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Historical epic sweeps ‘B’wood Oscars’ – Indian stars gather in Madrid

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by June 26, 2016 General

Indian Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha poses on the green carpet as she arrives to the 17th edition of IIFA Awards (International Indian Film Academy Awards) in Madrid. The IIFA Awards are presented annually by the International Indian Film Academy to honour both artistic and technical excellence of professionals in Bollywood, the Hindi language film industry. (AFP) Indian Bollywood actress Sonakshi Sinha poses on the green carpet as she arrives to the 17th edition of IIFA Awards (International Indian Film Academy Awards) in Madrid. The IIFA Awards are presented annually by the International Indian Film Academy to honour both artistic and technical excellence of professionals in Bollywood, the Hindi language film industry. (AFP)

MADRID, June 26, (AFP): Indian historical epic “Bajirao Mastani” swept the “Bollywood Oscars” early Sunday, taking home awards for best director, best supporting actress and best male actor for leading man Ranveer Singh.

The movie, which sees Singh play an 18th century Maratha warrior, picked up nine other technical awards at the International Indian Film Academy awards, including for choreography and best cinematography.

“I am quite overwhelmed by all of this,” the movie’s director, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, said as he picked up his prize at the International Film Academy awards being held this year in Spain for the first time.

“I don’t want to thank anyone for this film. I think thank you is just not enough for this film,” he added to applause from the 5,000-strong crowd gathered at Madrid’s IFEMA congress centre for the event.

“Bajirao Mastani” made around 3.5 billion rupees ($52 million) according to industry estimates, and it has already picked up a number of Indian film awards this year.

Singh in turn said he learned “how to be singleminded and uncompromising in the pursuit of excellence” by working with Bhansali on the film.

“I hope we will continue to make magic together,” the 30-year-old actor, who impressed audiences in his 2010 debut as a street-smart Delhi wedding planner in the romantic comedy “Band Baaja Baaraat”.

The best picture award went to “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” staring Salman Khan, whose character embarks on a journey to reunite a mute six-year-old Pakistani girl stuck in India with her parents in Pakistan.

The movie was the biggest-grossing Bollywood film of 2015, earning around 6.26 billion rupees.

Lifetime

Sridevi Kapoor, considered by many to be the first female superstar of Hindi cinema, was honoured with a lifetime achievement award.

The award show, which celebrates the Hindi language film industry known as Bollywood, takes place in a different city outside of India every year in the hope of luring new audiences to the genre.

The co-hosts of the show, Bollywood stars Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor, arrived on the stage for the start of ceremony — which got underway two hours behind schedule — riding donkeys.

They were followed by young men wearing football jerseys who did tricks with a ball with their heads and a mariachi band in white suits.

In the opening ceremony Bollywood superstar Hrithik Roshan, accompanied by dozens of dancers, performed the flamenco-themed song “Senorita” from his 2011 film “Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara”, a road movie shot largely in Spain.

Spanish tourism promotion agency Turespana worked closely on the production of the film and it was one of the sponsors of the awards ceremony, which is expected to bring 15,000 extra visitors to Madrid.

Spain is seeking to diversify its tourism base beyond the traditional northern European sunseekers that account for the bulk of its visitors and officials hope hosting the awards will draw more Indian visitors.

Madrid city hall was illuminated with the colours of the Indian flag over the weekend in honour of the awards.

“Dear friends it is so nice to have you here. I am really, really pleased and at the same time very proud of your choice,” Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena said at the start of the awards ceremony.

Indian celebrities gathered in Madrid Saturday for the “Bollywood Oscars”, a star-studded award show being held in Spain for the first time that will be watched by up to 800 million people worldwide.

The award show, which celebrates the Hindi language film industry known as Bollywood, takes place in a different city outside of India every year in the hope of luring new audiences to the genre.

International

“Slumdog Millionaire” star Freida Pinto, dressed in a striking blue sleeveless dress, also collected a special award for outstanding achievement by an Indian actor in international cinema, receiving her honour from co-star Anil Kapoor.

“It is great to see so many Indians out here, it is so amazing,” she said.

Shilpa Shetty, the Bollywood star who shot to fame as the winner of British reality TV show “Celebrity Big Brother”, also took part, leading a yoga “masterclass”.

Shetty made headlines in 2007 after a fellow Big Brother contestant mocked her name and Indian origin.

The audience was made up largely of Indians who live in Spain and elsewhere in Europe.

The crowd cheered loudly when celebrity co-host Karan Johar arm wrestled one of Bollywood’s biggest stars Salman Khan, who has played a bad boy with a heart of gold in dozens of Indian blockbusters.

Khan, 50, is up for best male actor on Saturday for his role in “Bajrangi Bhaijaan”, the biggest-grossing Bollywood film of 2015.

Tickets for the awards ceremony at the 5,000-seat congress centre went on sale in May at a cost of 50-225 euros ($57-255), selling out in just three weeks.

Madrid city hall was illuminated with the colours of the Indian flag on Friday night ahead of the awards, which are expected to bring 15,000 extra visitors to the Spanish capital and generate 15 million euros ($16.7 million) in revenue.

“We are very pleased to open our arms to such a deep and attractive culture as is Indian culture,” Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena said at the award ceremony held earlier this week.

The broadcast of the awards attracts approximately 800 million viewers worldwide.

Launched in 2000 at the Millennium Dome in London, other cities to have hosted the glitzy event include Dubai, Bangkok, Singapore and Toronto.

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