Americans rock to Bollywood beat

Central Station | 17 Jul 2017

Bollywood stars led a five-hour celebration of dance, music and fashion at the International Indian Film Academy awards night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

Best picture went to Neerja, a thriller based on the true story of a purser who helped save the lives of more than 350 passengers when Libyan-backed hijackers stormed Pan Am Flight 73 in Karachi in 1986. The hijackers killed the purser, who posthumously became the youngest person to receive India's highest civilian award for bravery.

Udta Punjab, spotlighting drug abuse among young people in Punjab, scooped Shahid Kapoor best actor and Alia Bhatt best actress. The movie angered Punjab politicians, and the filmmakers took India's censor to court over cuts it tried to make.

The trio of serious films taking top awards was rounded out by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury going home as best director for Pink, about sexual violence against women.

The night is India's biggest media event and one of the world's most- watched entertainment shows at nearly 800 million. It is held in a different city overseas each year to showcase the world's most prolific film industry.

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