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Chak De India takes top honours at IIFA

The script won screenwriter Jaideep Sahni an award for best story, while Shimit Amin took best director and star Shah Rukh Khan best actor.
By Claire Truscott | AFP, Bangkok
UPDATED ON JUN 09, 2008 04:50 PM IST

Chak De India, a sports film that plays with themes of religion and class, won top honours at at this year's International Indian Film Awards in Bangkok tonight, snapping up the coveted best picture award.

The movie tells the story of a Muslim captain of the Indian field hockey team who leaves the game after being wrongly accused of throwing a World Cup match against Pakistan.

After disappearing for seven years, he returns to coach the Indian women's team, leading them to a World Cup victory of their own .

The script won screenwriter Jaideep Sahni an award for best story, while Shimit Amin took best director and star Shah Rukh Khan best actor.

Kareena Kapoor scooped the best actress honour for Jab We Met. Irrfan Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma won for supporting roles in Life in a... Metro, a series of intersecting stories that all take place in the Mumbai Metro.

But some of the biggest stars of the night were shut out, including the Bachchan clan.

Former Miss World Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan, who dazzled fans in a full-length, strapless red satin fishtail gown, and her husband Abhishek Bachchan lost out for their lead roles in Guru -- the rags-to-riches story of an Indian business tycoon.

But another hot celebrity couple, Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone, received nods as the best new actors for their respective parts in Saawariya and Om Shanti Om.

Padukone's film Om Shanti Om, about an intrigue that carries over into a reincarnated life, swept most of the technical awards earlier in the show.

"This is an awards function that I have been watching on television with my parents. It's big to be here and be part of it," Padukone said.

Show-stopping dance numbers punctuated the ceremony, all promoting upcoming films that eschew the traditional song-and-dance format.

Dia Mirza donned a black halter top for a racy performance to promote her upcoming action thriller Acid Factory, only to be hit by a technical glitch that cut out the music and forced her to start again.

The stars of thriller Mission Istaanbul, about a terrorist plot centring on a Turkish TV station, shined in silver with Shriya Saran in a glitter top and a hip hop-styled Vivek Oberoi in a white plastic jacket and black trilby.

Wearing a tiger coat, Akshay Kumar flew on to the stage from the back of the hall on a skateboard, gliding along a wire, while turbaned dancers walked down the isles singing.

Kumar, who received a special achievement award, told the audience that he had once waited tables in the host city Bangkok before setting out to become a movie star.

"I was just a young man when my adventure began here. I was naive, restless and eager to please. This city embraced me with such love and kindness," he said.

The gala event launched by the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) just eight years ago has become one of the film industry's most-watched events, with an estimated 600 million television viewers.

Hundreds of fans greeted their favourite stars as they paraded into the posh downtown Bangkok theatre.

At least 500 of Bollywood's biggest names walked down a carpet, which was changed from red to green in a nod to the environmental themes the event is working to promote.

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