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‘Idiots’ tops Indian awards

Rajkumar Hirani's film wins 16 awards

Helmer Rajkumar Hirani’s “3 Idiots,” the highest Bollywood grosser of all time, swept the board at the Intl. Indian Film Academy Awards, winning most of the major categories including film and director.

The film won 16 awards including nearly all the technical categories, where it won for cinematography (C.K. Muraleedharan) and editing (Hirani), among others.

Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan won actor for “Paa.” Vidya Balan shared the award for actress with Kareena Kapoor for their turns in “Paa” and “3 Idiots” respectively.

The awards, which are held in a different country outside India every year, unspooled over three days in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, culminating in the gala ceremony on Saturday.

The venue proved controversial, with the country’s minority Tamil groups protesting the choice due to alleged war crimes perpetrated on them by the ruling regime.

The protests were backed by the South Indian film industry, of which Tamil-language film is a powerful constituent. Since the industry has strong cultural ties with the Sri Lankan Tamils, the event was boycotted by Indian Tamils.

The awards lost even more lustre when Bachchan, who is the IIFA’s brand ambassador, and superstar Shah Rukh Khan pulled out at the last minute, pleading work commitments.

Many other nominees chose not to turn up, with only Kapoor present among the actress contenders. However, A-listers Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan performed on stage during the awards.

“Everyone who matters in the Hindi film industry is going to be there,” Sabbas Joseph, director of IIFA, told The Times of India before the event. “Politics should never be confused with entertainment . . . what’s the use of sitting at home protesting?”

He denied that Tamil actors had boycotted the event, saying none had been invited.

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