When the Stars dazzled and the night sizzled…when the music boomed and the dances made you swoon…when those who won and those who lost, both hailed the Event…one knew that the third Hero Honda Indian Television Academy Awards have taken place. On the 30th November, 2003 at the Goregoan Sports Club in Mumbai, before a massive gathering of nearly 5000 strong audience comprising luminaries from Television, Films, Arts and Corporate sectors, the Event was, from first note to the last, bang on target - creating a Fraternity Event, whose scale and splendour will long be remembered.
The spectacular set reflecting Mughal magnificence left the audience agape with awe and wonder. Shashi Ranjan, Convenor, The ITA struck home the truth, when he said in his welcome speech, \'Awards don\'t get big simply because of writing so in your ad catch-lines. The bigness comes, besides the lavish mounting of the Event, from the Fraternity standing by you\'. And it was clearer than crystal that the Fraternity stood by the Academy like a rock in this shining hour as was evident by the presence of nearly who\'s who of the Industry like Varun Badola, Manish Goswami, Gurdeep Kohli, Rajan Waghdhare, Cezanne Khan, Girja Shankar, Arjun Punj, Kiran Karmarkar, Rohit Roy, Mahesh Thakur, Alok Nath, Shweta Tiwari, Mansi Joshi, Nausheen, Shivaji Satam, Amit Behl, Gurpal Singh, Amita Nangia, Poonam Narula, Anita Kanwal, Raju Kher, Sadhana Singh, Deepak Kazir, Anand Surayvanshi to name a few.
The performances left the audience spellbound with there variety and in ingenuity in concept and execution. The pivotal piece of the evening was Aaz Ki Mumtaj - a satirical spoof in three parts that was written by Ashwani Dhir and directed by Rakesh Bedi. It starred Television\'s biggest comic aces - Anang Desai, Sumeet Raghvan, Tannaz Currim, Dilip Joshi, Rajeev Mehta, Hemant Pandey and Rashmi Sharma, whose ensemble performance had the audience in splits.
There was a Percussion performance by the redoubtable Taufiq Quraishi and his troupe that set the evening out on a resounding note. There was a scintillatingly sensuous and oomph-ish performance of remixes by Shveta Salve, Deepshikha and Roopali Ganguly that really took the breath away of those who watched. And lastly, there was the grand finale - a fusion performance by Roop Kumar & Sonali Rathod whose majestic presentation will remain etched in the memory for a long time to come.
The evening was anchored with loads of vim and vigour by a galaxy of TV Stars like Rajat Sharma, Sajid Khan, Rakshanda Khan, Ram Kapoor, Gautimi, Rajeev Paul, Delnaz, Vikas Bhalla and Yukta Mookhey, who oozed alluring magnetism, as always.
In the winners, there was the whole spectrum of distinction from the small screen that included TV luminaries from Ajay Sinha to Ekta Kapoor to Simi Garewal to Smriti Malhotra Irani to Pankaj Kapoor to Niki Aneja Walia to Ronit Roy to Farida Jalal to Rajiv Mehra and so on. The presenters were equally varied and distinguished, comprising celebrities from the Chief Guest Hon. Shri Shatrughan Sinha, Union Minister for Shipping to Shabana Azmi to Ramesh Sippy to Jackie Shroff to Rajiv Shukla to Gulshan Grover to Aruna Irani to Mahima Chaudhary to G. Krishnan to Suniel Shetty to Javed Akhtar to Shilpa Shetty to Alex Kuruvilla to Zarina Mehta…so forth and so on.
Ekta Kapoor gushed on the stage, \'It is the most honourable Award\' and that is how elated everybody else was at receiving the honour. What was even more touching was that even those who did not make it, were full of joy for just being there. Says Anu Ranjan, President, The ITA, \'These Awards were instituted with only one objective - to create an annual festival of sheer joy for the entire TV Fraternity, where all of them assemble as one cohesive whole to celebrate the glory of Indian Television, under the canopy of the ITA\'.
That is exactly what happened in this evening that shimmered and sparkled and that too, as someone gasped at the goings on, \'Ooh! With what Ishtlye, man!\'