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It was a big night for Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, who took home the top acting honours for their roles in drugs-themed drama "Udta Punjab" at the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, which saw "Neerja" being named the best picture. The best direction award went to Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury for his much-acclaimed film "Pink", a female-centric court room drama. Alia's turn as a young Bihari migrant girl, won her the best actress trophy. Her co-star, Shahid, was honoured with the best actor gong for his portrayal of drug-addict rockstar, Tommy Singh. "#Udtapunjab double whammy. Tommy and Mary Jane. Congratulations alia bhatt," Shahid wrote on Twitter. Sonam Kapoor's "Neerja", a biopic on the life of flight attendant Neerja Bhanot, received the best picture award. Music maestro AR Rahman was honoured with a special award for completing 25 years in the industry. "Thank you @IIFA, @wizsabbas, @virafsarkari, @WizAndreTimmins for making today a memorable one to cherish," Rahman tweeted post his win. Film industry veterans Anupam Kher and Shabana Azmi won the best supporting actor and actress award for "M S Dhoni: The Untold Story" and "Neerja", respectively. Varun Dhawan won the IIFA award for the best performance in a comic role for "Dishoom" and "Neerja" baddie Jim Sarbh bagged the best negative role award. Filmmaker Karan Johar's "Ae Dil Hai Mushkil" dominated the music categories.
The best music director award went to Pritam, the best playback singer male award was given to Amit Mishra for "Bulleya" and Amitabh Bhattacharya won the best lyricist award for "Channa mereya". The best playback singer female award was shared by Tulsi Kumar for "Soch na sake" ("Airlift") and Kanika Kapoor for "Da da dasse" ("Udta Punjab"). Disha Patani and Punjabi star Diljit Dosanjh won their first ever IIFA awards for their debut Hindi films "M S Dhoni" and "Udta Punjab", respectively. The best story award went to Ayesha Devitre Dhillon and Shakun Batra for "Kapoor & Sons". "Pink" actress Taapsee Pannu was named woman of the year. The hosts for the ceremony were Saif Ali Khan and Johar, who had the audience in splits with their funny one-liners and banter. However, it was not all smooth-sailing for the duo as the audience booed at them several times during the show at the jam-packed MetLife stadium. The event witnessed several high-octane performances. Alia, who also won the Myntra Style Icon Award, began the proceedings of the night with her performance on "Tamma tamma", "Ladki beautiful" and "Badri ki dulhaniya". She even pulled her co-star Varun Dhawan on to the stage to dance with her. Varun, later took to the stage for his solo performance, during which he paid a tribute to his father, filmmaker David Dhawan, who completed 30 years in the film industry. He treated fans by performing on hit numbers from '90s movie "Judwaa" like "Oonchi hai building" and "Tan tana tan", which are being recreated for his upcoming film "Judwaa 2". "Raabta" co-stars Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon performed together on songs from their recently released film. Actress Katrina Kaif took the stage and grooved on songs like "Afghan jalebi", "Galti se mistake", "Dhoom machale" and "Kaala chashma". But the best was kept for the last as Salman Khan took to the stage for the finale performance and danced on "Radio" and "Main hoon hero". There was also a dance face-off between original "Judwaa" star Salman and Varun, who is reprising the superstar's character in the film's reboot. Unlike previous editions, no international stars were part of the IIFA celebrations this year.
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