Celebrities including Kevin Spacey and John Travolta and
dignitaries from India and the United States descended on the
Gulf Coast city this week for the International Indian Film
Academy's awards, which had been likened to the Super Bowl in
terms of its security needs, traffic management and planning. .
"Bhaag Milkha Bhaag," a biographical sports drama based on the
life of Milkha Singh, an Indian athlete who was a national
champion runner and an Olympian, led the winners at the awards
which capped four days of events and celebrations aimed at
creating deeper ties between India and the United States.
Besides the awards for best picture and director Rakeysh
Omprakash Mehra, the film won the best actor award for Farhan
Akhtar, best supporting actress to Divya Dutta and best story.
It also collected a host of technical awards.
The prize for best actress went to Deepika Padukone for "Chennai
Express," and she was also named entertainer of the year.
"2013 was an amazing year for me," Padukone said after her win.
"I left home with a suitcase and a dream, and I thank my parents
for allowing me to follow my dream."
Hollywood star Travolta received a special award for outstanding
contribution to international cinema, saying he was "honoured
and humbled to be put in this category."
"I believe that as human being we are alike and this is a medium to
celebrate our similarities," Travolta said.
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The award for performance by an actor in a supporting role went to
Aditya Roy Kapoor for "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani."
Shatrughan Sinha was honoured for lifetime achievement.
The film "Aashiqui 2" scored a host of musical prizes, including
those for best lyrics and best male and female singers.
Honours for newcomers were won by actor and actress Dhanush and Vani
The four-day event, with an expected worldwide viewership of 800
million, drew tens of thousands of visitors to the area and was
expected to generate about $11 million in revenue, organizers said.
The $2 billion Indian film industry has a wide global reach and
produces more movies each year than Hollywood, though the U.S. film
industry generates five times more revenue, according to the Tampa
(Reporting by Chris Michaud; editing by Meredith Mazzilli)
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