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, â€œHouse of Cards.â€
Speaking to reporters on the red carpet before Saturday nightâ€™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 showâ€™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 â€œHouse of Cardsâ€ without waiting for months to buy it on DVD or Blu-ray, is not currently available in India. And â€œHouse of Cardsâ€ isnâ€™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 â€œGame of Thrones,â€ which has consistently been the most pirated television show since it debuted in 2011. Their â€œBoardwalk Empireâ€ and â€œTrue Detectiveâ€ programs also faced similar problems, while other popular shows â€“ such as AMCâ€™s â€œBreaking Bad,â€ â€œMad Men,â€ and â€œThe Walking Deadâ€ â€“ also face piracy issues (although the latter three are available via Netflix).
Spacey didnâ€™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 Londonâ€™s prestigious Old Vic Theatre.
The IIFA Awards were a massive success overall, with at least 20,000 fans in attendance at Tampaâ€™s Raymond James Stadium, and millions of others tuning in from around the world. Bollywoodâ€™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. Kapurâ€™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.