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Saturday, 6 April, 2002, 21:55 GMT 22:55 UK
Lagaan scoops Bollywood awards
Miss Universe performing a Bollywood version of Moulin Rouge at the IIFA
The ceremony was hosted by Miss Universe
Firm favourite Lagaan has swept the board at Bollywood's annual awards ceremony held in Malaysia.

Lagaan director Ashutosh Gowariker
Gowariker: said the award brought him great happiness

Telling the emotional story of a team of poor Indian cricketers in the 19th Century who defeat a team of colonial British rulers at their own game, Lagaan won seven India International Film Awards including best film, best director, best story and best actor for its star Aamir Khan.

Best actress award went to Tabu, who starred in Chandni Bar, a film about the lives of bar girls in Bombay.

The third International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards ceremony was held in Genting Highlands, some 50 kilometres (31 miles) from Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur.

Cinema boost

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

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

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

An ecstatic Ashutosh Gowariker, director of Lagaan, told the 3,000-strong crowd that winning the award gave him great happiness.

At the Oscar's ceremony in March, Lagaan missed out on the Best Foreign Film award despite being only the third Indian film ever to be nominated for the award.

Fellow director Karen Johar, whose film Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham received 12 nominations and won two, including best supporting actress for Jaya Bachan, said that despite being competition he was glad Lagaan had won as it brought Indian cinema to a global audience.

"I do feel that Lagaan is a far superior film and a win for it would be a boost for Indian cinema," he told the Associated Press news agency.

'Gold rush'

Bollywood film legend Amitabh Bachchan also told the audience Indian cinema was now poised to make a vital crossover to the international community.

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

Director of event organiser Wizcraft Int Sabbas Joseph
"The world has begun to realise that Indian cinema is not only about song and dance but more," he said.

"The gold rush has begun," he added.

Two special awards were also given out; one to veteran actress Sadhana, and another for special recognition to Mira Nair for the film Monsoon Wedding, which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last September.

Earlier, Sabbas Joseph, director of event organiser Wizcraft Int, said the awards were being held in Malaysia in an attempt to reach out to the Asian audience.

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

"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."

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 | Film
Bollywood goes on display
20 Feb 02 | South Asia
Bidding for Bollywood art
06 Feb 02 | Film
Bollywood goes to LA
27 Nov 01 | Film
Bollywood eyes Afghan market
13 Feb 02 | Business
Bollywood's hopes for Oscar dollars
01 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Bollywood star tops the poll
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