Politics underscored the prizes as “Rang de Basanti” Saturday took top honors at the Int’l Indian Film Academy awards, Bollywood’s equivalent of the Oscars, at a ceremony held in Sheffield, England.
Event was held in front of a 12,000-plus audience at the Hallam Arena and according to some estimates show attracts further half a billion TV spectators in 110 territories.
“Rang,” about a group of youngsters who set out to make a movie about British colonial era and up highlighting modern Indian government corruption, scooped 10 awards from the 15 categories it was nominated and was named best film.
The award for best director was bagged by Rajkumar Hirani for “Lage Raho Munnabhai,” a pic that with “Rang” is also a foremost example of the “new wave” Indian cinema. Pic is a comedy with a political tinge, focusing on the ongoing influence of Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violence movement.
Rani Mukerjee won best actress trophy for her performance in “Kabhie Alvida Na Kehna,” the best actor award went to Hrithik Roshan for his superhero act in ‘Krrish’.
Six hour ceremony which overspilled into the small hours of Sunday morning, was a superstar-studded event. In attendance were Bollywood’s first family — Amitabh Bachchan, son Abhishek Bachchan and bride Aishwarya Rai — Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan and the ubiquitous “Big Brother” winner Shilpa Shetty.
British Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell was also in Sheffield, as was Prime Minister Tony Blair, albeit only on film. He and thesp Sienna Miller star in “Global Cool,” a Shekhar Kapur-helmed short film promoting climate change awareness that was screened during the kudosfest.
Literally underlying the event and reinforcing the point on environmental issues, the traditional red carpet was replaced by a green one.