The 2010 Bollywood black buster Dabangg won three of four major awards in the all-critical music category, winning for best Playback Singer Female, best Playback Singer Male and best Music Director in IIFA that opened here on Saturday.
The other music category award, for best lyrics, went to the film My Name is Khan for the song Sajdaa.
My Name is Khan, a melodrama starring Shahrukh Khan about Muslims facing backlash after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, later won the award for Best Story. The award for best dialogue went to the thriller Ishqiya.
The awards gala itself – which started nearly 90 minutes late – promised to be a grand music-and-dance spectacle, with hosts Boman Irani and Ritesh Deshmukh also doing comedy gags.
The entire stadium erupted with screams when megastar Shahrukh Khan took to the stage to kid around with the hosts in a witty back-and-forth.
Awards in 15 categories are up for grabs, with the gangster film Once Upon a Time in Mumbai leading the pack with an impressive 12 nominations. Closely following suit with 11 nominations is Dabangg, starring bad boy Salman Khan.
Other major contenders include the rom-com Band Baaja Baaraat, the meldodrama My Name is Khan and the political thriller Raajneeti.
Some 22,000 fans bought tickets – which sold out within 10 minutes – for the star-studded awards ceremony live at Rogers Centre, and the IIFA awards are expected to have a worldwide viewership of 700-million.
In one moving moment during the ceremony, veteran actor Dharmendra Singh Deol – of the cult classic Sholay – was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his 50 years of acting in Bollywood.
Deol, a Punjabi, saluted Canada’s multicultural community.
“I know Punjabis from India and Punjabis from Pakistan, but both have found a new home in Canada,” he said in Punjabi, referring to years of bitter feuding between India and Pakistan.
Sharmila Tagore, who has won several Indian National Film Awards, was also presented an award for outstanding achievement.