Bollywood Awards: Tamil Protest prevents return to “Business as Usual” in Sri Lanka

Amitabh Bachchan: will reportedly not attend opening ceremony

MEL GUNASEKERA

June 6, 2010 – 8:49AM

Megastar Aamir Khan’s hit movie “3 Idiots” swept the “Bollywood Oscars” in Sri Lanka this weekend, securing 16 out of 27 awards, including best film.

The film — a coming-of-age comedy about three engineering students — was nominated in 12 of the 13 main categories at the Indian International Film Academy (IIFA) awards and won eight of them on Saturday night.

It had already secured another eight of the 14 technical awards announced last month, including best screenplay and best cinematography.

But actor-producer-director Khan, who stars in the film, was not present at Saturday’s glitzy ceremony in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, which was overshadowed by protests from minority Tamils.

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

Rajapakse is under pressure from the international community to allow a probe into a controversial military strategy that crushed Tamil rebels last year, ending a near four-decade civil war.

The United Nations has said at least 7,000 Tamil civilians were also killed in the final months of fighting last year.

IIFA brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, who won the best actor award for his role in “Paa,” was also not present at the awards ceremony. Continue reading