The International Indian Film Awards, India’s answer to the Oscars, were telecast on Sunday although they took place two weeks earlier. First off, what qualifies it as international? Simple. Every year IIFA is held in a new “international" location. From Macau to Madrid this year. How do you know it’s at an international location? Because there’s no way of guessing it from looking at the audience, which is full of our Indian stars and non-stars. You know that it’s international because every time a celebrity comes on stage, they say hello to the audience in a foreign tongue. So this time around you heard the stars say “Hola Madrid" at least 50 times. (Yes, their dedication to learning a new language is similar to Salman Khan’s dedication to learning Haryanvi for Sultan.) And why did it take two weeks for Colors to telecast it, and not show it “live" like most other “international" shows? Because, the IIFA broadcast is heavily edited, so that you see the same audience shot of Priyanka throwing her hands up in surprise every time Shahid Kapur appears on stage, and so that the editors can split the screen and show you Salman in triplicate. Not the best advertisement for cinematic skills.

The IIFA 2016 telecast lasted for three and a half hours. With a one-hour red carpet event before that—which included watching Sonu Sood and Viveik Oberoi getting mobbed. Well, if we can indulge in the willing suspension of disbelief while watching Hindi cinema, it’s only expected that we should do the same while watching an event dedicated to Hindi cinema. By the time I got past Oberoi, Sood and Bipasha Basu’s husband, Karan Grover, being screamed at—in joy supposedly—by the Indian audience, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But here are the standout moments from this year’s IIFA. First, to the good.

Hats off to Deepika Padukone for using this platform for some good. Padukone, who of course was spurred on and motivated by being Nike’s brand ambassador, must still be praised. She took to the stage to launch Nike’s new Unstoppable ad featuring her. But before that gave a very heartfelt and well-worded speech about how she had battled depression and almost gave up on her career, and that it’s only because her father was a sportsperson who had encouraged her to always play a sport, that she didn’t give up. And that sport had taught her to deal with life’s successes and failures and her depression. And that every boy, girl, man and woman should play a sport, because that’s what will keep you going finally. A speech which one would not expect at an event which thinks celebrating Tiger Shroff dancing like Michael Jackson is a good idea. It’s also commendable that Padukone never shies away from speaking of her battle against depression on public platforms which she knows are being watched by lakhs and lakhs of viewers. And honestly if even 10% of the people watching IIFA start viewing depression as an illness which needs to be treated, and if she motivates everyone to actually start playing a sport—good on her. I was most impressed that she didn’t just resort to shaking a leg and looking pretty.

The other commendable part of the honestly quite boring show was that the IIFA team seems to have grown a pair. Till date the show has never been political or made any sort of political statement or taken a stand. But both the hosts, Shahid Kapur and Farhan Akhtar, had repeated bits about the censor board and Pahlaj Nihalani and the board’s love for playing Edward Scissorhands. There were umpteen jokes about Udta Punjab’s tryst with destiny when it landed at the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). There was a comment on how the CBFC doesn’t know it should be certifying and not censoring films. All said jocularly.

The other special moment of the show which made it almost worth sitting through was Hrithik Roshan’s performance—which was spectacular. That this is a man who is in his forties, is unbelievable. Even Shiamak Davar’s troupe was looking tired in comparison to Roshan. Also, being sandwiched between Tiger Shroff’s strangely blah dance performance and Salman Khan’s non-dance dance performance did help Roshan.

Special mention must be made of the Energiser Bear, Anil Kapoor, who seems indefatigable. Not only looking as slim and trim as Farhan and Shahid and Ranveer Singh, but also matching them step for step and bounce for bounce. Kapoor launched the new season of 24 on Colors in which he plays Jai Ranvir Singh, aka desi Jack Bauer. The only hitch. Kapoor will be saving India while driving through it in 24 hours in a—hold your breath—Maruti S-Cross. Which he then listed all the benefits of. Thank god there are Maruti service stations across India, in case the car breaks down while he’s saving us from a fatal epidemic unleashed on us by none other than Sikander Kher, Anupam and Kirron Kher’s son. The things you learn while watching IIFA—whether or not to buy the S-Cross, that Sikander Kher still has acting ambitions, that Sooraj Pancholi and Athiya Shetty are still getting awards (this time for best couple!)—the list goes on and on.

What else is worth mentioning? Not much. Because for some reason, this time’s awards weren’t attended by most of the stars. So, no Shah Rukh Khan. No Anushka Sharma. No Akshay Kumar. No Aishwarya or Bachchan family. Which is why we had to see Sonu Sood and Viveik Oberoi strut their stuff on the red carpet. An image I’m still finding difficult to erase from my memory 12 hours later.

Did you miss anything if you didn’t catch the telecast? No. Do I wish I had missed the telecast? Yes. That should say it all.

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