by Bobbi Taxali

 Tampa, Florida: The 15th TATA Motors International Indian Film Awards (IIFA) finally made its premiere in the United States at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, April 24th through the 26th. It was an action packed weekend starting with events like IIFA Rocks, which showcased India’s most celebrated Bollywood stars, musical artists and fashion icons. The IIFA Technical Awards: Magic of the Movies, which celebrated winners behind the scenes, and the final most anticipated night, with the Green Carpet (swapping Red to pay homage to environmental concerns) and star-studded IIFA Awards ceremony.

Like any Bollywood movie, the IIFA awards, were colorful, extravagant, and well let’s just say a tad bit long, approximately five hours, however, the hosts, the adorable Shahid Kapoor and very handsome and talented Farhan Akhtar, definitely gave the audience what they wanted to see, a true Bollywood show with lots of song, dance and comical audience interactions, not to mention a couple of group celebrity “selfies” similar to what Ellen DeGeneres recently did at the 2014 Oscar Award Show.

It was a great combination of Hollywood meets Bollywood. Actors John Travolta and Kevin Spacey seemed to enjoy their time hanging and dancing with Bollywood’s biggest stars. John Travolta gave everyone a Saturday Night Fever-grooving with Priyanka Chopra on stage as he danced to “Tune Mari Entriyan” from the movie, Gunday.  John Travolta received the “Most Popular All Time International Star in India” award presented by India’s very own talented actor–who has some amazing moves himself– Hrithik Roshan. John Travolta is fascinated by Indian cinema, and stated, “I recently saw the Romeo and Juliet one, Ram-Leela: in that the first musical number was wow! I love the actress in the film (Deepika Padukone) – she is amazing. So I find Hindi films very original and full of life. They capture your attention unlike any other film, and it has a universal theme, so yes I am a big fan of Hindi films.” Travolta also stated that he was approached by Director Shekhar Kapur for an upcoming role in the director’s much awaited Paani.

Kevin Spacey, sported a lungi (Indian apparel, often worn by males in India’s southern region), showed off his Bollywood moves to the song “Lungi Dance” with the hosts and the gorgeous Deepika Pandokone, who was presented with the “Best Entertainer of the Year Award” award, for the 2013 blockbuster hit Chennai Express.

Another great surprise was a performance of the young acapella band, Penn Masala, whose recent music video went viral, “Evolution of Bollywood”.

It is not a Bollywood show unless there are dance performances…from Priyanka Chopra dancing to a medley of song titles from her movies, like “Desi Girl” from the movie Dostana, to Hrithik Roshan, dancing to his some of his title tracks like “Bhoomro Bhoomro”, “Senorita” and “Dhoom,” amongst others. However, the legendary and beautiful Madhuri Dixit Nene captivated the audience with her amazing performance to songs like, “Ek Do Teen” and “Dola Re Dola,” and stole the show!

The winners of the night included, Shatrughan Sinha for the Lifetime Achievement Award. Best Performance in a Leading Role (Female) went to Deepika Padukone.  Bhaag Milka Bhaag seemed to sweep many of the awards for the night; Farhan Akhtar, for Best Performance in Leading Role (Male). Best Director award went to Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra, and Best Movie also went to Bhaag Milka Bhaag. The legendary Milkha Singh was present and extremely proud to see the recognition and success of the movie.

Make sure to check out the IIFA Awards, airing soon on Starz Plus!

Pictures courtesy of IIFA/Wizcraft Entertainment

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