| Sabsey Favourite Nayi Heroine Vidya Balan and Naya Hero Kunal KapoorRani Mukherjee (Clockwise from top) Udita Goswami and Kunal Khemu dance away; Fardeen Khan in performance; Tanushree Dutta does her stuff
They didn't go out in the sun to campaign but Bollywood still managed to garner a cool 8.5 lakh votes in the last couple of months. At the end, a country addicted to the screen again chose its Sabsey Favourite stars, unveiled by organisers STAR Gold at a gala in the Hyatt Regency ballroom in Mumbai on Sunday evening.
Playing host for the third time was Arshad Warsi, only this time he was joined on stage by wife Maria Goretti. And that sure did make a difference. Giving the world a glimpse of their household hostilities, Arshad and Maria swore at each other throughout the two-hour-long show. 'A married man is like being under the Nepal regime ' there is no freedom of speech,' declared Arshad, to applause from all the married men in the audience, parked sat in round tables with wine glasses and hors d'oeuvre a la the Golden Globe.
During gaps in the Warsi household spats, some scintillating performances kept eyes glued to the stage. UK band Trickbaby, that recently did the title track of Pyare Mohan, performed its hits from Bluffmaster! ' everything from Parde ke peechhe to Sabse bada rupaiyya. Himesh Reshammiya's nose job did the trick again as Udita Goswami and Kalyug leading man Kunal Khemu danced to his hits like Soniye and Jhalak dikhlaja. Khemu was the surprise act, drawing applause loud and long as his rubber body skipped and jumped around the stage.
The funnymen from The Great Indian Comedy Show, Vinay Pathak and Suresh Menon, came up with their versions of how the remakes of Don and Amar Akbar Anthony would look and sound.
Tanushree Dutta then joined the men in black for some naacha-gaana even as she sizzled on her own to the trademark Aashiq Banaya Apne chartbusters.
The star performance of the evening came from Fardeen Khan. Touted as his first post-marriage on-stage act, FK Jr. was in top gear, dancing to his songs from Ek Khiladi Ek Haseena. He even seemed to have lost the weight he had gained after his big fat wedding last year.
Although the eventual list of winners turned out to be quite predictable, the percentage and margins of victory made for some interesting reading.
Hot on the success of Rang De Basanti, Meenaxi man Kunal Kapoor won the Sabse Favourite Naya Hero trophy with 32.88 per cent votes. The other Kunal, Kunal Khemu was close behind with 27.39 per cent votes ahead of the other three contenders Abhay Deol, Karan Sharma and Shreyas Talpade.
'I must have formulated 10 million speeches while watching other people win but here as I win my first award, I can't remember a thing,' Kunal Kapoor flashed the now-famous smile.
Vidya Balan made sure that the Sabse Favourite Nayi Heroine category wasn't that keenly contested. Parineeta's Lolita won by a thumping 46.54 per cent vote count ahead of Katrina Kaif, Koena Mitra, Isha Sarvani and Tanushree Dutta. Receiving the award from last year's winner Ayesha Takia, Vidya said: 'Every award is special but this one more so because the people have voted in to make me win.'
Paresh Rawal completed a hat-trick as the Sabse Favourite Comic Hero (with 42.11 per cent votes) and this time too, he wasn't present to receive the trophy. Rajpal Yadav lost out but was sporting enough to pick up the trophy and reveal that he himself would have voted for Pareshji.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali was there in black to receive yet another award for Black (39.44 votes). Accepting the Sabse Favourite Film award, the director said: 'Despite not having any popular elements like comedy or sex or action, Black was able to win so many hearts.'
Rani Mukherjee in red stayed back long enough to receive her second back-to-back trophy ' with 23.86 per cent votes ' for Sabsey Favourite Heroine. No surprises in the speech here. 'I would like to thank all my fans and I will never let them down,' she seemed to rattle off almost mechanically.
John Abraham won the Sabsey Tez Sitara award. While he couldn't be present to pick his trophy, his mother did the honours with John sending a message: 'This award means I am not the most favourite hero but whoever he is, I am right on his back.'
That 'he' turned out to be Shah Rukh Khan, who won the Sabsey Favourite Hero ' with 19.86 per cent votes ' for the third time in a row. In a specially-shot video clip from the sets of Don in Malaysia, King Khan said: 'This is the first hat-trick of my life and I promise all my fans that I will work even harder. And the next time, I will be in Mumbai to receive the award, if I win it.'
You can catch all the action plus a surprise performance this Sunday on STAR Gold from 8 pm.