Written by Samia Khan
Ah, the TOIFAs! While some could not have been more excited, others lamented how they could not believe the British Columbia provincial government had spent 11 million on the show. But one thing was sure: everyone was excited to welcome Bollywood to Vancouver. The best and brightest of Indian cinema coming to Vancouver? I couldn’t wait!
My time at the TOIFAS started with a check-in for press and after being given a wristband, I was escorted to the Media Lounge where we had a great view of the show. I arrived early at 6:00pm and had time to kill, which I spent taking pictures of the stage and getting more and more excited about the show to come.
The show was scheduled to start at 8:00 PM, Vancouver time, but as we neared closer to that time, it became obvious that 8:00 Vancouver time was not 8:00 Indian time. The show started at least 30 minutes late, with what sounded like Karan Johar‘s voice coming from backstage telling everyone to return to their seats as the show was about to start soon. 15 minutes later and the curtains were drawn.
Starting with a poignant piece by Indo-Canadian Producer Arjun Sablok called The Lucky Ones showcasing the journey of Indian immigrants to Canada as well as a second video showcasing the scenic glory of our beautiful province of British Columbia, TOIFA and Premier Christy Clark wanted to bridge Bollywood and Vancouver, hoping to have Indian directors and producers keep coming back.
Co-hosts Ranbir Kapoor, and Anushka Sharma led the performances with a Barfi-inspired song and dance number deserving of the applause it ensued. Boman Irani kept the crowd in laughs as the other host, as he fired off jokes and kept the audience roaring with his intent on making BC’s Minister of Finance, Mike, into a Bollywood leading man like Salman Khan,. Continuing with the show, Abhishek Bachchan garnered love from the audience as he made his way from the crowd to the stage atop a chariot, promising to bring his father, Big B Amitabh Bachchan himself, next time. Sexy sirens, Priyanka Chopra and Katrina Kaif proved with their dance numbers why they are Bollywood’s current leading ladies.
It was a big night for Priyanka and the rest of the Barfi crew as the film claimed Best Director with Anurag Basu, as well as acting accolades of Best Debut Actress, Best Actress and Best Actor for Ileana D’cruz, Priyanka Chopra and Ranbir Kapoor respectively.
One of the lack-luster performances of the night was that of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan‘s. Her first performance since giving birth to her daughter almost 18 months ago was casual and looked more like a showcase of Aishwarya to the Vancouver crowd than a dance number. But what Aishwarya did not bring, Shahrukh Khan sure did! The King Khan, even with a shoulder injury which he apologized for, delivered dance moves to a medley of his greatest hits creating an uproar from the crowd, many of who had come to the TOIFAs just for him. Giving it his all, Shahrukh looked visibly tired by the end of his amazing performance.
A final dance by Shiamak Davar, with all the stars of the night coming on stage with him, concluded the TOIFAs on a great note, leaving most attendees feeling it was definitely their money’s worth but some feeling like it was not worth the 11 million spent on it. All in all, Bollywood came, saw and conquered the hearts of Vancouverites and we can only hope we did the same with theirs.
Samia Khan is from Vancouver, she is an author and event correspondent for Pink Magazine.