Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Another year’s gone by, faster than a speeding rocket! It was a very eventful and busy year for me, personally and professionally, and I didn’t have much time for Bollywood. I did keep tabs on news and events in the industry, and my favourite Bollywood blogs and websites. It wasn’t a great year for Bollywood in my opinion, it didn’t seem to me that there were a lot of fantastic movies or fresh, creative ideas… but that being said, I really haven’t seen enough of the year’s movies to really have a strong opinion on the overall quality of the industry’s output in 2012.

Because I didn’t have much time to watch films this year, I didn’t do much blogging at all this year… hopefully that will change next year when I get a chance to catch up on my sadly neglected DVD collection! Anyway, this post is basically just to wish anyone who still wanders here by accident Happy Holidays and a very happy, peaceful, successful and prosperous 2013! Here’s hoping it goes well for us all!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Just stopped by to share this...

Poor Dharam-paaji didn't take too kindly to a question from a reporter on why his sons, Sunny and Bobby, were not in attendance at their half-sister Esha's wedding.

Saturday, August 18, 2012


Wow… have I really not posted here since January?

It’s been a whirlwind year so far… sudden losses of family members and dear friends, new and sometimes extreme circumstances both at work and home... I can safely say it’s been one of my most challenging years yet… I can only hope that the worst of it is over, and although I’m still dealing with the aftermath (and will be for a long time to come), hopefully I've come through these experiences stronger, and with valuable lessons learned. It hasn’t all been terrible though… there have been some good moments, and my new location has brought me some unexpected opportunities and given me a chance to develop skills I’ve been wanting to work on for a very long time.

With everything that’s happened, there really hasn’t been much time for watching Bollywood films, which is why I haven’t really had much to blog about here…. I’ve kept tabs on recent industry developments through my favourite blogs and Twitter as usual, but moving away from Lagos last year also meant moving away from the cinemas where I once caught the latest releases. And I haven’t even made a dent in my mammoth pile of unwatched Bollywood DVDs… there just hasn’t been time. I’m hoping to find some (time) though, in the months to come, and to blog some more…. Till then, see you later!

Sunday, January 01, 2012


HAPPY NEW YEAR, everyone!! It's been a while since my last post, and so much has happened in that time... I've moved to a new part of my country, and it's been a really interesting challenge so far.

Last year was fairly quiet on this blog, and the definite highlight for me was DEOL DHAMAKA, organised by Amaluu and Ness, which of course was right up my street… I had so much FUN coming up with Deol-related posts, and reading everyone else’s. I learned so much, laughed so much, and now love Dharmendra even more!

I am really excited about the new year and all that it promises to bring. In just a couple of weeks, I will be in India (yayyy!!) - my second visit after my amazing 2007 trip. A good friend and I will be visiting Delhi and several cities in Rajasthan for 10 days. It should be a very interesting experience, and of course I will come back and tell you all about it.

If any of you are in Delhi and would like to meet up, please do let me know – send an email to the address on my profile…. I love meeting friends from the blogosphere... so far I’ve met Veracious, Nicki, Miss SET, Snazzy, 36, Omohemi, Adura, Cheetarah, and some of my fellow SRK-crazy-fans from twitter. I’ve also come close to meeting Bollywood Deewana and Shell, but those meetings didn’t quite pan out – we will definitely have to make it happen soon. And of course, my wonderful first trip to India was with a lovely young lady I met through blogging, who has now become such a dear friend and sister from another mother. It’s always, always a such a pleasure.

Till next time, take care and enjoy every moment of 2012!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


And here’s Part 2 of the post on Ranbir Kapoor and his onscreen romances….


· Rocket Singh – Salesman of the Year: In 2010, Ranbir won the Filmfare Critics’ Choice Best Actor award for his performances in his three releases from 2009: ‘Wake Up Sid’, ‘Ajab Prem...’ and ‘Rocket Singh’. Impressive as it was that Ranbir had three really good performances in one year, I really don’t think he should have won the award on the strength of all three. While he was good in ‘Ajab Prem...’ and very good in ‘Wake Up Sid’, I personally think his ‘Rocket Singh’ performance was the best of the three and definitely award-worthy. Ranbir disappeared into the character of Harpreet Singh Bedi beautifully, and rendered an understated but powerful performance in this film (directed by Shimit Amin and scripted by Jaideep Sahni).

I like ‘Rocket Singh’ a lot... it’s one of my favourites from Ranbir’s filmography so far. It’s really well-scripted and engaging, and it has wonderful performances from the supporting cast - Manish Chowdhary, D. Santosh, Gauhar Khan, Mukesh Bhatt, Naveen Kaushik and Prem Chopra, with Ranbir doing an excellent job of ‘anchoring’ the cast.


I also really like the film’s subject matter – it’s an engaging and thought-provoking look at many things – the modern-day workplace and the power politics and dynamics within it, the pursuit of self-fulfilment vis-à-vis more ‘practical’ interests, entrepreneurship, education, competition.... I also liked the shades of grey in the story... the fact that we really couldn’t root for the hero in good conscience because he was doing something wrong, and the fact that the villains turned out to be much more than cardboard cut-outs. I liked that we got to see Harpreet grow over time and learn more about himself and the world. Ranbir did a great job of expressing his character’s emotions throughout the film. And of course I loved Ranbir’s look....


But on to Ranbir and his ladylove in this film.... Shimit Amin’s 2007 hit, ‘Chak De! India’ appealed to me for many reasons, but one thing I really liked about Jaideep Sahni’s ‘Chak De!...’ script was that Shahrukh Khan’s character, Kabir Khan, didn’t have a love interest. There was so much to watch in the interaction between Kabir and his hockey team members (who were really nicely fleshed out characters), that a love interest for Kabir was totally unnecessary. I kinda wish Jaideep had similarly resisted the urge to create a love interest for Harpreet in ‘Rocket Singh’. Sherena, played by Shazahn Padamsee, was a cute character, but the film would have been just as good without her.


Sherena and Harpreet had just a couple of scenes (and a montage) together, and while they were an adorable couple, they left no lasting impact. Sherena was sweet, but her character was a bit wet noodle-y; I much preferred the sassier Koena (played by Gauhar Khan), the film’s other main female character (not saying that she and Harpreet should have hooked up, but I loved her).

Also, I didn’t think Shazahn Padamsee’s performance was any great shakes; true, she wasn’t given much to do in ‘Rocket Singh’, but I don’t think she’s a particularly good actress – not yet, at least (an opinion that was strengthened when I saw her again in ‘Dil To Bachcha Hai Ji’)... she’s very pretty but her acting leaves something to be desired.


· Raajneeti: This was the third Ranbir Kapoor movie that I saw on the big screen, and the character of Samar Pratap was Ranbir’s first truly ‘dark’ role, a nice departure from the cheery, carefree kid he played in most of his movies before this one. This was also Ranbir’s first chance to shine in the context of an ensemble cast with acclaimed and established actors, and I think he did an outstanding job and held his own. His character’s transformation from sheltered, geeky academic to Machiavellian, amoral politician was chilling but very seamlessly depicted. I thought this was a really accomplished performance by Ranbir.


While I loved Ranbir’s performance, I did not love his onscreen relationships with his female counterparts in this film. First we met Katrina Kaif, playing Samar’s childhood friend Indu, who despite being in love with Samar, is eventually married off to his brother, Prithviraj… I found the Samar/Indu scenes generally underwhelming and even a bit boring – the Prithviraj/Indu scenes were more interesting, if a little disturbing.


And then we met Sarah Thompson Kane, playing Samar’s American girlfriend, Sarah… I found her scenes opposite Ranbir almost painful. I didn’t think there was much chemistry there, and Sarah’s performance seemed so weak and stilted. That being said, there was so much more going on in ‘Raajneeti’, especially among the male characters in the film (the women in this film mostly got used and abused by the men, sadly), that there really wasn’t much scope for nuanced male/female relationships.


· Anjaana Anjaani: If this film had been shorter and better scripted, it could have been really good. As it is, I made about a hundred abortive attempts to watch it before I was finally able to finish it. It isn’t that it’s a bad film – it’s that it lacks heart and depth. It’s a shame because there was so much potential for more.

Ranbir 5

It’s really hard to feel a lot for the main characters, Kiara (Priyanka Chopra) and Akash (Ranbir), because they are self-absorbed and shallow… and because, with the exception of one very effective scene with Ranbir and the fabulous Tanvi Azmi, you don’t really get the feeling that Kiara and Akash really work through their individual drama in the course of the film. They sort of get to point A to point B without too much messy stuff in between. For a film that goes on for two and a half hours, that’s pretty poor. A good chunk of time was wasted on ineffective scenes that added nothing, and sometimes even hampered the narrative instead of moving thing along. The characters were potentially very interesting, but not explored to the extent that they could have been. Akash had a better arc than Kiara (or maybe Ranbir did a slightly better job with him), but that’s really not saying much. Basically, it could have been much better.


However, it’s not really Priyanka and Ranbir’s fault – I think they both did a very competent job with the material they were given… the material was just a bit two-dimensional. This is a cool-looking film, shot in cool locations with two exceedingly cool people wearing very cool clothes, but it could have been much more than that with a better script.

That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the Ranbir/Priyanka jodi. When I first heard that they would be working together, I actually grimaced – while they are actually the same age (both were born in 1982, Priyanka a couple of months before Ranbir), PC has something really mature about her face, and I just thought she would look so much older opposite Ranbir, who has more boyish features. Of course, that (the leading lady being/looking older than her male counterpart) is not a bad thing in itself, but I felt that the film would probably not suit that look, and… I just thought it would be a mismatch.

I was wrong… Piggy Chops and Ranbir actually looked really good together in this film. The way Priyanka was styled in the film might have a lot to do with this – whereas in a lot of her older work she’s been styled in ways that made her look older than she really is, in ‘Anjaana Anjaani’ she looked fresh-faced and youthful, wearing a really hip, cute array of outfits. The AA team kept her make-up minimal. With a fresh face, fun haircut and the aforementioned wardrobe, she looked beautiful.


And Ranbir, who bulked up a bit (but thankfully not too much) before this film, and who had an equally enviable wardrobe, looked mighty fine too. I thought they complemented each other very well, looks-wise.

Ranbir 3

On other levels, however, their jodi was a little less successful. There were a couple of sexy, smouldering scenes that sort of worked, and their madcap friendship was nicely portrayed overall, but they were just okay together, not great. It could have been worse, and I did like some of their scenes together a lot (especially the ones in which Akash is protective of Kiara), but I don’t think they had a chance to fully explore the potential of their jodi in this film. So I never thought that I would say this, but I would actually like to see Ranbir and Priyanka work together again in the future.

And that’s it… my assessment of Ranbir Kapoor’s onscreen romantic relationships… so far my fave has to be Sid/Aisha from ‘Wake Up Sid’, but I really think Ranbir has been a very good leading man and has worked very well (and played very well – sorry, couldn’t resist!) with his leading ladies so far… and I’m really looking forward to seeing how he fares in the years to come. And as I said at the beginning of Part 1, while I didn’t like the ‘Rockstar’ trailer (mostly ‘thanks’ to Nargis Fakhri’s screeching and Ranbir’s general emo-ness), I will be at my local cinema if and when the movie makes it here. I’m a fan of Ranbir’s acting and I don’t see that changing in the foreseeable future.

So… Happy Birthday, Ranbir… and here’s hoping you continue to have a career as rich and varied as it’s been so far!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

RANBIR KAPOOR & HIS LADIES (no, I don’t mean it that way!)

Of the younger, ‘post-Khan’ generation of actors, Ranbir Kapoor is undoubtedly one of my few firm favourites. I have keenly followed his career since his 2007 debut with ‘Saawariya’, and I have enjoyed his work so much that I have seen all the movies he’s starred in since then. And although the ‘Rockstar’ trailer looks pretty dire to me, I will keep seeing all his movies – because I just really like watching the dude.


Why do I like Ranbir? Many reasons, but here are the top… five:

  • Like his parents before him (who are two of my all-time favourites), there is something very ‘natural’ and engaging about his onscreen demeanour. He has really nice onscreen energy and presence, and a confidence that always comes across without being overbearing.
  • I also think he’s a talented actor with the capacity to keep getting better. He really gets beneath the skins of the characters he chooses to play, and he handles both comedy and drama very well.
  • He’s also a capable dancer – I love a good dancer, and there are precious few in the new crop of Bollywood’s leading men. He gets a lot of goofy, loopy, silly dances, and he’s good at those, but I think he could do more ‘stylised’ stuff equally well.
  • He’s very easy on the eye, of course – I love his looks. I could actually wax quite lyrical on this topic (the gorgeous hooded eyes, the distinctive nose, the athletic physique, etc etc), but I won’t, because I don’t want to nauseate anyone, including myself. Suffice it to say I think Ranbir is extremely good-looking.
  • Also (and I think this is really key to my enjoyment of Ranbir’s work) I love his film choices – I think that unlike many other young actors, he’s been very smart about the roles he’s chosen to play and the people he’s chosen to work with. I’m sure there’s an element of luck in there as well, but I think he’s chosen the right roles with remarkable proficiency. In just 4 years, he already has a really enviable resumé.

While I love Ranbir onscreen, I’m really not a huge fan of his offscreen (public) persona. I don’t enjoy listening to his interviews, for example, because I personally don’t find him particularly witty, interesting or personable in them. I also have lots of thoughts on the way he’s conducted his personal affairs in the public eye, and especially on the whole ‘Koffee with Karan’ thing. No need to go into all that here, but yeah, not a fan of Ranbir’s apparent treatment of his ladyloves offscreen.

Incidentally though, I think his onscreen interaction with his leading ladies so far has been very good. I think that Ranbir does well with romance, not yet on the level of his dad Rishi of course, or on the level of one of the Khans, but I think he could definitely get there with more time and experience. He plays really well opposite the actresses he works with, and makes them look good, and I love that in an actor. His onscreen romantic relationships are nicely depicted for the most part, and this post is all about that…


Saawariya: Bhansali’s flop tale of unrequited love, which I talked about a little here, despite its failings, still managed to be a good launch-pad for the careers of Ranbir Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor.


They both looked gorgeous (even if the characters they played were irritating and Ranbir’s styling sucked). Also, Ranbir had that towel scene, which I will absolutely ’fess up to loving. Their characters didn’t have that much real interaction, though, and what they did have seemed contrived and just not that engaging or memorable. I actually found Ranbir’s interactions with Gulabji, the prostitute played so beautifully by Rani Mukherji, and Lilian (‘Lollipop’), played by Zohra Sehgal, much more appealing.

jtf1n6g0cmpumcu6rani saawariya

Bachna Ae Haseeno: An imperfect film, and the first Ranbir Kapoor movie I saw on the big screen, BAH was Ranbir’s first taste of a slick Yash Raj Films production. And like many recent YRF movies, it got a little bogged down in references to YRF classics from the past, and was a little too glossy for my tastes. Plus Ranbir’s character, Raj, was quite frankly a bit of an ass. That being said, I think Ranbir (as Raj) did a pretty good job of romancing the ladies in this film, losing them due to his immaturity, cowardice and selfishness, and then later trying to make amends.


Raj had three ladyloves in this movie – with the first one, Mahi (Minissha Lamba), it was puppy love, all clean, fresh and fun… until he broke her heart. She went on to nurse her hurt for years, even after marrying and starting a family with the drop-dead gorgeous Joginder (Kunal Kapoor). Raj/Mahi was my least favourite jodi in BAH, because I just didn’t think there was enough depth to their brief relationship to make Mahi lose her joie de vivre and not commit herself fully to her dishy (he was SO fine) and adoring husband, even years later, when she would presumably have been older and wiser. So this one stretched credibility quite a bit for me, but hey, Raj and Mahi were a cute couple while it lasted.


The second leading lady in BAH was the stunning Bipasha Basu – and she was my favourite. Their relationship was much more contemporary and ‘grown-up’, but just when Bipasha’s character, Radhika, started to let her guard down and believe in their relationship, Raj dumped her in just the cruellest way possible. I liked the way their relationship progressed… from the initial attraction, to something deeper, to the betrayal, and then to a grudging (on Radhika’s side) mutual respect. I also loved the fact that when he returned, Radhika put him through the wringer for a bit. I think Bipasha’s performance has a lot to do with my enjoyment of the Raj/Radhika relationship – she brought such ‘realness’ and oomph to her role… she was just fab.


bachna-ae haseeno-bipasha-ranbir-kapoor

BAH’s third leading lady, and the lady with whom Raj had the defining relationship of the movie, was of course with the smart and independent Gayatri (played by Deepika Padukone, whom Ranbir famously started dating shortly before the film’s release). The Raj/Gayatri relationship definitely had the most complexity and honesty to it, but I actually don’t remember that much else about it – they looked good together and had a nice interaction, but for me the Raj/Radhika relationship left more of an impact.


Wake Up Sid: I absolutely love this movie, and the relationship between Ranbir’s titular Sid and Aisha (the wonderful Konkona Sen Sharma) was beautifully portrayed. The movement from friends to roommates to a couple felt so natural and organic, and the credit for that definitely goes to Ayan Mukherjee’s wonderful story and direction, and of course to Ranbir and Konkona for how subtly they conveyed their characters’ feelings and personal development.

Ranbir 6

Ranbir’s portrayal of Sid was excellent, you really felt the character’s lack of clarity and motivation – and you empathised with it and wanted to see him get past it and find some inspiration. It could have been just another shallow depiction of the young loafer that we see so often in Hindi films, but Ranbir took Sid to another level and reminded us that, corny as it sounds, there’s a ‘Sid’ in all of us. Konkona as Aisha was fantastic too – her character reminded me of myself and my friends. And seeing Sid and Aisha come together was such a treat.



There are so many great little moments between Sid and Aisha in the film, crowned perfectly by that gorgeous closing scene. Just writing this makes me want to watch this film again. They were just. so. good.


Ajab Prem Ki Ghazab Kahani: Rajkumar Santoshi’s 2009 screwball comedy was the second Ranbir Kapoor movie that I saw on the big screen, and there are many things I like about it. I love the songs from the film, I like the uniqueness and quirkiness of the story and the characters, and I like that in many ways it’s a bit of a throwback to the goofier Bollywood fare of past decades, which doesn’t get made very often these days.


I really enjoyed Ranbir’s performance in this – his character (Prem) was a really sweet and likeable cornball, and he portrayed him a boyish glee that was so much fun to watch. He also displayed comic timing throughout the film, and the development of his friendship and eventual romance with Jenny (Katrina Kaif) was also really sweet and a fun watch.


I’m not a big fan of Katrina as an actress (although I will give her full props for working hard and being a committed professional), but I think ‘Ajab Prem…’ boasts one of her stronger performances. Jenny was a little tough to buy into as a character (especially the way they dressed her – I think they were going for ‘young and innocent’ but I found it just a little silly), but Katrina managed to convey the naïveté of the character in a way that worked well and didn’t cloy. She displayed really good comic timing as well. All told, I really enjoyed watching Ranbir and Katrina together in this one.


Since this is getting a little long, Part II of this post will be up on Wednesday, which also happens to be Ranbir’s 29th birthday....

Friday, August 19, 2011


It's been a while since I've been here... I haven't been watching lots of films these days, although I do manage to squeeze a few in here and there - recent viewings include 'Caravan', 'Chalo Dilli' and 'Break Ke Baad'; there's been so much other stuff going on.

I was so saddened by Shammi Kapoor's recent passing, and reading the warm, heartfelt tributes to him brought tears to my eyes. I have grown to like him and his work very much in the past couple of years, thanks in large part to reading Memsaab's blog. I've discovered that in his performances, he was able to portray joy, wonder, romance, deep emotion... all those things that make up cinematic magic, so very beautifully. I've also learnt a lot about the full, adventurous life he lived - the mischief he got up to, the people he loved and worked with, and his passion for what he did. I have only seen a handful of his movies, and now I'm looking forward to seeing a lot more. I've also been watching his lovely Youtube videos, which I would highly recommend... they are just so full of his charm and warmth. They sure don't make 'em like that anymore... truly a legend. I will definitely be doing some more posts about Shammi in the coming months.

I also wanted to share this lovely quote from the gorgeous Leena Chandavarkar (who co-starred with Dharmendra in 'Rakhwala' (1971) (quite a fun movie if you ever come across it) about Dharam's kindness to her when her husband lay dying in hospital in the late 70s:

"At a time like this, I will never forget Dharmendra. There are some people who have godliness in them and I think he is one of them. While Siddharth was fighting for his life in hospital, the doctors said he needed a life saving drug, which would be able to digest protein. I don’t know what made me call Dharmendra. Even as a young girl, I had always thought of him as strong and dependable. Prakashji answered the phone and immediately put her husband on. While I was trying to explain how serious Siddharth was, he said, ‘Never mind that, just spell out the name of the drug and I will try and get it as fast as possible’. The drug was Tracilol, only available in London. I don’t know how he managed it but within a few hours, he got it for me. Siddharth died 11 months later. But at that time, Dharmendra really went out of his way. I shall always remain grateful to him."

Source: http://cineplot.com/leena-chanavarkar-memories/ (the entire interview is a great read - thanks to my friend Ang for sharing.)

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I’ve just returned to Lagos, the crazy city I call home, from an AMAZING 5-city working vacation that featured lots of quality time with special friends and family, time spent learning new skills, some sightseeing, and a few days experiencing the sheer, glorious madness of IIFA 2011 in Toronto. IIFA crowned a whirlwind of crazy, frenetic activity for me, and it was SO memorable.

Although I left Toronto right before the big awards night on Saturday, I was able to attend the IIFA Rocks event on Friday night, which simply rocked!! I was also able to meet some of my fellow SRK fans from Twitter (which was very special), and to spend some time watching stars go by at the Fairmont Royal York hotel, where all the Bollywood stars stayed during the IIFA festivities. I saw so many of them, and I have to say they all looked pretty great! Boman Irani looked so tall and handsome! Ranveer Singh was so warm and friendly with the fans. Mahie Gill is tiny… and she was shy, or nervous, or something. Sonu Sood is an absolute HUNK (fanning self). And so on….

Please don’t ask me what these acrobats were about, because I don’t remember. Pretty cool though.

I’m sure some of the other Bollybloggers that attended the IIFA events in Toronto will have lots to share on their blogs, mostly about the awards night and the red carpet party with Shah Rukh Khan and Vivek Oberoi on Friday night (which I hear was amazing), but I figure there won’t be too many blog posts about the IIFA Rocks event (since most people were at the aforementioned SRK/VO party that night)… so here I am, sharing my impressions and pictures of IIFA Rocks….

(Warning: I will probably use the word ‘amazing’ about a gazillion times in this post. Bear with me please; sometimes it’s the only word that fits!)

The massive crowd at Ricoh Coliseum

IIFA Rocks had something for everyone – great fashion, stars aplenty, music, dance, and even awards – the IIFA technical awards (sound, editing, costume design, special effects etc) were handed out (the big winners were ‘Robot’, ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ and ‘Dabangg’). The technical awards were handed out mostly by actors – Anil Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Shah Rukh Khan, Bipasha Basu, Malaika Arora Khan, Arbaaz Khan, Sonu Sood... and many more. And there were many other Bollywood celebs that just came to watch the festivities.

Malaika ‘Munni’ Arora Khan and hubby Arbaaz prepare to present an award as the hosts of the night look on

It was a pretty funny (and telling) moment when Shah Rukh Khan was making his way backstage to prep for presenting an award, and at the same time, it was announced that Niharika Khan had won the award for Best Costume Design for ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’... as Niharika was making her way to the stage to receive her award, she got pretty close to King Khan (who of course was pretty close to the front as well), and of course his hulking bodyguards, thinking she wanted to talk to or touch SRK, asked her to step aside. The poor lady tried to explain that she had just won an IIFA award, but they just moved on. A nice little dinner party anecdote for her!

Can you spot SRK, Rakesh Roshan, Hema Malini, Esha Deol, Riteish Deshmukh, Genelia D’Souza in this picture?

There was a huge crowd at Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum, and everyone was super-excited, dressed sooo stylishly, and raring to go!! Some stars were already seated, and every time a star’s face showed up on the big screen, a roar would go up from the audience. Some celebs, usually (I noticed) those who aren’t exactly on the A-list right now (e.g. Ameesha Patel, Zayed Khan) got VERY excited when the crowds cheered for them, while others (e.g. SRK – who of course got the loudest cheers, Riteish Deshmukh, Anil Kapoor) accepted their cheers and acknowledged the crowds more graciously. Fun!

Anil Kapoor, he who never gets older

I was impressed by how well-organised the event was. It did start late, but not ridiculously so, and once it got started, it went like clockwork. Great planning by Wizcraft and great execution by their team and all the sponsors, participants and volunteers. Although I was in the cheap seats, I had a pretty great view of both the stage and the stars in their front row seats. I looked at the big screen from time to time, but not a whole lot, as I could actually see pretty much everything clearly from where I was sitting, which was great. I loved my seat, and even though I kinda wished I could have shared the experience with a friend or two, I had an amazing time dancing hard to the Bollywood beats and cheering for all the stars.

Karan Johar and Anushka Sharma were introduced as the night’s hosts, and I think they both did an outstanding job. We all know Karan Johar is an excellent host with his ready wit and good sense of humour – I think he could probably present a show like this in his sleep, but Anushka’s eloquence and poise was a revelation. Just as with her first onscreen performance in ‘Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi’, there was no indication that she was doing this for the first time. Her confidence was supreme, she read off the prompter without looking like she was reading off a prompter, she adlibbed nicely here and there, and she generally did a great job of effortlessly complementing Karan… and she looked absolutely gorgeous doing it!!

Anushka and her winning smile

Saif Ali Khan was originally pegged to host, and I personally am glad he couldn’t make it and got replaced by Karan and Anushka. They made a great pair. I liked when Anushka teased Karan over the fact that ‘Band Baaja Baaraat’ won more technical awards than ‘My Name Is Khan’, and when Karan joked that we were making him and Anushka feel irrelevant by ignoring them in order to scream whenever a star’s face was displayed on the big screens.

I love the funny faces here!

Composers and musicians Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, who had a great band and were amazing performers throughout the show, kicked things off nicely with a stonking performance of ‘Laung da Lishkara’ from ‘Patiala House’. Up next was Jermaine Jackson with a spirited tribute to his late brother Michael. I loved every minute of this, from ‘Can You Feel It’ to ‘Scream’ to ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Something’. I could not stop dancing and singing along – I LOVE those songs!! Then Sonu Niigaam joined Jermaine onstage and they sang a moving duet, an original song written by Sonu. I thought it was beautiful and very nicely done….

The first fashion collection of the night belonged to the talented Rajesh Pratap Singh, who showcased a beautiful collection of clean-cut, extremely wearable clothes… lots of black (which I love), beautiful tailoring, strong lines, some glitz, and distinctive prints (vibrant but ‘grown folk’ stuff). I loved his use of earth colours and a rose motif which should have looked a bit played-out but actually looked fresh and young. I also loved his dark, long velvet jackets and coats on both men and women. Stunning collection! His models walked to ‘Main Doon Hon’, ‘Rock On’ and ‘Aaj Ki Raat’ (one of my faves!) performed by S-E-L, and I loved it.

I also loved the diversity of his models – it was great to see models of different races wearing his designs – and thankfully, this was a theme throughout the night. His showstoppers were some cricketer guy (Brett something or other, I think), Rahul Khanna and Zayed Khan. Rahul seemed kinda bashful up there on the ramp, which was so adorable and cute (aawww!!!), and Zayed was flamboyant and all over the place, which was also cute in a very different way. They looked great!

At this point Bipasha Basu walked pretty close to my part of the arena, looking fierce in a TINY (and I do mean TINY) sequined black dress – and it struck me that, like her dress, Ms Basu is pretty tiny – I mean, you see her in pictures and onscreen, and she looks a lot more... substantial... than she actually is... she is pretty compact really, but her body is absolute perfection – all those hours in the gym have definitely paid off! Another tiny woman, Dia Mirza, performed next – her dancing was not great, but she had loads of charm, energy and such a fun attitude onstage... I really enjoyed her performance.

Tiny Bipasha in her tiny black dress

The next fashion segment belonged to American retailer The Bay, one of the sponsors of the IIFA Rocks event. The clothes were predictably lovely and classic, and the models walked to S-E-L’s ‘Uff Teri Adda’ and ‘Paint It Red’. The only real surprise of the collection was the addition of a few luxe pieces that looked really glam... the final one being a glittery column worn to perfection by Neha Dhupia, who was the perfect showstopper.

Up next was one of my favourite parts of the night – an energetic romp of a performance by RDB and Mindy Kaur (along with some fab backup dancers). I just LOVED Mindy’s fierce attitude, energy and cool confidence... she really brought the heat. They performed remixes of ‘Kambakkht Ishq’, ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’ and some other song I don’t know. It was so much fun... I just could not stop dancing!

The fabulous Mindy Kaur and RDB

There was a very moving performance by Salim-Sulaiman of their original songs from the upcoming movie ‘Azaan’, which will star some newbie Sachin something-or-other. The movie did not look particularly great from the trailer, but I loved the performance of the songs – really lovely. And wow... Salim Merchant has SUCH a beautiful voice – I didn’t really realise that until I heard him sing live.

Up next was a collection of jewelry by Vikram Phadnis for Gitanjali... it was very ornate stuff, beautiful, but I felt I had seen it all before... then Sonakshi livened things up for me as the gorgeous and poised showstopper. I love her regal carriage... all the other models just seemed to pale in comparison. She was utterly fantastic. When Karan and Anushka came back, Karan commented on how beautiful Sonakshi was, and I am pretty sure I hearda tiny trace of envy in Anushka’s voice as she agreed with him!

Sonakshi's regal posture is evident even from this angle

Up next was Sonu Niigaam, who had amazing energy onstage along with that gorgeous voice – he really is a great live performer and I enjoyed every moment of it... I didn’t know most of the songs he did, but I loved it all... and when he did ‘Tumse Milke’ from ‘Main Hoon Na’, I was in ecstasy!

Mallika Sherawat was next with a smokin’ hot performance... she was sultry, flirty and fun, and I enjoyed it....

Mallika doing her thang

.. and then it was time for the final fashion show of the night... by the genius that is Sabyasachi. I love his designs, so I was so excited! This was a beautiful collection... he brought the drama with a collection that was strong, striking, even fierce at times... but still wearable. The clothes were bold but still graceful and feminine... beautiful.

I love the way Sabyasachi mixes bold colour blocking and stripes with delicate, elegant florals and some really intricate, rich detailing... and somehow he manages to pull it all together and make it look coordinated and so unique. As S-E-L and their band performed ‘Kajra Re’, the final showstopper of the night, a dazzling Bipasha, who has lost NONE of her modelling mojo (the other models simply seemed to fade away), sashayed out onto the stage to crown the collection and the event. There was a funny moment when Sabyasachi came out and Bips tried to dance with him but he adamantly (and obviously unhappily) refused. Poor Bips – it was a little awkward, as she returned to dancing by herself!

Bips shows 'em how it’s done

S-E-L and their band ended the night perfectly with a rousing performance of ‘Jhoom Barabar Jhoom’... all the night’s performers jumped onstage and ‘jhoomed’ away... so much fun... and then it was all over....

I had such a fabulous time! What a night!!!