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King and queen of hearts

In its fourth year, STAR Gold’s Sabsey Favourite Kaun Awards not only went international, it also went outdoors. The awards, easily the best-available measure to gauge the popularity of Bollywood stars, was till the last edition limited to Indian towns and cities and it used to happen at a Hyatt banquet room amidst a very closed group of invitees.

But this time, on December 17, it not only took into account the many NRI votes from Dubai to Dublin but also became a more flamboyant affair at the Sea Side Lawns of the Taj Lands End in Bandra.

Here’s the lowdown on the high-flying evening that rode a whopping 12.85 lakh vote count from 66 countries across the globe.

Performances

Awards night performances today are about actors and actresses, item girls and item boys, who have got the maximum number of hits in a given year. So, it wasn’t surprising to see Bipasha Basu leading the pack. What with Beedi and Namak issak ka to fall (read flaunt) back on. But it was the No Entry title track which took the cake and the claps.

Host for the evening Ayesha Takia, who had won the Nayee Heroine award last year, had performed for the first time ever on the Sabsey Favourite stage a couple of years back. On Sunday it was the turn of Shiney Ahuja to perform for the first time on stage. But he performed very little. Swaying and smiling more than actually swivelling or shaking, Shiney was quite a disappointment as he lip-synced his Gansgter and Woh Lamhe numbers.

If Bipasha rocked, the other Bong, Koena, kicked! Revisiting Saki saki, the Gladrags glam doll gyrated to her Apna Sapna Money Money..' tracks with co-star Shreyas Talpade in tow. A set of young and very young kids got together to pay tribute to the top five films of the year. High on energy and enthusiasm, it was an electric medley that hit a bindaas note with Pathshala and a patriotic pitch with Bande mein tha dum.

But the performance of the night belonged to Akshay Kumar who paid a special tribute to director Priyadarshan by playing his Sabse Favourite Fan. Before setting the stage on fire with his “money medley” — songs from Priyan films like Hera Pheri and Bhagam Bhag — he did a lovely televised skit where he refused to come to the show without his pay cheque. “Priyan Sir keeps making everyone laugh through his movies; I thought if I can make him laugh for a change…” chuckled Akki. In terms of its fun content, it was perhaps second only to the hilarious one-liners of the comic trio Ranvir Shorey, Vinay Pathak and Suresh Menon, who joined Ayesha at different stages on the host podium.

Winners

There were no real surprises in the winners list and the popularity toppers only reiterated the star hierarchy in Bollywood. The winning newbies included Kunal Khemu and Soha Ali Khan who won the Sabsey Favourite Naya Hero and Sabsey Favourite Nayi Heroine awards. Kunal’s earnest Kalyug performance and Soha’s sensitive turn in Rang De Basanti tipped the scales in their favour ahead of other primary contenders like Shiney Ahuja and Konkona Sen Sharma.

Priyanka Chopra, who is easily the most visible leading lady of the year with hits like Krrish and Don under her shapely belt, won the Sabsey Tez Sitara award. Katrina Kaif was the other face (body, if you please) in the running in this category.

Paresh Rawal warded off a resilient Arshad Warsi to defend his Sabsey Favourite Comic Hero title. And it was good to see the otherwise missing funnyman in attendance at an awards do.

To accept the Sabsey Favourite Film award, a sizeable chunk of the Lage Raho Munnabhai team took the stage. From director Rajkumar Hirani and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra to music men Shantanu Moitra and Swanand Kirkire and even Dia Mirza, it was one big happy family.

“We are just happy and thankful that people went out to watch a film like Lage Raho Munnabhai,” said an emotional Chopra.

Karan Johar won a special trophy for the evening — Sabsey International Film-maker award. “I don’t make my films for NRIs, but for Indians everywhere,” clarified KJo. “It’s just that everyone gets attached to their roots via my cinema and I can make that creative connect.”

She may be playing the hide-and-shun game with the media but when it came to the audiences, Rani Mukherjee continued to reign supreme. Winning the Sabsey Favourite Heroine award, Rani was as short (curt to be precise) as possible even as she sizzled in a breezy olive green top.

“This is my third win in a row and since this time it has gone international I want to thank my fans all over the world for their support,” she said in a matter-of-fact manner.

The Sabsey Favorite Hero wasn’t that measured in his speech. Shah Rukh Khan was in his usual I-am-the-King elements. “Thank God I could make it here on time,” he announced straightaway, well aware that the Bandra venue was a whisper away from his Mannat mansion.

Then he went on to add in his inimitable style: “I know the organisers of these awards are friends and I am being rewarded very well for KBC by STAR, but we will not get into that. I love winning awards and they make me feel younger. And if I shave this beard, you will find out that I am still young!”

Catch all the action of the evening on STAR Gold on December 30 at 8 pm.

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