It was a supreme humbling honour for me. when superstar Amitabh Bachchan directly sent me a “congratulatory message” suffixed with emojis symbolizing celebration and applause. This was soon after the ‘Uunchhai’ mega-star Big B got to know that I was honoured with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’.
Which was at the fourth edition of the star-studded Expandables Awards 2023 hosted at Cinepolis Auditorium in Mumbai on Sunday ( January 15) evening. Which coincided with the colourful auspicious festival of Makar Sankrant and kite-flying.
In a dynamic deviation, from the conventional filmy awards events, here at Expandables ( which was launched in 2017), it is the galaxy of celeb Veterans and Achievers from the film news media and PR fraternity which received awards at the hands of popular entertainment stars . The star-turn-out included media-friendly celebs like Manoj Bajpayee, Warda Khan S Nadiadwala, Rupali Ganguly ( of ‘Anupama’ TV show fame) , Elli AvrRam ( of ‘Goodbye’ movie fame) Sharib Hashmi, Rasika Dugal, singer-boxer Abdu Rozik ( of Bigg Boss-16 fame), Babil Khan ( of ‘Qala’ OTT show fame), TV star Mahhi Vij, actress-designer-stylist Jaswinder Gardner, stand-up comedian VIP and his multi-talented charming daughter Dhwani Pawar who attended the late-evening spectacular Awards ceremony in Mumbai.
There were 50 main categories for the various awards, and the Jury's judgement solely determined who would be chosen the Winner.. Like in previous years, the event included surprise musical and mimicking elements to emhance the entertainment factor. Some celebrities and members of the media community contributed to the surprise elements.
At the event, the media fraternity who were honoured included veteran celeb film-journalists Bharti Dubey, Taran Adarsh, Chaitanya Padukone, photographers Pradeep Bandekar and Sunil Khandare and film-maker and cine-industry leader Ashoke Pandit. Then there were high-profiled media personalities including Nayandeep Rakshit, Siddharth Kannan, Mandvi Sharma, Shoaib, Divya Solgama, Russel D’Silva and of course the one-and-only Sonup Sahadevan.
There was an unexpected sentimental twist to the memorable Expandable Awards 2023 event, when it was the turn of eminent veteran film-journalist-author Chaitanya Padukone to be presented with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ In the presence of noted actor Sharib Hashmi, immensely popular Rupali Ganguly ( of ‘Anupama’ fame) became emotional as she recalled her legendary director father ‘late’ Anil-da Ganguly’s family-bonding with Chaitanya. While on stage, Rupali spontaneously bent down and touched Chaitanya’s feet as a gesture of reverence. This on-the-spot exemplary gesture of Rupali drew rousing applause from the invited audience. As it also symbolized respect for the senior film- media journalistic fraternity
This fourth edition's title sponsor is Gold Medal, and co-powered by Rangorie, a renowned business house. Additional sponsors for the Expandables Awards include Max Marketing, the Smile Foundation, Curly Tales, Bright Media Ltd., Dr. Umaira, Big FM 92.7, Josh App, Max Marketing, Bharat 24, Filmi Beat, Filmy Gyaan, Manav Manglani, Bollywood Couch, White Lion Entertainment, Enlighten India, Security Tiger, Bollywood Flash, Awesome TV, and many other well-known companies.
Dynamic organizer-creator-founder, Ritesh Kumar Srivastava ( who also celebrated his birthday) enthuses: "This is the Expandables Awards' fourth year, and it couldn't be better. I am overjoyed with the response and overwhelming help and support from both the media and film fraternity as a whole. It's an excellent platform for all of us. Especially since it's the Only awards ceremony for recognizing and honoring excellence in Indian film-centric journalistic and PR media."
In addition, a number of other showbiz celebrities, including actors Pankaj Tripathi, Shirley Setia, Shantanu Maheshwari, Papon, Salim Merchant, Jasmin Bhasin, and Abhishek Singh, expressed their verbal support and complimented the awards by shoot-recording a personal video in which they wished the Expandables Awards super-success.