The best and brightest

2013-08-27 00:00

TWO of Bollywood’s best-loved actresses and dancers, Madhuri Dixit and Priyanka Chopra, will be performing at the South Africa India Film and Television Awards (Saiftas) in Durban on September 6.

They will take to the stage of the International Convention Centre alongside local dancers, in vibrant cross-cultural sequences choreographed by Dance India Dance judge Geeta Kapoor, who recently choreographed the opening of the Pepsi IPL 2013.

“Dancing queen” Dixit holds the record for the most best-actress nominations (13) at Filmfare. In 2008, she was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian award, by the government of India.

Creative director Kedhar Gawde told The Witness: “Ever since I have been directing shows, my first choice of star has been Madhuri, but I have not had the privilege of working with her until now ... and now my dream is coming true, at Saifta in Durban.

“I am so pleased that through Saifta, we are able to expose a star of this calibre to the Durban audience.”

Pandit Birju Maharaj, a Kathak dancer who choreographed Mardhuri in the film Devdas, calls her “the best Bollywood dancer due to her versatility”.

Actress and model Elli Avram will dance with TV anchor Manish Paul, who has hosted Dance India Dance juniors on ZEE TV, and currently hosts Jhalak Dikhla Jaa, the Indian version of Dancing With the Stars, on Colours TV.

Paul and Avram starred together in Micky Virus, directed by Saurabh Varma, and their performance will be integrated with the film on stage.

Television actor Amir Ali and Sanjeeda Shaikh, an actress who starred in Kayamath and Dastaan on Zee TV, will also be performing.

They will be sharing the stage with local performers Karen van Pletsen, the Durban Gospel Choir and award-winning actor Aaron MacIlroy.

Another highlight of the evening will be a fashion show by David Tlale and Durban designer Haroun Hansrot.

The Saiftas — which celebrate the best and brightest in the South African and Indian film and television industries — will be hosted by Dia Mirza and celebrated film-maker Karan Johar.

They replace Saif Ali Khan, who is unable to attend due to a clash of dates.

More than 150 film and TV personalities, including actor, film producer and former model John Abraham, will be walking the Saifta red carpet.

Actress Jaqueline Fernandes, and unconventional rapper Hard Kaur, who wowed the audience at the Saifta launch in March, will be back for the ceremony on September 6, along with actresses Waheeda Rehman and Vidya Balan, actor Ranveer Singh, producer Mukesh Bhatt, writer-director Sanjay Gupta, and tele-stars Mona Singh, Apurva Agnihotri and Shilpa Agnihotri.

Some 6 000 people are expected to attend the ceremony, which is being billed by the organisers, Celebrity Locker and the Department of Economic Development and Tourism KZN, as the social occasion of the year.

Tickets are at Computicket.

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