Macau hosts glittering Indian film awards

MACAU, Macau: Bollywood royalty converged on the Chinese gambling hub of Macau Saturday for India’s answer to the Oscars, with a critically-acclaimed crime thriller and a comedy about a prolific sperm-donor among the films vying for awards.

The 14th edition of the Indian International Film Festival, held in the  territory’s glittering Venetian resort, comes as Indian cinema celebrates its  centenary and sets its sights on global audiences.

Eager fans screamed as their idols strode the green carpet, hoping for the  chance to get an autograph from the likes of megastar Shah Rukh Khan and Sri  Devi, nominated for best actress in ’English Vinglish’.

“Just to know we have so many well wishers and fans overseas, it’s great,”  said Abhishek Bachchan, the son of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan said.

“I think Bollywood is slowly just progressively capturing international  attention,” said popular Bollywood actress Amrita Rao, who was wearing a silver  strapless gown.

But it was fan favourite Khan, wearing a shiny black suit, who drove the  crowd into a frenzy as they chanted his name.

“I think it’s an amazing platform,” Khan said of IIFA, which he said  brought Bollywood film “all over the world”.    Khan will share the stage with star Shahid Kapoor as they host the  evening’s awards ceremony.

Romantic comedy ’Barfi!’ leads the way with 13 nominations including the  awards for best actor and best picture.

The light-hearted film, about a mischievous, but lovable mute and deaf man  from Darjeeling whose life revolves around two love interests, stars actor  Ranbir Kapoor, the great-grandson Prithviraj Kapoor, a pioneer in Indian cinema  and an actor in the silent era of Hindi cinema.

Other nominations for best picture include critically acclaimed “Gangs of  Wasseypur 1” about power struggles between three crime families spanning half a  century, and romcom Vicky Donor, about a whose romantic life is complicated  after he donates sperm to a fertility clinic.

Indian cinema is thriving commercially after the country produced almost  1,500 movies last year and the industry is expected to grow to $3.6 billion  from $2 billion in the next five years, according to consultancy KPMG.

Leading the way is Hindi-language Bollywood, which took the “B” from its  home in Bombay and won the hearts of movie-mad Indians.

The International Indian Film Academy Awards, which was first held in 2000,  was held in Singapore last year and is held in a different country annually. - AFP

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