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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 10:57 GMT
Bachchan trumpets 'Bollywood Oscars'
Amitabh Bachchan
Bachchan says he wants to continue working as long as possible

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan has said that the International Indian Film Academy Awards - commonly known as the "Bollywood Oscars" - are now a massively important part of the Indian film industry.

Bachchan has recently been in the UK promoting the awards, which will be held in five cities in the English county of Yorkshire in June 2007.

Now in its eighth year, the event has previously been hosted in Amsterdam, Dubai, Singapore, London, Malaysia and South Africa.

Bachchan, who is the brand ambassador for the event, told BBC World Service's Outlook programme that in recent years the awards had started "getting a lot more important".

"Apart from the fact that the whole industry travels out of India and comes across to a foreign country, we also discovered that there was a huge amount of interest economically that was being generated," he said.

"So we discovered that there were people interested in the field of economics who wanted to share ideas."

Millennium superstar

The awards last year attracted a global audience of about 480 million people, and different countries now bid to hold them.

Aishwarya Rai
Aishwarya Rai is one of the stars expected in Yorkshire in 2007
The 2007 awards will be split between Bradford, Leeds, Sheffield, York and Hull.

"I believe Indian cinema has to go beyond Indian shores," Bachchan said.

Bachchan is one of the icons of Indian cinema.

In a BBC online poll of the world's most popular movie stars, he topped the list as "Superstar of the Millennium", eclipsing other legendary names such as Charlie Chaplin.

He made his first film in 1969, playing a Muslim writer. Then in 1973 he got his big break in Zanjeer, a film about a policeman suspended from duty who tracks down the killer of his family.

"It was a phase in the life of the country when it was believed that the system was not working efficiently enough or adequately enough," he recalled.

"Therefore, any man who would stand up and take the system on, or fight alone, would be looked upon as doing something very heroic.

"Fortunately, I happened to be in a position where that role was offered to me, and fortunately that role clicked. So it did go a long way in putting me as the 'angry young man'."


Having appeared in more than 100 films, in the mid-1980s Bachchan became a member of parliament and then for a while his screen career took a back seat - before a highly successful comeback in movies and as a quiz show host.

As a result, he has been dubbed by the Indian press as the man who "made ageing cool in Bollywood."

But he told Outlook that he is "petrified" every time he has to perform with the traditional dancing girls - especially as he feels he was never any good at singing and dancing even when he was young.

"It's a lot of hard work - I'm petrified every time I'm asked to do something like that," he said.

"But somehow or other, we staple our cheeks up and push some adrenaline inside us and we do it. Happily, it's liked by a few people and we carry on."

Region prepares for Indian Oscars
08 Nov 06 |  Bradford
Yorkshire wins bid for Bollywood
16 Jun 06 |  England
Bollywood legend returns to work
20 Mar 06 |  South Asia

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