Bollywood gangster flick heads field for top awards

Bollywood gangster movie "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai" leads the field in nominations for the Hindi-language film industry's glitziest awards ceremony, organisers said on Friday.

The film has been nominated in 12 categories for the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, including best film and best male lead for Ajay Devgn.

Screen tough guy Salman Khan's corrupt cop romp "Dabangg" (Fearless) was close behind with 11 nominations.

Other movies in the running for a clutch of awards include the drama "Ishqiya" (Love) with nine. Romantic comedy "Band Baaja Baaraat" (The Wedding Planners) and the thriller "Rajneeti" (Politics) both have eight.

The nominations came from more than 1,500 votes from the Indian film fraternity. An online public vote opens on May 10, organisers Wizcraft International Entertainment said in a statement.

The annual IIFA awards, which have been held overseas for the last 11 years, are designed to celebrate the popular Hindi-language film industry and win new audiences abroad.

They will be held this year in Toronto on June 23-25.

Last year's event in Sri Lanka saw many top stars stay away after protests by Indian Tamils who said Bollywood's decision to come to the island nation legitimised the under-fire government of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

Here are the nominations in major categories:

Best film

"Band Baaja Baaraat"

"Dabangg"

"My Name is Khan"

"Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai"

"Rajneeti"

Best performance in a leading role male

Ajay Devgn, "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai"

Ranbir Kapoor, "Rajneeti"

Salman Khan, "Dabangg"

Shah Rukh Khan, "My Name is Khan"

Hrithik Roshan, "Guzaarish" (Wishes)

Best performance in a leading role female

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, "Guzaarish"

Vidya Balan, "Ishqiya"

Katrina Kaif, "Rajneeti"

Kareena Kapoor, "Golmaal 3" (Suspicious)

Anushka Sharma, "Band Baaja Baaraat"

Best direction

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, "Guzaarish"

Karan Johar, "My Name is Khan"

Abhinav Kashyap, "Dabangg"

Milan Luthria, "Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai"

Vikramaditya Motwane, "Udaan" (Flight).

Maneesh Sharma, "Band Baaja Baaraat"

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