‘Akbar’ tops Indian Academy awards

Pic wins best picture, best director

“Jodhaa Akbar,” a lavish epic about the love of a Muslim Mughal king for a Hindu princess, swept up six awards at the 10th International Indian Film Academy awards in the southern Chinese gambling capital of Macau Saturday, including best picture, best director and best actor.

Among the Bollywood stars who flocked to the former Portuguese colony for the event was “Jodhaa Akbar” star Hrithik Roshan, who took the best actor kudos, and Abhishek Bachchan, who won best performance in a comic role in “Dostana,” a romance set in Miami.

Ashutosh Gowariker was named best helmer for “Jodhaa Akbar,” which follows the rise of the Mughal emperor Akbar The Great, and his love affair with his Hindu wife, played in the film by Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Pic also scored best music direction for Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman, best song lyrics and best male playback singer — an award for performers who record soundtracks for on-screen actors.

Two former Miss Worlds were in contention at the awards, which attracts auds of half a billion people and takes place in a different city each year. Priyanka Chopra took best actress for her role in “Fashion,” a tale of a model who makes a comeback, while another former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who featured in “The Pink Panther 2,” was also in contention for “Jodhaa Akbar.”

Best supporting actor went to Arjun Rampal for “Rock On!!” — about the reunion of an Indian band — and Kangana Ranawat won best supporting actress for “Fashion.”

The awards ceremony itself ran for five hours and featured circus performances and, of course, the elaborate song-and-dance routines for which Bollywood is famous.

Bollywood is keen to expand its influence in the Chinese market and other parts of Asia, and the first joint Indian-Chinese production, “Chandni Chowk to China” bowed earlier this year.

The event took place one week after the settlement of a damaging two-month row between producers and multiplex cinemas over how B.O. receipts are split.

Some 8,000 fans gathered for the awards ceremony, which was held at The Venetian Macao, a palatial 3,000-room hotel-casino launched by Las Vegas-based Sheldon Adelson in 2007. Macau is a former Portuguese colony that is now vying with Vegas to be the world’s gambling capital as backers from Nevada invest heavily there.

The lifetime achievement award went to veteran thesp Rajesh Khanna, who received a standing ovation.

Aishwarya Rai picked up kudos for best actress of the decade and outstanding achievement in international cinema.

Nominations were decided by a poll of members of the Indian film industry, and an Internet vote will decided the overall winners.

The awards began in 2000 when the first ceremony was held in London at the Millennium Dome. Last year’s event was held in Bangkok.

And the winners are:

FILM
”Jodhaa Akbar”

DIRECTOR
Ashutosh Gowariker, “Jodhaa Akbar”

ACTOR
Hrithik Roshan, “Jodhaa Akbar”

ACTRESS
Priyanka Chopra, “Fashion”

MUSIC DIRECTION
A.R. Rahman, “Jodhaa Akbar”

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Arjun Rampal, “Rock On!!”

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Kangana Ranawat “Fashion”

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN INTERNATIONAL CINEMA
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

PERFORMANCE AS A VILLIAN
Akshaye Khanna, “Race”

PERFORMANCE IN A COMIC ROLE
Abhishek Bachchan, “Dostana”

STORY
Neeraj Pandey, “A Wednesday”

LYRICS
Javed Akhtar, “Jashan-e-Baharaa” from “Jodhaa Akbar”

MALE PLAYBACK SINGER
Javed Ali, “Jashan-e-Baharaa” from “Jodhaa Akbar”

FEMALE PLAYBACK SINGER
Shreya Ghoshal, “Teri Ore” from “Singh is Kinng”

ACTRESS OF THE DECADE
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan

ACTOR OF THE DECADE
Shah Rukh Khan

DIRECTOR OF THE DECADE
Rakesh Ranaut

FILM OF THE DECADE
“Lagaan”

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Rajesh Khanna

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