Saturday, May 10, 2014

The good bits about IIFA

Photos courtesy of IIFA
Y'all, I'm not some whiny baby who rants when not everything goes her way. Despite what commenters have said in the last few days after I posted my IIFA mega rant. (Also, I don't just make stuff up. I'm actually a professional journalist when I don't write about Bollywood as a fan. But that's another story.)

Ahem, not that I care.

Anyway, I thought it was worth saying at some point that there were a few nice things about IIFA. Not as many as there were bad things, and having done it once, I still never would do it again (as a member of the media or as a fan). Next time I'll just watch it all on TV.

But still, here were some fun bits nonetheless:

Stars said some nice things about Tampa (when they weren't busy gushing about their love for fans despite dodging them all weekend). Aside from the folks who just cooked stuff up because that's what they're supposed to say, there were some real nice sentiments. "Bahut khoobsurat hai, bahut peaceful, bahut charm," singer Ankit Tiwari (now being held on rape accusations... oops) said of Tampa. "I just don't want to leave this place," Anil Kapoor said in the Tampa Theatre. "This theater is absolutely magnificent. It's fantastic. This city has a soul, and I can see that soul in this theater." Vivek Oberoi, who has family in the area and has visited before, said before the event: "It's not as crazy and gritty as Miami but it's so beautiful, so you get the best of both worlds in Tampa. You can relax, unwind. There are beautiful beaches nearby. The weather is always fantastic." It isn't always, but it was for that weekend. Several stars said on the green carpet that they'd been enjoying the sun at Clearwater Beach. In fact I heard this so often that I wondered whether all the fans shouldn't have camped out there rather than the green carpet to see stars. It would've been a nicer atmosphere, for sure.

Meeting international journalists was awesome. The coolest part of the whole IIFA experience was being sandwiched between journalists from the U.K., Kenya, New Zealand, Pakistan and India. Talking with them was overall better than meeting the stars. Except the "media professionals" who think they deserve the spot you've been standing in for six hours because they think they're better than you. They sucked.

I thought Deepika's gown was especially nice.
Got to see some nice gowns on the green carpet. You already know not all of the big stars walk the green carpet, but the ones that did had some nice gowns when they did. I saw a few fashion disasters (Dia Mirza's gown... yikes; though she seemed nice when I ran into her earlier that day, and I heard nice things about her in general), but most gowns were pretty good. Certainly not something you get to see every day.

Kevin Spacey doing Lungi Dance. This. It was amazing. If you haven't watched it on YouTube yet, do it. NOW. What I haven't seen on YouTube is the hilarity after, when Spacey bundled up his lungi and laid down to take a nap on stage. Shahid then covered him with his own lungi as a blanket.

John Travolta strutting his stuff -- at 60! I mean, was there a more perfect Hollywood star to bring to IIFA? Aside from the fact that he lives like two hours from Tampa, Travolta is basically a Bollywood star: He sings, he dances, he acts. He gave his speech reading from cards, which was rather lame, but overall Travolta's presence was a plus. (He wasn't overly friendly on the green carpet, either, tho. I definitely don't intend to sugar coat that fact, either.)

Shahid and Farhan were funny hosting. I mean, they had to ask for the teleprompter to be fixed about a dozen times, so maybe it wasn't them being funny, but there were some good laughs to be had. (And I'm sure the jokes that fell flat, of which there were also a few, will be edited out in the end.)

They entered on a pirate ship! I was right beside them when it happened. They threw out beads (I even caught some) like a real Gasparilla parade and everything. (Gasparilla is a Tampa tradition, a big pirate festival and parade every year.)

The performances were pretty good. Other than some dragging bits that will obviously be trimmed down, the performances were pretty good. However, there were some parts that were way too busy for you to see anything. Like too much happening all at once, lights flashing blindingly in your eyes, etc. Ranveer entered driving around on a motorcycle, which was pretty cool and changed tacky jackets about five times (he must have an endless supply of them...). Hrithik's performance started blacked out with lighted suits, which was also pretty nifty. Priyanka started her performance off with aerial stunts although some of that will definitely be edited out; she didn't seem very comfortable in the harness.

Milkha Singh was there, and friendly -- and funny. I mean, who would've expected he'd run in place and sing "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" on the green carpet? And that he'd be much better spoken than "star" director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra (seriously, slowest, most boring talker ever)? Though I could have done without Milkhaji's 10-minute acceptance speech at the show's end. That's sure to be edited, too.

So, yeah, most of the good things to be said are about the show itself -- the stuff they did for the cameras.

Of course the obvious downside of all this good talk about the show is that if you didn't pay $300 or more, you couldn't see or hear anything from the top deck.

Catch it on TV for free.