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Inside the Zee awards 2014

Mumbai: Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone had a wish: “I hope this awards show doesn’t go on for five hours. I barely had three hours of sleep.” She spoke too soon. Saturday’s Zee Cine Awards 2014 ran on into the early hours. But did she have fun? Oh yes, she and 400-plus guests gathered at Mumbai’s Film City will vouch that the Zee Awards 2014 were as entertaining and as long as an epic Bollywood romance — a happier version of Devdas, if you will.

And the stars who made it all happen went beyond a crutch-ridden Shah Rukh Khan, who introduced the Best Film nominees with a skit. There was action hero Akshay Kumar, Lootera star Sonakshi Sinha, the ever-effusive Ranveer Singh and self-deprecating hosts Abhishek Bachchan and Riteish Deshmukh to keep the show rolling.

As Bachchan put it: “We must be really good at this if people are still glued to their seats at 3am”. While they were good, there was another reason why people stuck it out. Saving the best for last was Kumar. Making an entry on a motorbike at top speed, he zipped in from a ramp built on the side amongst the audience and onto the stage. And as soon as he reached the stage, he jumped off the bike, which spun out of control. There was a minor explosion and a dazzling display of pyrotechnics. His perfectly executed action gig was like a much-needed caffeine shot (come on, it was 3.30am, Sunday) and was a relief from the usual romantic song-dance numbers at award ceremonies.

Clad in a military uniform, Kumar was in top form as he danced to his hits, including Party All Night. If that didn’t snap you awake, the artificial rain that poured down would have done the job. There was water everywhere, but Kumar forged ahead and moved to the beat with drum rolls and all. He’s no expert dancer like Shahid Kapoor, but what he lacked in grace he made up for by playing to his macho title. In the end, he was snapped up by a wire as fireworks strapped to his back went off.

Another surprise was Sonakshi Sinha’s stage act, as the newly slim actress danced to Gandi Baat and Sari Ka Fall Sa (from R … Rajkumar) with impressive agility (clearly, the time spent with choreographer and R … Rajkumar director Prabhu Deva has done her a world of good). But when it came to mastering the art of multiple dress changes, the award goes to Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela star Ranveer Singh. That man can move and change jackets in a snap. His act was an ode to the stars who shaped Bollywood over the last few decades. Be it Amitabh Bachchan’s Chumma Chumma De De or Shah Rukh Khan’s Yeh Kaali Kaali Aankhen or Hrithik Roshan’s Ek Pal Ka Jeena, Singh proved that he possessed the charisma to pull off songs that he did not make popular. (He showed his sporting side later in the evening when he danced in the audience as Kumar was on stage)

But the glue that held the evening together was the notoriously charming Shah Rukh Khan. Despite his recent leg injury, he forged ahead like a soldier, introducing films that made it to the Best Film nominations list. While he praised each, from Ranbir Kapoor’s Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani to his own Chennai Express, it was his comic skit for Aashiqui 2 that got thunderous applause. Khan took a strand about unconditional love and dedicated the romantic song Tum Hi Ho to all domestic helpers out there. His act, with dancers holding brooms and mops, could be deemed derogatory but Khan’s earnest appreciation of unskilled labour just brought a smile to most faces at ZCA. His spoof on Chennai Express was also a big hit. We loved the bit where Deepika Padukone was carried (yes, carried) on stage by stand-up comedian Bharti Singh. It was a scene inspired from Chennai Express but to see the rotund Bharti successfully lift the statuesque actress (who was squealing with fear and delight) up the steps was riveting. While the show rambled on, it was good to see Bachchan Jr indulge in a good dose of ribbing about its meandering nature. “Don’t worry guys, we just have about four hours to go,” said Bachchan at 2am. If that wasn’t enough: “A big shout to my dear friend Ali Morani who’s seated in the front row. Guys if you are looking for someone to discuss the length of the show, he’s your man.” Funnily enough, while Chetan Bhagat extolled the virtues of good story being the key to a brilliant film, Bachchan retorted: ‘look at us, we are living proof that you don’t need a screenplay to get people glued to their seats for more than three hours.” These well-timed jibes helped in making us last through a long-winded, but enjoyable show.