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IIFA bringing regional cinema to fore: Shabana

Singapore: The 13th IIFA Weekend kicked off amid a lot of star power here today with actress Shabana Azmi and Tamil thespian Kamal Hassan emphasising that the Bollywood extravaganza is widening its horizon to provide a global platform to regional cinema as well.

"We are celebrating all of Indian cinema here which is not just Bollywood so this year we have also included cinema from the South, the biggest representative of which is Mr Kamal Hassan who is present here. Indian cinema is not homogenous, just like our culture, so IIFA is slowly trying to provide a global platform to regional cinema as well. This year we have South, we`ll slowly move to other regions as well," said Azmi.

Excerpts of Kamal`s new film "Viswaroop" will be showcased tomorrow at IIFA. "Exclusive IIFA has become inclusive. The Indian film industry is very diverse and I am happy that the 13th IIFA awards have included Southern cinema in its world, a world which also includes people like Shabana Azmi and Liv Ullmann. I am honoured to have got the opportunity to share the dias with these people and to show excerpts from my film `Viswaroop`," Hassan said.

Famous Norwegian actress and director Liv Ullmann is at the IIFA this year to show her film on her relationship with Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. The three-day festival, which travels to a new country every year, is being attended by some of the leading Bollywood stars like Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukherjee, Abhay Deol, Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, Farhan Akhtar, Shahid Kapoor, Ranbir Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Preity Zinta and Bipasha Basu.

Amitabh Bachchan and his family, a regular at the IIFA until recently, will give the event a miss third time in a row. Shah Rukh Khan, a part of the festivities last year, has also decided to skip IIFA to finish shooting for Yash Chopra`s next film. The event will include the world premiere of Dibakar Banerjee`s political thriller "Shanghai", green carpet, IIFA rocks, fashion show and a glittering award show at the end of the ceremony. Zoya Akhtar`s road trip drama "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara" and Vidya Balan`s "The Dirty Picture" will be fighting it out at the IIFA this year.

"ZMND" leads the tally with 14 nods including best film, best actor for Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol for best supporting actor, Zoya Akthar for best director and best music for Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy. Ekta Kapoor`s "The Dirty Picture" follows close with 13 nominations including best film, best actress for Vidya Balan and best director for Milan Luthria. Imtiaz Ali`s "Rockstar" and Salman Khan`s "Bodyguard" are also in the race with nine and seven nods respectively.

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