Starry night, funny night

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By The Laughter Champions together with the best of Bollywood bods made the STAR Screen Awards an evening to remember, reports Pratim D. Gupta
  • Published 13.01.06

Flights were missed, appointments postponed and dates delayed on Wednesday evening as the all-important Western Express highway came to a standstill. Reason: The year?s first big Bollywood awards was being played out at the NSE Grounds in Goregaon. The annual STAR Screen Awards was every bit the star-spangled razzmatazz meant to kickstart another year of unabashed entertainment.

With Mumbai as the theme, the elaborate set brought alive city landmarks like Victoria Terminus, Haji Ali and Siddhivinayak Temple on the same stage. With billboards of some of the 2005 blockbusters punctuating the skyline, Sajid Khan and Dia Mirza played host-and-dost for the four-odd hours that celebrated tinsel magic at its brightest.

The biggest names of Bollywood walked the red carpet, some unexpectedly early, others fashionably late. If Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Abhishek Bachchan had their mothers in tow, Saif Ali Khan had a sari-clad Rosa giving him company. The Iqbal and Parineeta teams stuck together, in celebration and frustration, in wins and losses. Kajol made a surprise entry but that had more to do with Veeru Devgan ? ?He?s a fantastic father-in-law? ? winning the lifetime achievement award, especially with hubby Ajay missing in awards action a la Aamir.

But surprise, surprise it was the small-screen heroes who all but stole the show from the big-screen giants. Five outstanding stand-up acts by STAR One?s Laughter Champions turned out to be the toast of the ceremony. If Raju Srivastava?s taxi driver Gajodhar Dewari made Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh swing to and fro with laughter in his front-row seat, Naveen Prabhakar?s enactment of bar dancer Julie ? ?Pehchana kaun?? ? was hilarious. Ehsaan Qureshi was in his musical mode as traffic hawaldar Mama while Sunil Pal lived up to expectations playing the struggling actor Babu with energetic elan.

The evening, of course, would have been incomplete without the paisa-vasool performances by the Bollywood biggies. When Shilpa Shetty paraded to the beats of It?s raining men in the remixed version of the Fareb track Baras ja, Geri Haliwell could have done with a tip or two from aamchi mulgi. When she shimmered in the black-and-silver number to Deedar de, it was evident why she had once captured UP and Bihar just with her jhatkas.

If Shilpa rocked, Bipasha Basu turned on the heat even more, swaying provocatively to the No Entry title track. It would take some time for the Mallikas of the world to match up to the moves of our Bong bombshell. Right now, Bips pips the rest to the glam-girl post. Period. Tanishaa again played the protagonist in the ?mystery of the missing clothes?, inspired by her lingerie show in Neal ?N? Nikki. Thankfully, Mumbai is not half as cold as Delhi, otherwise the poor babe would have surely caught pneumonia.

From Tanishaa to Tanushree, the Jharkand girl didn?t exactly do a Kareena Kapoor but was all Chocolate as she pranced around to songs from the Vivek Agnihotri film. Zayed Khan did all he could, jumping from heights, doing summersaults and what not, but the telly queens parading around him proved to be the real showstealers ? Juhi Parmar, Shilpa Saklani, Shweta Tiwari and Surveen Chawla.

But the best performance of the evening came from Akshay Kumar, who was given a special award for Best Editor. No that?s not a typo. That was Akki?s way of getting back at all the media reports claiming he chops out portions of other stars? material from his movies. He went on to thank his hairdresser (for providing the scissors), his chaiwallah (for tea support) and durwan (for keeping his co-stars at bay) before dancing to Garam masala.

There were more serious special awards that went to Ayesha Kapoor (Black), Shreyas Talpade (Iqbal) and Sachin Khedekar (Bose ? The Forgotten Hero). Iqbal claimed both the supporting actor awards ? veteran Naseeruddin Shah in the male bunch and young Shweta Prasad among the ladies. ?Ma eta tomar jonnye,? smiled the half-Bengali Shweta, who also celebrated her birthday on Wednesday.

Four babes and a boy: Zayed Khan dances to Dus bahaane with TV stars Shilpa Saklani, Surveen Chawla, Shweta Tiwari and Juhi Parmar

The two coveted technical awards went to Black ? cinematography (Ravi K. Chandran) and sound (Rasool Pookutty). Nagesh Kukunoor got the Best Story trophy for Iqbal while Prakash Jha?s Apaharan won the Best Screenplay and Best Action awards. The music awards were a mixed bag. Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghoshal won the playback singer honours for Dheera jalna (Paheli) and Piyu bole (Parineeta). Gulzar?s poetry in Naam Ada likhna (Yahaan) won him the Best Lyrics trophy while Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy won Best Music for Bunty Aur Babli.

Mamma’s man: Abhishek with Jaya Bachchan

Of the 11 male newcomers in 2005, Shiney Ahuja won the Best Debut Actor for Hazaaron Khawishein Aisi while Vidya Balan topped the 14 female debutantes for Parineeta. As many as 28 directors made their first films last year, but it was finally Pradeep Sarkar who bagged the Best Debut Director award for Parineeta. ?Debut award at 51?? he laughed. ?Ab nahin hota to kab hota??

Nana Patekar wasn?t present to collect his award for the Best Actor in a Negative Role for Apaharan. Abhishek endeared himself to every Bengali in the audience by thanking (cinematographer) ?Avik-da? (Mukhopadhyay) for his Best Actor in a Comic Role win for Bunty Aur Babli.

To find out if the four popular awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Best Film) was a Black-out or not, catch the STAR Screen Awards this weekend on STAR Plus. The Red Carpet is on Saturday at 9 pm while the main awards ceremony is on Sunday at 7 pm.