TORONTO—Jermaine Jackson performed a nostalgic tribute concert Friday to his late brother Michael Jackson to mark the second anniversary of the pop star’s death as part of the 12th Indian International Film Awards festivities in Toronto.
Dressed in a Michael Jackson-inspired outfit, complete with a red military-style jacket, V-neck white shirt, fitted black slacks and a black cummerbund with an emblazoned number “5,” the former Jackson 5 performer sang a medley of his brother’s hits including “Scream,” ”Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin'” and “Can You Feel It.”
“This is a special moment in the show because it’s a tribute to my brother,” said Jackson moments before joining Indian singer Sonu Nigam to perform “This is It,” a song written by Nigam after the megastar’s death, which the singers dedicated to the pop icon on stage.
The pair performed at IIFA Rocks, a Bollywood-inspired concert and fashion show bonanza which is part of the academy’s three days of film, song and dance that culminates in Saturday’s awards ceremony, often referred to as the Indian Oscars.
IIFA Rocks also kickstarted the awards portion of the weekend by giving away some technical film awards in between bouts of fashion runway shows and high-energy musical performances.
Romantic comedy “Band Baaja Baarat” and the action movie “Dabangg” led the pack, each scooping three awards.
Toronto’s Ricoh Coliseum was packed with excited Bollywood fans who could hardly contain their excitement when South Asian superstars including “Slumdog Millionaire” actor Anil Kapoor, Bollywood king Shahrukh Khan and veteran stage and film star Anupam Kher took to the stage to announce the winners.
The cheering was so raucous when the venue’s camera monitors’ flashed on Bollywood superstars sitting in their seats that it sometimes drowning out the hosts, that “When we’re speaking, please don’t put close-ups of big movie stars on the screen,” joked co-host Karan Johar, drawing laughter from the crowd.
Johar and co-host Anushka Sharma alternated between English and Hindi throughout the evening.
Sharma was treated to a hug by Shahrukh Khan, often referred to as “King Khan,” whose close-ups on the monitor screens drew the loudest cheers.
“I’m tired of girls giving me a hug. I want a deep passionate kiss,” said Khan.
“You’re forgetting what would happen at home if that happened,” smirked Johar.
Khan retorted, “We’re thousands and thousands of miles away. What happens in Toronto, stays in Toronto.” But in the end, he played it safe with a big bear hug for the bombshell Bollywood actress.
Much of the evening’s music was provided by Shankar Ehsaan Loy, a musical super group consisting of Shankar Mahadevan, Ehsan Noorani and Loy Mendonsa, who also won an award for best background score for their work on “My Name is Khan,” starring Shahrukh Khan.
But the real musical superstars were British-Canadian bhangra trio RDB, whose energetic performances with singer Veronica and two players of the drum-like dhol, got the audience shaking their shoulders in their seats and cheering excitedly.