Though Slumdog Millionaire did not feature anywhere in the IIFA awards nominations list, the film inspired enough gags to provide the evening’s spiciest moments.
Jodhaa Akbar more or less swept the awards — taking Best Film, Best Actor, Best Music and Best Male Playback Singer (Javed Ali for Jashan-e-Baharaa). While the award for Best Actress went to Priyanka Chopra for Fashion, Aishwarya Rai, also nominated for Best Actress for Jodhaa Akbar, took home the Best Actress of the Decade trophy.
It was Ash who was at the receiving end of a joke started by hosts Boman Irani and Ritesh Deshmukh. Boman spoofed Anil Kapoor’s quizmaster role in Slumdog, playing the host of ‘Who would be the Slumdog?’ In the hot seat was Ritesh Deshmukh, posing as Aamir Khan from Ghajini. Every time Ritesh would give the right answer, Boman would applaud in Anil’s accent: “Fantastic, fabulous, mind-blowing, mind-blasting… chaiwala.” (The original character is a tea boy.)
While the gag was enjoyed by the audience, Anil may have been less amused. When he was called on to the stage to present the award for the Best Actress of the Decade, he announced the winner: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Then he exclaimed, “Fantastic, fabulous, mind-blowing, mind-blasting… chaiwali.” Ash instantly replied, “Fantastic, fabulous, mind-blowing, mind-blasting… chaiwala.”
It got the laughs, but some felt Anil should not have said that. “It was disrespectful,” said Brijesh Mishra, a pilot from Malaysia, who had come for the show. A noted film director also felt, “The act was done by Ritesh and Boman, Anil shouldn’t have dragged Aishwarya into it.” Anil and Ash were unavailable for comments.