Where can you find Bollywood actresses, local media personalities and a few government employees to boot? All were had at the Times of India Film Awards Women’s Day event in Vancouver this past weekend.

TOIFA Womens Day Perizaad Zorabian Shushma Datt

The Times of India Film Awards commemorated International Women’s Day with an invite-only event celebrating the spirit and power of women. The evening included two fashion shows (featuring pieces by Vancouver designer Armaan DBG by Davi Bains-Gill and Indian designer Satya Paul), a wine reception and a panel discussion with local and Indian entertainers and entrepreneurs, including Bollywood B-listers Dia Mirza, Perizaad Zorabian and former Miss World Diana Hayden.

Highlights of the evening: We loved the fashion show by Indian designer Satya Paul, featuring Femina Miss India pageant contestants wearing iconic digital print saris from his Pop Art, Back to the Future and Lumiere collections. We’re reserving our judgment on the point of pageants and how they contribute to the empowerment and success of women, but those models were fantastic on the runway and the saris a refreshing rainbow of summer-inspired colours and prints. We also loved hearing from Indian actress Diana Hayden, whose honest and raw discussion about the challenges of growing up in a home with divorced parents and her unconventional career path had us transfixed.

Left to right: Neesha Hothi, Ashley Avinashi, Poonum Kang, Sukhi Ghuman, and Jugni Style founders Joti Dhesi and Manjot Bains
Left to right: Neesha Hothi, Ashley Avinashi, Poonum Kang, Sukhi Ghuman, and Jugni Style founders Joti Dhesi and Manjot Bains
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Nira Arora (centre) and guests
Nira Arora (centre) and guests
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Left to right: Bhavan Mander, Gary Sooch and Kiran Mander Sooch
Left to right: Bhavan Mander, Gary Sooch and Kiran Mander Sooch
Selena Sandhu and Mrs. Sandhu
Selena Sandhu and Mrs. Sandhu
Guests at the event
Guests at the event
Rizvi Rajwani and Tarannum Thind
Rizvi Rajwani and Tarannum Thind
Left to right: Shushma Datt, Perizaad Zorabian and Dr. Shimi Kang
Left to right: Shushma Datt, Perizaad Zorabian and Dr. Shimi Kang
Left to right: Dia Mirza, Shushma Datt and Perizaad Zorabian
Left to right: Dia Mirza, Shushma Datt and Perizaad Zorabian
Dia Mirza and Shushma Datt
Dia Mirza and Shushma Datt
Diana Hayden
Diana Hayden
Tarannum Thind and Satwinder Bains
Tarannum Thind and Satwinder Bains

 

We wish… there had been more inspiring women representing Bollywood. As lovely as Zorabian may be, we look for a little (OK a lot) more substance when reflecting on women’s global issues. Give us Shabana Azmi, Gul Panag, Kiran Rao, even Lara Datta, please.

The panelists we did like: British Columbia, represent! CBC Reporter Belle Puri was a great moderator, and local broadcaster Shushma Datt brought her A-game, as usual. Dr. Shimi Kang, Clinical Associate Professor at UBC, was an unexpected and nice addition to the mix. We also appreciated the stories shared by BC Minister of Children and Family Development, the Honourable Stephanie Cadieux.

Covetable look: We loved the simplicity of OMNI TV host Tarannum Thind’s anarkali suit. Light and summery, it echoed the sunshine that took Vancouver by surprise earlier that day.

Bollywood is coming to Vancouver. The Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) come to Vancouver from April 4 – 6, 2013. Find out more at toifa.com.

 

Story by: Manjot Bains | Photography by: Suvi Bains