Bollywood star’s AIDS crusade

9-day Intl. Film Festival of India helps thesp's attempts

NEW DELHI — Bollywood thesp Amitabh Bachchan was Wednesday appointed an ambassador in the anti-AIDS campaign headed by South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela during a ceremony marking World AIDS Day at the Intl. Film Festival of India in the beach state of Goa.

The star, who is as popular in South Africa as he is in India, will endorse anti-AIDS campaigns in both countries, which have the highest infection rates of the disease in the world.

The ceremony took place after a screening of South African film “Yesterday,” produced by Anant Singh and directed by Darrell James Roodt, about a rural woman who is HIV-positive.

The movie is the first to be supported by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and is South Africa’s entry for the Academy Awards in the Foreign Language Picture category.

The nine-day festival kicked off on Monday. The Goa government spent more than 1.2 billion rupees ($26 million) to build the infrastructure to host the festival, which boasts seven main parts, including Asian competition, Indian mainstream and retrospective.

Hollywood’s “The Incredibles,” Oliver Stone’s “Alexander” and Mira Nair’s “Vanity Fair” are main attractions at the fest where more than 200 films from Asia, North America and Europe are being screened.

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