The night had been awaited with great expectations by entertainment circles of India and South Africa. A cross-cultural award ceremony coupled with various knowledge sharing and talent initiatives was a novel idea, and SAIFTA (South Africa India Film and Television Awards) 2013's debut did not disappoint, only exceeded expectations with its energy, glamour and substance.
Durban's most happening address on Friday evening was the glittering International Convention Centre, undoubtedly counted among one of the world's best convention centres. Telly stars from Indian shores Manish Paul who makes his film debut soon walked in with his co-star Elli Avram, Mona Singh, Apurva and Shilpa Agnihotri, Ravi Dubey, Sargun Mehta and more were joined by their contemporaries from the Rainbow nation. It was this rubbing of shoulders and the exchange of ideas that gave SAIFTA its successful vibe right away.
The motley crew of over 150 film and TV personalities from India, 30 top South African film/TV personalities and the 7,000-strong live audience at Durban took their seats and perhaps never moved till the end of the ceremony. The exhilarating performances were kick started by Sidharth Malhotra who set the stage on fire with his moves. Designer Alpa Reena's couture was featured at the special fashion show.
SAIFTA also witnessed the outstanding energy of Priyanka Chopra. Madhuri Dixit charmed a new continent over with her scintillating dance moves. Not to forget, holding the evening together in his inimitable wit was film maker Karan Johar, accompanied by beautiful Dia Mirza, the gorgeous Tatum Keshwar and the charming Simba.
While Ranbir Kapoor and Nawazuddin Siddiqui made it to the first SAIFTA's awards list for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor respectively, it was the competitive Film of the Year category that drew many cheers from the diverse audience, before 'Barfi' walked away with the award. Bollywood's debutants also had their shine under the African sun, with Sidharth Malhotra for 'Student Of The Year' and Huma Qureshi for 'Gangs of Wassepur' claiming best debut honours. The trophy for the Director of the Year was proudly held by Abhishek Kapoor for 'Kai Po Che' while 'Tum Hi Ho' from 'Aashiqui 2' deservingly received the Popular Song of the Year Title. John Abraham won the Youth Icon of the year: South Africa.
Special Madiba Award was given to Mr. Nelson Mandela which was received by his grand daughter Ndileka Mandela.
Envisioned as a signature event that would forge a new relationship between the Kwa-Zulu Natal province and India, the SAIFTA's brought in all the right energies in their debut edition. The presence of dignitaries such as Leleti Khumalo, Welcome Msomi, Saira Essa, Haroun Hansrot, Caroine Smart, Sorisha and Vivian Naidoo among many others only meant that this platform for cross-cultural exchange is poised for a vibrant future.