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Lage Raho Munnabhai takes top honours

Sunday, 10 December 2006 - 11:16am IST | Agency: AFP

A runaway hit comedy based on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi took top honours at the second Global Indian Film Awards at a star-studded ceremony in Malaysia.

KUALA LUMPUR: A runaway hit comedy based on the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi took top honours at the second Global Indian Film Awards at a star-studded ceremony in Malaysia.


Lage Raho Munnabhai, directed by Vidhu Chopra and touted as one of Bollywood's biggest money-spinners of the year, edged out highly fancied Rang De Basanti by director Rakyesh Mehra.


Chopra also won the award for best story for his movie that revived the decades-old teachings of Gandhi's non-violence movement for modern viewers.


"I am thankful for the opportunity and to the wonderful team that has made this dream possible for me," Chopra said after receiving his award late on Saturday.


In the movie, Gandhi, the torchbearer of India's fight against British rule, urges a gangster to give up his life of crime to woo his lady love. 


"It's a beautiful story, it is very endearing to us Indians that we can once more see what Gandhi stood for in the film," said engineer Nilesh Modi, a movie fan who had flown in from India to attend the awards ceremony.   


Rakyesh Mehra's nationalistic-themed Rang De Basanti was the most prolific winner on the night, sweeping up eight awards, including best director, best music direction, and best background score by AR Rahman, an acclaimed South Indian composer.   


The movie, which is India's official nominee for an Oscar in the best foreign films category, explores the death of an Air Force pilot in a crash caused by poor maintenance that is covered up until friends reveal the truth.


The awards ceremony attended by some 4,500 fans at a stadium in Kuala Lumpur featured sizzling song and dance numbers in typical Bollywood style, and showcased the cream of Indian cinema.


The Oscar-styled event, which ended in the early hours of Sunday, also had its share of slip-ups including flat jokes, overly long speeches and a glitch when part of the award trophy, a globe, came off during the presentation.   


The night's biggest crowd-pleaser was an appearance by heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan who gave an opening address.   


Khan, who is a household name for Indian movie fans the world over, welcomed the crowd and expressed regret at not being able to dance due to an injury.


"I have a torn hamstring and I am not dancing. I have turned into Dave Saran in the movie Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna," Khan said, referring to a previous role as an injured footballer.   


Khan won the inaugural award for the most searched for actor on the Internet but lost out to Hrithik Roshan for the coveted best actor award.


Hrithik, whose stunning good looks and versatile acting have earned him plaudits from critics and fans, played an action superhero in the sci-fi flick Krrish directed by his father, Rakesh.


"I have spent the last 32 years of my life being raised by the most persevering and ambitious man, a man of steel himself," an emotional Hrithik said.


"I would like to dedicate this award to the true superhero, my father."


A separate award was given to Rakesh Roshan for outstanding contribution to Indian cinema over 35 years. 


The best actress award went to Bipasha Basu for her role as a steely executive in the film Corporate, beating other big names in the industry including Kajol, Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee.


Best actor in a supporting role went to Abishek Bachan for portraying a dejected husband in the movie Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna.


He beat his father, screen legend Amitabh Bachchan, who was in the category but was not present to collect the award.   


The younger Bachan performed a dance medley on stage to screaming fans as part of the night's entertainment.    Best supporting actress went to Soha Ali Khan for her emotional portrayal of the wife of the dead pilot in Rang De Basanti. 


Best screenplay went to Mehra and Renzil D'Silva for the same movie while best cinematography was awarded to Tassaduq Hussein for the movie Omkara, the Indian version of Shakespeare's Othello.   


The event was punctuated by movie-themed dance performances including a finale by Salman Khan, and was graced by Malaysian dignitaries including the queen and prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

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