(Corrects actor's surname in paragraph 8)
By Farah Master
MACAU, July 6 (Reuters) - The film Barfi scooped top honours
in India's version of the Oscars at a ceremony in the Chinese
gambling haven of Macau on Saturday that also celebrated a
century of Bollywood, which makes up a big chunk of a
multi-billion-dollar film industry.
Barfi is a romantic comedy about a mute and deaf man and his
relationship with two women. The movie was praised by critics
for its positive portrayal of physically disabled people, a
somewhat unusual theme for Bollywood screenplays.
India, the world's biggest film producer, makes more than
double the number of Hollywood movies on an annual basis.
Already popular in countries with sizable Indian populations,
Indian films are also a growing hit with Chinese audiences as
well as in Russia and Germany.
Hosted by Bollywood heartthrobs Shah Rukh Khan and Shahid
Kapoor, the four-hour ceremony of pulsating dance routines and
colourful costume changes was attended by an audience of over
seven thousand screaming fans.
Some of Indian cinema's biggest names including Deepika
Padukone set the Macau arena alight with high octane
performances, while older generation actors like Boman Irani and
modern pin ups such as Vidya Balan graced the green carpet.
Known for catchy songs, whimsical backdrops and
raven-tressed actresses, Bollywood films typically transport
viewers away from reality to a world where good triumphs over
evil and love reunites everyone, themes that resonate well in
"We make musicals. I think every film is a musical. Every
film has at least six to seven songs," said Ayushmann Khurrana,
nominated for best actor after his debut in "Vicky Donor", a
romantic comedy about sperm donation. "So that is how Bollywood
is completely different from Hollywood."
Best actress was won by Vidya Balan for Kahani while Ranbir
Kapoor for Barfi took home the award for best actor. Barfi also
won the award for best film.
India's film entertainment sector is booming and estimated
to generate revenue of close to $5 billion by 2015.
The choice of Macau to host the annual event comes as the
gambling hub is pushing to diversify its customer base beyond
the traditional casino punter who spends only on the baccarat
tables rather than on entertainment, dining and hospitality.
Indian customers are increasingly targeted by the casino
operators due to their tendency to stay longer than the average
Chinese punter and their heavy spending on non-gaming pastimes.
(Additional reporting by Stefanie McIntyre and Venus Wu,
editing by Elaine Lies)