Originally published in Images, Dawn – Pakistan

Spanish Central Capital, Madrid, was taken over by Bollywood’s crème de la crème from June 23rd to 25th 2016, who had come together to celebrate Indian cinema with The International Indian Film Academy for IIFA Weekend 2016.

Contrary to the popular belief, IIFA celebrations are spread over a weekend, instead of just an evening gala to hand out awards.

We attended the glamorous event and are about to dish out all the juicy details for you. Are you ready to get up close and personal with all your favourite stars from across the border?


Held on June 23rd 2016 at The Westin Palace, Madrid, IIFA hosted the opening press conference to unveil the 17th edition of the Videocon D2H IIFA Weekend and the NEXA IIFA Awards. It was attended by most of the performers for IIFA Rocks and IIFA Awards, including Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Shahid Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Karan Johar, Sonakshi Sinha and our very own Fawad Khan.

During the event, Anil Kapoor’s son, Harshvardhan Kapoor was also launched with his debut film, Mirzya. It is directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, with Gulzar Sahb’s screenplay and music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. The movie is based on Mirza and Sahiba’s tragic love story, and is set in rural Rajasthan. Its trailer was premiered for the very first time that evening, and looked very promising.

Moreover, whenever celebrities come together, there is a roomful of gossip and entertainment. This press conference was no different. From estranged Priyanka and Shahid sharing a stage and Deepika straightening her dress (and accidentally touching her bum), to Salman Khan picking on Hollywood’s latest entrants – Deepika and Priyanka in good humour, it was eventful to say the least. And very entertaining.


IIFA truly celebrates the entire film industry, instead of only focusing on those we see on screen. IIFA Rocks is a testament of it, for it celebrates music and awards technical personnel who make films like Bajirao Mastani and Bajrangi Bhaijaan a blockbuster.

The evening was hosted by Karan Johar and Fawad Khan, with Manish Paul as a guest host; musical treats included performances by noted music director-composer-singer Pritam, the melodious sounds from Kanika Kapoor with Meet Brothers, Benny Dayal and Neeti Mohan, among others. In addition, national-award winner Monali Thakur with Papon serenaded the audience.

Alongside the gamut of musical acts and performances, the distinguished Indian Fashion Designer Vikram Phadnis showcased a breathtaking Fashion Show. His collection, reflecting midnight with sparkling stars, comprised voluminous skirts with Padnis’ signature embroidery, capes, peplum tops with understated zippers, ruffles, pleated statements – it embodied all trends for the upcoming season on one collection.

Top 5 Moments from IIFA Rocks:

  1. Diljit Dosanjh, who made his Hindi film industry debut with Udta Punjab, jammed on stage with Pritam Chakraborty, and left the audience in awe. His energy was contagious, and his demeanour clearly spoke of his respect and dedication to his profession. He’s one to look out for!
  2. Neha Dhupia walks down the green carpet in Marks & Spencer, and looked STUNNING. She wore a white jumpsuit with sunny yellow cape, smokey eyes, nude lips and hair pulled back in a low ponytail.
  3. Fawad Khan earned 10/10 for Bollywood’s leading ladies in the romance department. Frieda Pinto was duly impressed, Sonakshi Sinha faked a swoon and Deepika Padukone went down on her knees in reverence of Indian cinema’s latest chocolate boy.
  4. Vikram Phadnis brought Sanju Baba (aka Sanjay Dutt) out as a showstopper, along with Bipasha Basu, Karan Singh Grover, Athiya Shetty and Dia Mirza. Talk about squad goals!
  5. The thumka queen, Shilpa Shetty, took the stage by storm and performed to a medley of her super-hit songs. And swayed her hips until the audience’s cheer drowned the music. By the way, do you know she has a record of 84 thumkas in one minute?


Two massive blockbusters, but only one could take it all home. IIFA Awards were highly anticipated as they were the last before the season concluded, and would finally decide who’s the winner.

Green carpet for the event, however delayed, was buzzing with glitz and glamour. Amongst the best dressed were Priyanka Chopra in Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Priyanka Chopra in Schiaparelli Couture, Bipasha Basu and Sonakshi Sinha in Abujani Sandeep Khosla, and Bhumni Pednekar in Shantanu & Nikhil. Bollywood’s men weren’t too far behind on style meter, with Fawad Khan in Republic by Omar Farooq, Ranveer Singh in Tom Ford, Karan Johar in Manish Malhotra and Hrithik Roshan in a customised Troy Costa leading the pack.

The event, hosted by Pappu and Raju (also known as Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar), saw some of the most stunning (and expensive) performances IIFA has ever staged – Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Deepika Padukone, Priyanka Chopra, Sonakshi Sinha and Tiger Shroff are some of the stars that took to the stage and performed to their respective hits. Sonakshi Sinha, however, danced to Sridevi’s legendary Hawa Hawaii (and other songs) as a special tribute to silver screen’s original superstar.

What made the performances and experiences even more extraordinary was the stage production and theatrics. Screen projection was taken to a whole new level, with props and set design par excellence.

Top 5 Moments from NEXA IIFA Awards 2016:

  1. Sooraj Pancholi almost choked on emotions when accepting his award for ‘IIFA Jodi of the Year’ with Athiya Shetty. He dedicated the award to Salman Khan, and thanked him for discovering, supporting and helping him get where he was. It even got industry’s ‘bhaijaan’ quiet sentimental – in fact, he might have been misty eyed. We certainly were.
  2. Ranveer Singh dedicated his award for ‘Leading Role Male’ to his ladylove and said: “She is Leela to my Ram, Mastani to my Bajirao, best actress to my best actor”. And Deepika dedicated her performance (on medley of Bajirao Mastani’s songs) to him. They gave us all kinds of #couplegoals this weekend!
  3. Salman Khan got groovy with a stellar performance. As if his own presence wasn’t enough, he brought upon Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Sooraj Pancholi and Deepika Padukone to shake it alongside.
  4. Benny Dayal extended his condolences to late Amjad Sabri’s family, and said that his untimely death was a major loss.
  5. Sonakshi Sinha’s Louboutin, however gorgeous, were quite painful; she secretly told us, “I would feel like a princess if I can walk barefoot right now”.

The 17th VideoCon d2h IIFA Weekend was, on the whole, a well organised and executed event. However, like most such events, there were lapses, which can only be credited to human error and technical failures. Printers malfunctioned, interviews rescheduled, hours of waiting for celebrities to arrive, and other such incidents did dampen the mood slightly, but not enough to affect the dazzle of it all.

We extend our heartiest congratulations to all the winners. Until next year!



  • Anupam Kher to make his Hollywood debut with his 500th
  • Anil Kapoor said that he would love to work in Pakistan.
  • Karan Johar has watched Fawad Khan’s Humsafar and Zindagi Gulzar Hai, but refrains from watching any other dramas for he fears he won’t be able to stop and get addicted. ‘Binge watching’ as he calls it.
  • When Karan Singh Grover proposed to Bipasha Basu, she said: “What?? Why do you want to get married to me? I am not supposed to get married!” 15 minutes later, she said yes.
  • Deepika Padukone would love to visit Pakistan, for work or otherwise, to see what Pakistan is all about.


  • Best Lyric Writer: – Varun Grover for Dum laga Ke Haisha in the film Moh Moh Ke Dhaage
  • Best Female Playback Singer Award is Monali Thakur for Dum Laga Ke Haisha for the film Moh Moh Ke Dhaage
  • Best Male Playback Singer Award: is Papon for Moh Moh Ke Dhaage in the film Moh Moh Ke Dhaage
  • Best Music Direction- ‘Roy’ Meet Bros, Anjjan, Ankit Tiwari, Amaal Mallik
  • Best Cinematography: Sudeep Chatterjee for Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Screenplay: Kabir Khan, Parveez Shaikh, V. Vijayendra Prasad for Bajrangi Bhaijaan
  • Best Editing: A Sreekar Prasad for Talvar
  • Debut Male- Vicky Kaushal for Masaan
  • Debut Female- Bhoomi Pednekar for Dum Laga Ke Haisha
  • Best Performance in a Comic Role Award: – Male Deepak Dobriyal from Tanu Weds Manu Returns
  • Best Performance in Negative role Award – Darshan Kumar for NH 10
  • IIFA Jodi of the Year- Athiya Shetty & Sooraj Pancholi
  • Best Performance in a Supporting role (Male) Award – Anil Kapoor from Dil Dhadakne Do
  • Best Performance in a Supporting role (Female) Award: – Priyanka Chopra from Bajirao Mastani
  • IIFA Woman of the Year- Priyanka Chopra
  • Best Story- Juhi Chaturvedi from Piku
  • Best Performance in a Leading role (Male) Award – Ranveer Singh from Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Performance in a Leading Role (Female) Award – Deepika Padukone from Piku
  • Best Direction- Sanjay Leela Bhansali from Bajirao Mastani
  • Best Picture- Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Producers – Salman Khan, Rockline Venkatesh