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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 May, 2003, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK
Devdas sweeps Bollywood 'Oscars'
Madhuri Dixit in Devdas
Devdas is based on a popular Indian novel
Bollywood blockbuster Devdas has swept the Indian film industry awards in South Africa.

The epic was the favourite with 12 nominations in 10 categories at the International Indian Film Academy ceremony held north of Johannesburg.

With its lavish sets and expensive designer costumes, Devdas cost more than $10m. It is said to be the most expensive film ever made in India.

Widely acknowledged as one of the most prolific in the world, India's film industry, also known as Bollywood, produces nearly 800 movies a year.

Best picture
Best actor: Shahrukh Khan
Best actress: Aishwarya Rai
Best director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Best supporting actress: Kiron Kher
Best lyrics
Best female playback singer
Also won nine technical awards

The film, a poignant love story based on a popular Indian novel written in 1917, won the best picture award.

Shahrukh Khan won best actor for his portrayal of Devdas, who drunkenly pines after his childhood sweetheart while rebuffing the advances of a love-struck courtesan.

Aishwarya Rai - a former Miss World currently in Cannes for the film festival - won best actress for her role as the lover whose plans to marry are derailed by her and Devdas' parents.

Devdas also took the awards for best director, best supporting actress, best lyrics and best female playback singer.

Aishwarya Rai in Cannes
Rai was attending the Cannes Film Festival this week

"I think its God's wish that I made this. It's taught me how to pray," director Sanjay Leela Bhansali said in accepting the award.

The awards, now in their fourth year, are the only Indian movie ceremony held abroad.

It is the second time the ceremony has been held in South Africa.

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