'3 Idiots' sweeps protest-hit Bollywood awards in Sri Lanka

Indian megastar Aamir Khan's hit movie "3 Idiots" swept the "Bollywood Oscars" at the weekend but the glitzy ceremony in Sri Lanka was marred by boycott calls and the absence of many top names.

Khan's film - a coming-of-age comedy about three engineering students - secured 16 out of 27 Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) awards, including best film.

But actor-producer-director Khan was not present at the ceremony, which Sri Lanka had hoped would highlight the island's progress and stability since the end of the civil war against Tamil Tiger rebels.

The influential film industry in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu, which is home to many Tamil refugees, had called for a boycott, arguing that the event in Colombo endorsed Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's war policy.

Rajapakse remains under pressure from the international community to allow a probe into the military offensive that finally crushed the Tiger rebels one year ago, ending decades of ethnic bloodshed.

The United Nations has said at least 7,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final months of fighting, while an estimated 100,000 people died in the war between 1972 and 2009.

Bollywood patriarch and IIFA brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, who won the best actor award for his role in "Paa", was also not present at the awards ceremony on Saturday evening.

Other notable absentees included Bachchan's actor son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarya Rai - Bollywood's glamorous leading couple - and popular heart throb Shah Rukh Khan.

In 2004 Shah Rukh Khan escaped a bomb attack at a concert of his in Colombo that killed two fans.

Rajapakse was billed as chief guest, but did not attend the awards and instead sent his wife and eldest son.

The president, a keen film buff, had hosted those Indian stars who did travel to Colombo at a function at his official residence on Saturday.

His office declined to explain his absence from the awards ceremony but local media reports said he felt snubbed after the leading Indian stars stayed away.

The IIFA celebrations, which have in recent years been held outside India to boost Bollywood's global profile, were heavily sponsored by Sri Lanka's tourism authorities in an attempt to showcase the island after decades of conflict.

Despite the absentees, fans poured into the awards' venue to see stars like Hrithik Roshan, Salman Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Vivek Oberoi, who all sang and danced scenes from their movies during the six-hour show.

The best actress award was shared by Kapoor for her role in "3 Idiots" and Vidya Balan for her role in "Paa".

"I came to see Kareena and Hrithik perform. They were simply fabulous," said Dinal Corera, a businessman.

"I'm a bit disappointed Amitabh Bachchan stayed away, for the first time in 11 years," said college student Isha Mandalaus. "Amitabh's presence would have raised the award ceremony's profile."

Fashion student Heshani Siriwardene said: "I am here to see Salman Khan. I'm a huge fan, so happy to see him perform live."

In the previous four years, the IIFAs were previously held in Macau, Thailand, Britain and Dubai.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Place Blanche, Paris, 1961, shot by Christer Strömholm
photographyHow the famous camera transformed photography for ever
Arts and Entertainment
The ‘Westmacott Athlete’
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
    How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

    How to make your own Easter egg

    Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

    Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

    Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

    The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

    Cricket World Cup 2015

    Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
    The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing