Filmfare awards: Sizzle and repartee on the red carpet

Among the guests arriving for the 57th Filmfare awards ceremony, lifetime achievement award winner Aruna Irani was among the first. Dressed in a pink sari, she was all smiles. “I have won Filmfare awards twice but this award is special,” she said. “A lifetime achievement award truly does take a lifetime.” Costume designer Manish Malhotra and Urmila Matondkar, who arrived then, stopped to congratulate the veteran actress and remarked on how “well maintained” she looked. “Arunaji is an inspiration to the young generation,” Urmila told mediapersons. After which she promptly broke into a jig while singing Dilbar dil se pyare from Aruna Irani’s Caravan. Best actress nominee Vidya Balan, having lost all the lard she had put on for her Silk Smitha reprisal in The Dirty Picture, looked lovely in a green Kanjeevaram with a low-back blouse. Widely expected to win this year too, Vidya accepted congratulations from Deepika Padukone on the red carpet. “I have not rehearsed any acceptance speech, though,” she said, laughing. Buddy Abhishek Bachchan ribbed her about wanting Maa, not Paa, to win. He arrived alone, leaving Aishwarya home to mind the new arrival. When asked about his favourite male nominee, he said, “Am I nominated ? If not, I am not rooting for any actor!” Priyanka Chopra walked in a light blue Ferragamo gown. All excited about her act called Jungli billi ka swayamvar, which she said was “spoofy” and had all the popular characters from last year’s films, she remarked, “Let’s see who I end up with. Hope people take it in the right spirit.” Priyanka said she was fine with not winning an award for Saat Khoon Maaf but Vidya Balan definitely deserved to win one for The Dirty Picture.

Director Imtiaz Ali, whose Rockstar was among the leading contenders this year, came casually dressed in blue jeans and grey shirt. Wife Preeti made up for it with a lovely, formal golden churidar kurta. When asked for his opinion on the other films in the running, Imtiaz replied that he had barely seen them, so busy was he travelling for his own.

Despite having a stellar career of 42 years behind her, Usha Uthup, a Best Singer nominee, has never won a Filmfare . “I’ve been singing since 1969 and I so badly want this award,” she exclaimed. “This has been a good year, what with Darling and Don 2.” Known for her traditional Indian ensemble-which accentuates the contrast with her husky, “western” voice-the singer wore a perfectly coordinated black-and-gold ensemble , complete with Kanjeevaram work on her keds. “These shoes were actually Reeboks,” she laughed. “Now they are Kanjeevaram keds. Isn’t that cool!”

Another super singer, Shreya Ghoshal-who walked in in a glamorous red gown by Sameer Patel-was all praise for Usha Uthup and said she wanted her to win for the rumbustious Darling… from Saat Khoon Maaf. “Ushaji is a legend and I don’t consider myself her competitor ,” she said.

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