Salman's 'Dabangg' sweeps IIFA awards
Screen tough guy Salman Khan's corrupt cop romp "Dabangg" (Fearless) led with four wins at the Indian International Film Academy awards, held on Saturday for the first time in North America.
The film won in the hugely important music categories for best female playback singer, best male playback singer and best music direction, as well as best screenplay.
"My Name is Khan," starring Shah Rukh Khan as a Muslim suffering from Asperger's syndrome who is detained at a US airport after his disability is mistaken for suspicious behaviour, followed with two nods for best story and best lyrics.
The award for best dialogue went to the thriller "Ishqiya."
Tens of thousands of fans swarmed Toronto's Rogers' Centre stadium for the 12th annual "Bollywood Oscars," and another 700 million were expected to watch it on television.
Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor ("Slumdog Millionaire") and the Deol family were among the dozens of Bollywood superstars in attendance, along with Oscar-winners Hilary Swank and Cuba Gooding Jr.
Salman Khan, however, could not make it to Toronto as he was reportedly shooting his next film "Bodyguard," a romantic action movie with Kareena Kapoor.
"I love you so much," said Mamta Sharma over and over, after winning the award for best female playback singer for the song "Munni Badnam."
A tense moment followed when a fan grabbed Shah Rukh Khan onstage, leading the "King of Bollywood" to complain that he was hurting his leg.
"This is the problem, only men grab my thighs," Khan quipped as his assailant was escorted off stage.
Khan's return to the awards show after a six year absence had earlier been put in doubt by a knee injury that had required "a couple of injections" and it being taped up at a hospital.
He said he had fractured a part of the bone and the ligament was swollen "to three times the size it should be," but he vowed to perform a dance number at the IIFA show.
Khan last attended the IIFA in Amsterdam in 2005, and last performed at the show a year earlier in Singapore. He was nominated this year in the best actor category for his role in "My Name Is Khan."
A three-day festival leading up to awards night saw flash mobs of Indian dancers, gala movie premieres, a fashion show and Indian cultural events.
Jermaine Jackson performed his late brother Michael's hits with Indian pop singer Sonu Nigam at an IIFA concert on Friday to commemorate the second anniversary of Michael's death.
Ontario has the second-largest Indian diaspora in the world, topping 600,000 out of a total population of 13 million, "and their passion for Indian cinema has become ours (all Ontarians) too," said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
Launched in 2000 at the Millennium Dome in London, the annual IIFA awards have been held in 11 cities around the world, including Colombo, Macao, Bangkok, Dubai, Amsterdam and Johannesburg.
It is designed to celebrate the popular Hindi-language film industry and win new audiences abroad.
Bollywood gangster movie "Once Upon a Time in Mumbai" had led the field in the nominations with 12 in categories including best film and best male lead for Ajay Devgan, one of Bollywood's leading actors.
"Dabangg" was close behind with 11 nominations.
Other movies still in the running for a clutch of awards include the drama "Ishqiya" (Love) with nine nominations. Romantic comedy "Band Baaja Baaraat" (The Wedding Planners) and the thriller "Rajneeti" (Politics) both had eight.
The nominations came from more than 1,500 votes from the Indian film fraternity.
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