IIFA Awards honours Sridevi, Irrfan Khan with best actor awards


Bollywood superstar Sridevi Kapoor was honoured for her final role at India’s movie awards in Bangkok, winning the best actress prize at the colourful celebration of dance, music and film just months after her shock death.

India’s biggest stars descended on the Thai capital late Sunday for a riotous evening filled with glamour and stunning dance routines at the International Indian Film Academy’s (IIFA) annual awards ceremony, dubbed Bollywood’s Oscars. The event was hosted by director Karan Johar and actor Riteish Deshmukh.

But two of the most prestigious prizes were awarded in the absence of their winners.

Irrfan Khan, known internationally for his roles in blockbusters Life of Pi and Slumdog Millionaire, scooped the prize for best actor in a leading role but did not attend the ceremony after revealing earlier this month that he had a rare tumour.

The 51-year-old Indian actor, who was in the 2016 film Inferno alongside Tom Hanks, is one of Bollywood’s most versatile actor and globally-recognised exports, with a stellar career at home and in Hollywood.

He bagged the award for his role in Hindi Medium, a film highly critical of the class divide in India in which he plays the role of a father trying to get his daughter into a prestigious school. The film also starres Saba Qamar as the female lead.

Khan’s Haider co-star Shraddha Kapoor accepted the award on his behalf.

Hindi Medium also registered another big win at the awards, the Best Director trophy for Saket Chowdhary.

Sridevi, who died in February aged just 54, received the award for best actress in a leading role for her final film, Mom, a thriller in which she seeks to avenge the gang-rape of her stepdaughter, played by Pakistani actress Sajal Ali. The film also featured Adnan Siddiqui as Sridevi’s husband.

“I have mixed emotions today. I miss her every minute and second of my life,” her widower Boney Kapoor said as he collected the gong on her behalf.

“I still feel she is around… I want you all to support Janhvi like you supported her mother,” the Bollywood producer said in an emotional speech quoted by Indian media, referring to the eldest of Sridevi’s two daughters who is set to make her Bollywood debut.

Boney Kapoor receiving Sridevi’s award for Best Actress

One of the biggest names in Hindi cinema, Sridevi drowned in her bathtub at a hotel in Dubai, where she was attending a wedding. Thousands of heartbroken fans lined the streets of Mumbai as a condolence service was held.

Meanwhile, the Vidya Balan-starrer Tumhari Sulu, about a housewife who lands a job as a radio jockey, took home the award for the Best Picture Award.

Anupam Kher, who has over 500 films to his credit, was honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the ceremony. His frequent collaborator, Anil Kapoor, introduced the honour.

The ceremony saw veteran actress Rekha, 63, roll back the years as she belted out vintage hits in a rare public performance, as well as routines from the likes of Ranbir Kapoor and Kriti Sanon.

Organisers opted for a green carpet instead of red to raise awareness of environmental issues and it was graced by stars like Ranbir Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, Konkona Sen Sharma, Dia Mirza and Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

The IIFA always holds its awards ceremony outside of India to demonstrate Bollywood’s international appeal.

With an audience of more than 850 million, the IIFA Awards is India’s biggest media event and also one of the world’s most-watched annual entertainment shows. It will be broadcast worldwide on television on July 29.

“The fact that we are 1.2 billion people in India helps” boost the audience, said Sabbas Joseph, the event’s organiser, adding that viewing figures are also strong in the Middle East and in countries with large Indian communities.