prize:Shotgun Stories, written & directed by Jeff Nichols
Special Jury Prize:Lovely By Surprise, directed by Kirt Gunn
Grand Jury Prize:Aus der Zeit / Out of Time, directed by Harald Friedl (Austria)
Special Jury Prize:Angels in the Dust, directed by Louise Hogarth (USA)
Short Film Awards
Grand Jury Prize:Wigald, directed by Timon Modersohn (Germany)
Special Jury Award:Looks Sharp, directed by Amy Gebhardt (Australia)
Special Jury Prize:Pick Up, directed by Manuel Schapira (France)
Grand Jury Prize:Everything Will Be Ok, directed by Don Hertzfeldt (USA)
Honorable Mention:The Girl Who Swallowed Bees, directed by Paul McDermott (Australia)
Grand Jury Prize:Chocolate Country, directed by Robin Blotnick (Dominican Republic/USA)
Special Jury Prize:Freeheld, directed by Cynthia Wade (USA)
Heineken Red Star Award (for “Originality, Innovation and Vision”): Kyrill Mikhanovsky, Fish Dreams (Brazil)
WaveMaker Award for Excellence in Youth Filmmaking:Jewmacian, directed by Melinda Tenenzapf
FutureWave Audience Award:Laundry, directed by Darrow Stettes, Allex Bullard, and Hanna Overman
SIFF 2007 Golden Space Needle Audience Awards
(Winners and runners-up listed according to the number of votes)
Women in Cinema Lena Sharpe Award: Annie Sundberg & Ricki Stern, The Devil Came on Horseback (USA)
Best Film Outsourced, directed by John Jeffcoat (USA) Vitus, directed by Fredi Murer (Switzerland) La Môme / La Vie en Rose, directed by Olivier Dahan (France) The Bubble, directed by Eytan Fox (Israel) Sex and Death 101, directed by Daniel Waters (USA)
Daniel Waters - Sex and Death 101 (USA)
Eytan Fox - The Bubble (Israel)
Frank Oz - Death at a Funeral (UK/USA)
Olivier Dahan - La Môme / La Vie en Rose (France)
John Jeffcoat - Outsourced (USA)
Best Actor Daniel Brühl - Salvador (Spain)
Hugh Dancy - Evening (USA)
François Cluzet - Tell No One (France)
Mads Mikkelson - Prague (Denmark)
Simon Baker - Sex and Death 101 (USA)
Best Actress Marion Cotillard - La Môme / La Vie en Rose (France)
Jordis Triebel - Emma’s Bliss (Germany)
Hannah Herzprung - Four Minutes (Germany) Claire Danes - Evening (USA)
Parker Posey - Broken English (USA)
Best Documentary For the Bible Tells Me So, directed by Daniel Karslake (USA) King of Kong, directed by Seth Gordon (USA) In the Shadow of the Moon, directed by David Sington (UK) The Devil Came on Horseback, directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern (USA) Doubletime, directed by Stephanie Johnes (USA)
Best Short Film Pierre, directed by Dan Brown (USA) Fortune Hunters, directed by Thom Harp (USA) High Maintenance, directed by Phillip Van (USA/Germany) Tommy the Kid, directed by Stuart Clegg (Australia) The Job, directed by Jonathan Browning (USA)
New Directors Jury: Cameron Bailey (writer, broadcaster and programmer for the Toronto International Film Festival), Angelo Acerbi (CEO for the Alba International Film Festival), and Jeremy Kay (Chief U.S. reporter for Screen International)
New American Cinema Jury: Charles Pugliese (Head of Development for Killer Films), Carl Hampe (Director of Acquisition for Warner Independent Pictures), and Nancy Bishop (Editor of Venice Magazine)
Documentary Jury: Emily Woodburne (Director of Theatrical Sales for IFC First Take), Sarah Finklea (Theatrical Booking for Janus Films), and Ella Taylor (film critic with the L.A. Weekly)
Short Film Jury: Virginia Bogert (Seattle Filmmaker), Lya Guerra (film programmer at SXSW), and Misha Neininger (Executive Director of 911 Media Arts Center).