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Girl power

David Light / 10 February 2013

The time: Thursday evening; the place: the Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai; the occasion: honouring the region’s top women for a variety of remarkable endeavours.

A packed Joharah Ballroom eagerly anticipated The 3rd Petrochem Gr8! Women Awards ceremony to kick off last weekend as nominees and stars from the Hindi film industry filed in having walked the red carpet.

An initiative of Indian television magazine Gr8!, the event looked to pay homage to extraordinary ladies who have excelled in fields including the arts, science, medicine and sports whilst providing the finest entertainment such as a superb dance performance by Bollywood’s Gauhar Khan to make the experience that much more spectacular.

Hosted by actor Rohit Roy and local TV presenter Rahaf Al Taiwil, the 700-strong audience quickly settled to enjoy the tributes and top-notch talent.

A unique feature of the this, the third edition of the prize-giving show in the Middle East, was the ‘Celebration of the 100 years of Indian Cinema’ theme for which screen icons Rani Mukerji, Juhi Chawla, Karisma Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan, Mugdha Godse and Padmini Kolhapure made appearances and were handed distinctions for their impact and achievements within their glamorous discipline.    

“It’s an honour for me to share a platform with all these women achievers,” the superstar of the gathering Rani told City Times before she went on stage to collect her gong. “I feel really special because it’s not just an award, it’s a lot of love that is being showered upon me and who doesn’t need more love?”

Dressed to thrill, draped in gold and black, the spritely actress was visibly touched by the awards’ female empowerment message.

“Women need to stand up for themselves to make the a change in society happen,” Rani stated when asked about the recent uprising of women activists since the atrocities in Delhi came to light.

“And men need to change the way they think and to respect women further. I always feel the day women stand up will be the day everything changes. We are the descendants of Durga, so we have the power.”

Rani then drew on the roles she has portrayed on screen to pinpoint which character’s spirit touched her most. 

“I have played many strong women in my career. I can think of my recent character in Talaash and Meera in No One Killed Jessica, but I would have to say the strongest would be Michelle Mcnally in Black. That was one film where it will take time to regain that magic we created on screen. I still talk about it all the time.

“The women at these awards though are even stronger and I can’t be more proud to be here with them.”

Aside from the celebrities’ trophies, women from Yemen, Qatar, the UAE and six other regional countries accepted their recognition. Notable winners such as Dubai’s intrepid explorer Suzanne Al Houby, sultry singer Haifa Wehbe from Lebanon and Palestine’s Bashaer Othman, were just a few to look resplendent as they beamed with their golden statues.

Between the worthy recipients approaching the podium, Urmila Matondkar, Ash King, and husband and wife TV stars Aamir Ali and Sanjeeda Sheikh also complemented the evening with stunning performances. 





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