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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Stars gather for Bollywood awards
Amitabh Bachchan
Bachchan has been immortalised by Madame Tussauds
Some of Bollywood's biggest stars are gathering at a Malaysian hilltop casino resort for the Indian film industry's annual awards ceremony.

The third International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards will get under way on Saturday at Genting Highlands, some 31 miles from Kuala Lumpur.

The ceremony will be watched by millions of television viewers worldwide.

Stars Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Kajol and Aishwarya Rai are all due to attend.

Star Aamir Khan promoting Lagaan
Aamir Khan stars in the blockbuster Lagaan

The spotlight for the event falls on director Aamir Khan's big international hit, Lagaan.

The film, nominated for best foreign language film at last month's Oscars, is up for 12 of 13 IIFA awards, including best picture, best director and best actor.

But Lagaan faces a tough fight from Bachchan's Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (Sometimes Joy, Sometimes Sorrow) - also known as K3G - which is also vying for 12 awards.

Also tipped to do well is the other major international success of the year besides Lagaan, Anil Sharma's Gadar.

Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Bachchan and Sunny Deol are competing for the best actor award.

Asoka
Asoka was one of big the hits of the year

Kajol, Amisha Patel, Gracy Singh, Preity Zinta and Tabu are up for the best actress honour.

Tickets to the awards have been sold out and all six hotels at the hill resort are fully booked, according to officials.

The three-hour extravaganza, to be hosted by Miss Universe 2000 Lara Dutta, is to be broadcast live to 80 countries, organisers have said.

Some Hollywood stars are expected to attend the ceremony, but the guest list remains a mystery.

The first IIFA awards were held at the Millennium Dome, in London, in 2000.

'Highway'

In 2001, they were at Sun City, in South Africa.

"This year, having come to Malaysia, we are reaching out to Asia itself," said Sabbas Joseph, director of event organiser Wizcraft Int.

"There's a huge, huge following in Asia - in the tens of millions.

"Hindi cinema and Indian cinema have gone on a journey. It's on a highway, communicating with people, mixing with people. It is connecting with the world," Mr Joseph said.

He added that he hoped to incorporate regional cinemas, such as Malayalam and Tamil films, into the event, which currently honours only Hindi-language films, from next year.

See also:

21 Mar 02 | Entertainment
20 Feb 02 | South Asia
06 Feb 02 | Entertainment
27 Nov 01 | Entertainment
13 Feb 02 | Business
01 Jul 99 | Entertainment
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