ShilpaThe 17th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) gala here kicked off with much fanfare and aplomb. The opening day of the gala witnessed the official unveiling of movie “Mirzya”, which marks debut of Anil Kapoor’s son Harshvardhan, along with some thumkas of Bollywood actress Shilpa Shetty on stage.

With Bollywood biggies like like Salman Khan, Anil, Priyanka Chopra and Deepika Padukone getting their Bollywood power to the Spain’s central capital, the stars not only showed their excitement of being in the city, but also shared how eager they are to perform on the award night.

The press conference to mark the opening of the four-day film extravaganza was held on Thursday.

During the session, Shilpa was asked by emcee Siddharth Kannan to show her dancing prowess with some “thumkas”, and a little hesitant Shilpa got the groove on with some moves. She will be conducting an exclusive ‘Yoga Masterclass’ at the IIFA weekend as well.

“Every time I get on the stage I feel like I am doing it for the first time. That keeps me going. I performed at IIFA nine years ago and its very nostalgic for me to come back again,” said the mother-of-one.

Also present on the stage were filmmaker Karan Johar, actor Fawad Khan – who will host the IIFA Rocks gala.

Actors Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor are all geared up to take the stage to host the Nexa IIFA Awards — which will see six acts by Bollywood stars including Salman, Priyanka, Deepika, Hrithik Roshan, Sonakshi Sinha and Tiger Shroff.

“It’s amazing to see that I am only talked about my hosting skills and nothing else nowadays. I used to be a filmmaker. It’s a long forgotten fact and I am not used to of accepting it,” Karan quipped while talking about his hosting gig.

The official teaser trailer of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s “Mirzya” took place in the presence of Bollywood’s A-listers. The film introduces Anil’s son Harshvardhan and Saiyami Kher, along with Anuj Chaudhary.

Mehra shared that the story of the film was with him for 30 years.

“The story was with me for 30 years. Secondly, Gulzar sir agreed to write the story and I felt so blessed. I thought my journey as a filmmaker came about in full circle and it was the turning point of my career to work and to bring his work on to screen,” Mehra said.

The director also asserted that the “second most important thing” was to get associated with his “favourite hero” Anil in some way.

“I always wanted to work with him (Anil) and always will, but somehow I got to work with his son and launch his first feature film. That will always remain so very important and close to my heart . Harsh’s first step into the world of cinema and some where I have been linked to that,” said Mehra, known for films like “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” and “Rang De Basanti”.

Even the proud father Anil expressed his joy.

“Today we have used this platform (IIFA stage) to launch the trailer of my son’s first film. You won’t believe that whenever I went (around the world) few people don’t even know I have son. They feel that I have two daughters (Sonam and Rhea), but that’s my son and it’s his first film,” he said.

Before the opening day press conference, one witnessed Bollywood celebrities receiving huge welcome from fans of Madrid with many shouting their name at the airport while some forcing themselves in the huge crowd to get a picture with their favourite celebrity.

The four-day gala will conclude with a colourful and exuberant awards ceremony on Sunday.