'Jodhaa Akbar' dominates Bollywood awards

June 13, 2009 6:06:03 PM PDT
A historical epic about the romance between a Mughal king and a Hindu princess dominated the 10th International Indian Film Academy awards in the southern Chinese enclave of Macau on Saturday by winning six awards, including best picture and best actor for heartthrob Hrithik Roshan. "Jodhaa Akbar" creator Ashutosh Gowariker was also named best director. The film also took home 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.

Former Miss World Priyanka Chopra was named best actress for playing a model who stages a comeback in "Fashion."

Gowariker, who directed the Oscar-nominated 2001 film "Lagaan," said he was advised not to make a film about the touchy subject of Hindu-Muslim relations but went ahead because "I somehow felt it is the need of art." "Jodhaa Akbar" describes how what was intended as a politically strategic marriage between a Muslim emperor and a Hindu beauty evolved into genuine love.

Picking up his award for playing the king, Roshan saluted Gowariker, saying "This is as much yours as it is mine."

Chopra called "Fashion" "one of the most difficult films of my life."

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 female star of "Jodhaa Akbar," another former Miss World, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan from the Hollywood movie "The Pink Panther 2" missed out on best actress honors, but it was still a big night for her family - the first family of Indian cinema. The actress is married to actor Abhishek Bachchan, the son of Indian screen legend Amitabh Bachchan.

Aishwarya Rai did pick up awards for best actress of the decade and outstanding achievement in international cinema, joking that the second award felt like a "mini-lifetime achievement award." Abhishek was named best actor in a humorous role for the Miami-set comedy "Dostana." Accepting his award, the younger Bachchan paid an emotional tribute to his father, saying "I was a young boy watching the greatest actor alive."

The elder Bachchan presented the lifetime achievement award to veteran actor Rajesh Khanna - who received a standing ovation from the audience of thousands - recalling that Khanna's fanatic female fans would pick up dirt from his car tires and place them in their hair as a gesture of worship.

"The word superstar in the Indian film industry was for the first time coined for him," Bachchan said.

Gowariker's "Lagaan," about a group of Indian villagers who play their British colonial rulers in cricket to decide the fate of their taxes, was named film of the decade. Another heartthrob, Shah Rukh Khan won male star of the decade. Roshan presented his father, filmmaker Rakesh Rohan, with the director of the decade prize.

The nominees in the top categories were chosen by film industry insiders, with the winners decided by an Internet vote.

The day's marathon festivities began with a three-hour long red carpet ceremony along a 200-meter strip inside the massive The Venetian Macao casino-hotel resort, with passionate ethnic Indian fans from as far as the U.S. and South Africa pressing up against barricades, punching their hands in the air as they chanted the names of their idols and their movies.

The awards ceremony itself was a freewheeling five-hour variety show ending at 2:30 a.m. Sunday (1830 GMT Saturday) that combined a Cirque du Soleil circus performance, skits, movie spoofs, and the elaborate song-and-dance routines that Indian cinema is renowned for. At one point, the host waded into the VIP section to get different stars to sing Hindi numbers spontaneously.

The dance performances were a spectacular showing of fast-paced hip-swiveling action in glittering costumes amid disco lights fireworks and confetti.

Her head and body covered in silver jewelry, Aishwarya Rai was carried onto stage in a golden sedan chair by barefoot men to the music of "Jodhaa Akbar" and then performed with a group of bare-chested dancers. Her husband showed up among the audience in a pink-striped kurta, slowly made his way to stage while high-fiving members of the audience then shook his body with female dancers in red bikini tops and red dresses.

Follow Action News on Twitter

Get Action News on your website

Follow Action News on Facebook

Click here to get the latest Philadelphia news and headlines from across the Delaware and Lehigh valleys.


Load Comments