Hindi awards hit Malay territory

KUALA LUMPUR — The third annual Intl. Indian Film Academy Awards are being staged next month for the first time in Malaysia after the past two editions were held at the Millennium Dome in London and in Sun City, South Africa.

The awards, which salute the achievements of Hindi filmmakers, will be handed out at the Genting Highlands resort’s Arena of Stars April 6.

The event will be broadcast around the world via Sony Entertainment Television. Some 350 Bollywood stars including Salman Khan, Jackie Shroff, Aishwarya Rai and Amitabh Bachchan (who is the IIFA’s chief patron) are expected to attend.

Among the pics nominated is “Aankhen,” which toplines Bachchan, Akshay Kumar and Paresh Rawal.

Bachchan says: “I am particularly happy that IIFA has chosen Malaysia to hold this event. I have always believed that Indian cinema has the quality to move beyond Indian shores. IIFA presents a platform not just for the award winners, but also opportunities for India and the host country to collaborate.”

Malaysia’s Culture, Arts and Tourism Minister Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir says the fact that Malaysia is a melting pot of Asian cultures has resulted in great appreciation of and audience for Indian cinema.

“For a long time, the lives of Malaysians have been touched by Indian cinema. Even when the Malay film industry was in its infancy, we had Indian directors to guide us,” he says, noting Bollywood movies are enjoyed not only by the Indian and Malay communities but by other ethnic groups as well.

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