NEWS
06/26/2011 11:11 EDT | Updated 08/26/2011 05:12 EDT

International Indian Film Academy Awards Bring Bollywood To Toronto (Photos)

AFP/Getty Images

THE CANADIAN PRESS -- TORONTO - Bollywood bombarded its Canadian fans with a glittering, multi-coloured carnival of song, dance and glamour as India's star-studded version of the Oscars made its North American debut Saturday, capping the South Asian showcase with an appearance by U.S. actors Hilary Swank and a moonwalking Cuba Gooding Jr.

The five-hour award bash, hosted by the International Indian Film Academy, paraded its biggest matinee idols in a boisterous spectacle that kicked off slowly with a series of welcoming remarks and unscripted banter between Bollywood king Shah Rukh Khan and co-hosts Boman Irani and Ritesh Deshmukh.

It closed with a taste of Hollywood, as "Slumdog Millionaire" star Anil Kapoor escorted Swank onto the stage to present a best actor award to Bollywood king Shah Rukh Khan for the 9/11 melodrama, "My Name is Khan."

"Namaste, Toronto. Namaste, India. Namaste, world," Swank, draped in a glittering sleeveless red gown, said to appreciative cheers from the crowd.

"Hollywood and Indian cinema must bring the world closer together. I believe in IIFA's vision — one people, one world."

Later, Gooding broke into an impromptu moonwalk before handing out a best director trophy to Karan Johar for the melodrama, "My Name is Khan," declaring that he was enthralled by Indian cinema.

"I think it's absolutely wonderful how India has travelled the world of entertainment and I would love love to play and be a part of a Bollywood movie myself," said Gooding, who twirled and hollered for the fans.

The awards show capped a three-day campaign to deepen Bollywood's global fanbase with an annual celebration commonly known as the IIFAs (pronounced "Eye-fahs").

Kapoor offered an enthusiastic greeting to the largely South Asian audience early in the night.

"For the first time in its 12-year history IIFA makes its North American debut and its biggest stars are you," Kapoor said in a mix of English, Hindi and Punjabi while pointing to the audience.

"Thank you Ontario. Thank you so much for making us feel the warmth in Canada."

The weekend's events included a film festival, music workshop, business forum, fashion show and rock concert staged throughout the Greater Toronto Area.