Macau hosts glittering Indian film awards

Indian Bollywood director Anurag Basu enacts the character of unseen actor Ranbir Kapoor from his film Barfi after winning the award for the best film at the 14th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Award ceremony at The Venetian hotel in Macau on July 6, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Indranil MUKHERJEE

MACAU, Macau: Romantic comedy 'Barfi!' swept almost all the major gongs, including best picture, at India's answer to the Oscars on Saturday as Bollywood celebrates its centenary.

Bollywood royalty converged on the Chinese gambling hub of Macau for the 14th edition of the Indian International Film Festival, held in the territory's glittering Venetian resort.

'Barfi!' won six awards, including the prize for best actor and best director.

The light-hearted film, about a deaf and mute man from Darjeeling whose life revolves around two love interests, stars Ranbir Kapoor -- the great-grandson of Prithviraj Kapoor, pioneer of Indian film and an actor in the silent era of Hindi cinema.

"I don't know how you are feeling, but I am enjoying every moment of it," the film's director Anurag Basu said.

"People can understand the film because of less words, it's more visual," he added, saying Western silent movies had inspired the film.

'Barfi!' also won best story, best screenplay and best music direction.

Ranbir Kapoor was not in Macau to collect his award for best actor in a leading role.

Vidya Balan was named best actress in a leading role for her portrayal of a pregnant woman on a worldwide search for her missing husband in thriller 'Kahaani'.

A crowd of thousands in the packed Cotai Arena sang and applauded as their screen idols performed on stage with dance troupes and pyrotechnics.

Earlier, eager fans screamed as celebrities strode the green carpet, hoping for the chance to get an autograph from the likes of megastar Shah Rukh Khan.

"Just to know we have so many well wishers and fans overseas, it's great," said Abhishek Bachchan, who won best comic performance for his role in 'Bol Bachchan'.

"I think Bollywood is slowly just progressively capturing international attention," said popular Bollywood actress Amrita Rao, who was wearing a silver strapless gown.

But it was fan favourite Khan who drove the crowd into a frenzy as they chanted his name.

"I think it's an amazing platform," Khan said of IIFA, which he said brought Bollywood film "all over the world".

Khan shared the stage as host with star Shahid Kapoor.

Indian cinema is thriving commercially after the country produced almost 1,500 movies last year and the industry is expected to grow to $3.6 billion from $2 billion in the next five years, according to consultancy KPMG.

Leading the way is Hindi-language Bollywood, which took the "B" from its home in Bombay and won the hearts of movie-mad Indians.

The awards are held in a different country each year -- the next ceremony will take place in Tampa Bay in the US.





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