The Air Canada Centre located in the heart of Toronto downtown, rocked on Saturday evening when Punjabi singers, actors and directors of the film industry descended to see a dream come true — the first Punjabi International Film Academy Awards (PIFAA).
Like the skyscrapers surrounding the awards function venue, this dream was tall and seemed unreachable, but when the event was underway, it appeared that the Punjabis had conquered the downtown area.|
Hosted by actor Sonu Sood, stand-up comedian Kapil Sharma and actors Divya Dutta and Gurpreet Ghuggi, there were ample rustic doses of Punjabi laughter, and a responsive crowd of a few thousand jeered at every punch thrown by them.
The PIFAA anthem, ‘Sada Punjab Ontario….’, kicked off the event and PIFAA brand ambassador and Hindi films’ superstar, Dharmendra, bared his heart in his opening speech. Despite not being in perfect health, Dharmendra stayed put for almost three hours, and said, “This has been a great beginning for the Punjabi movie industry.Plans are on to make it an annual feature.”
Speaking on the occasion, Harinder Takhar, the minister of government services, Ontario, said that Punjabis had now got a festival of their own and that this event would go a long way in preserving Punjabi language.
It is indeed worth reckoning that the government of Ontario was one of the sponsors of the event.
Meanwhile, the entertainment quotient was at its peak with dance performances by actors Diljit Dosanjh and Neeru Bajwa, the lead pair of the latest Punjabi hit, Jatt and Juliet.
Actor Jimmy Shergill and singer-actor Gippy Grewal also enthralled the audiences with their performances.
Tributes were also paid to Dara Singh and Hindi films’ superstar, Rajesh Khanna, who passed away recently.