Karan Johar's Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is the front runner in the nomination pack of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards with a chance to win in eight categories, followed by M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story which has been nominated across seven categories.
Both the movies are in competition with Neerja, Pink, Sultan and Udta Punjab for the Best Picture trophy.
The list of nominations in the popular category for IIFA were announced via a statement on Friday. The global voting will go live on Saturday and will continue till June 18.
Set to be held at the iconic MetLife Stadium in New York July 14-15, the two-day IIFA festival — produced and created by Wizcraft International Entertainment — will see a congregation of film celebrities.
Nominees for Best Actor in Leading Role (Male) are Shahid Kapoor for "Udta Punjab", Ranbir Kapoor for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Shah Rukh Khan for Fan, Sushant Singh Rajput for M.S. Dhoni…, Amitabh Bachchan for Pink and Salman Khan for "Sultan".
Among the women, the contenders are Anushka Sharma for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Alia Bhatt for "Dear Zindagi" and "Udta Punjab", Sonam Kapoor for Neerja and Taapsee Pannu for Pink.
The Best Director nominations feature Karan Johar (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil), Neeraj Pandey (MS Dhoni…), Ram Madhvani (Neerja), Aniruddha Roy Chowdhary (Pink), Ali Abbas Zafar (Sultan) and Abhishek Chaubey (Udta Punjab).
Varun Dhawan (Dishoom), Jimmy Shergill (Happy Bhag Jayegi) and Rishi Kapoor (Kapoor & Sons) are vying for the Best Comedian title.
In the Best Actor in a Negative role, the nominees are Neil Nitin Mukesh ("Wazir"), Shah Rukh Khan ("Fan") and Jim Sarbh ("Neerja").
A long list of names are vying for the Best Supporting Actor (Male) — Rajat Kapoor ("Kapoor & Sons"), Rajkummar Rao ("Aligarh"), Rishi Kapoor ("Kapoor & Sons"), Anupam Kher ("M.S. Dhoni…") and Amitabh Bachchan ("Wazir").
In the female category, there are Shabana Azmi ("Neerja"), Andrea Tariang ("Pink"), Ratna Pathak Shah ("Kapoor & Sons"), Disha Patani (M.S. Dhoni…") and Richa Chadha ("Sarbjit").
In the music categories; for Music Direction, the competition is between Pritam for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Amaal Malik and Rochak Kohli for MS Dhoni… and Amit Trivedi for Udta Punjab; in the Best Lyrics category, the contenders are Amitabh Bhattacharya "Channa mereya" from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Gulzar for "Aave re Hitchki" from Mirzya and Tanveer Ghazi for "Tu chal" from Pink".
Best Singer (male) will see Arijit Singh (Channa mereya), Amit Mishra (Bulleya), Diljit Dosanjh (Ikk Kudi – Reprise), Armaan Malik (Besabriyaan) competing with one another, and among the women, the competition is between Kanika Kapoor, Neha Bhasin and Tulsi Kumar for Da da dasse, Jag ghoomeya and Soch na sakke respectively.
The 2017 IIFA festival will play host to some of the most celebrated stars and musicians of the Indian film industry.