The P word crops up at the glittering IIFA Awards in Tampa.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: Hollywood star Kevin Spacey made a splash this weekend at the Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) Awards in Tampa Bay, taking the stage to shake a leg and chastising Indians for pirating his current hit series, “House of Cards.”
Speaking to reporters on the red carpet before Saturday night’s event, Spacey lamented that the popularity of his show on the Indian subcontinent was the result of piracy. Such activity not only hurts the show’s distributor, Netflix, but also its producers, of which Spacey is one.
“House of Cards is really big in India, I discovered. Except isn’t it funny that Netflix doesn’t exist there yet? Which means that you’re stealing it,” said Spacey, rather curtly.
Part of the problem is that Netflix Instant Watch, currently the only legal way to watch “House of Cards” without waiting for months to buy it on DVD or Blu-ray, is not currently available in India. And “House of Cards” isn’t the only rabidly popular serial afflicted by piracy in India and other corners of the world.
HBO has been feeling the effects of piracy with some of its most famous programs, namely “Game of Thrones,” which has consistently been the most pirated television show since it debuted in 2011. Their “Boardwalk Empire” and “True Detective” programs also faced similar problems, while other popular shows – such as AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” and “The Walking Dead” – also face piracy issues (although the latter three are available via Netflix).
Spacey didn’t spend the entire evening pouting, however. Known for his dry sense of humor and love of good times, the actor even danced on-stage with Bollywood stars Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor, and voiced his interest in bringing together Hollywood and Bollywood.
Specifically, Spacey said he wants to make theatre in India as big as the movie industry is. Spacey is a renowned theatrical actor and producer, and spent several years on an unofficial sabbatical from film acting so that he could be the director of London’s prestigious Old Vic Theatre.
The IIFA Awards were a massive success overall, with at least 20,000 fans in attendance at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium, and millions of others tuning in from around the world. Bollywood’s biggest stars graced the event, including Priyanka Chopra, Farhan Akhtar, Ranveer Singh, and Saif Ali Khan.
Best Film went to Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which also picked up awards for Best Director (Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra), Best Actor (Farhan Akhtar), Best Supporting Actress (Divya Dutta), and an astonishing 10 other awards (story, sound design, background score, cinematography, costume design, dialogue, editing, makeup, screenplay, and sound mixing).
Best Actress went to Padukone for her comedic performance in Chennai Express, while rising star Aditya Roy Kapur won Best Supporting Actor for his turn in Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Kapur’s other 2013 release, the super-hit musical Aashiqui 2, won awards for Best Music Direction, Lyrics, Male Playback Singer (Ankit Tiwari), and Female Playback Singer (Shreya Ghoshal).
Chennai Express and Krrish 3 picked up a handful of technical awards each, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani picked up the statuette for Best Choreography, Arshad Warsi won Best Comic Performance for his role in Jolly LLB, and Bollywood screen legend Rishi Kapoor won Best Negative Performance for the film Aurangzeb.
Actor Dhanush won Best Male Debut for Raanjhanaa, and Vaani Kapoor won Best Female Debut for her role in Shuddh Desi Romance.