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FIRST COMPLETE BOLLYWOOD HERO

It had all the trappings of a typical Hindi blockbuster--songs and dances, tears and smiles, performance and dialogue, laughter and fun, and a consummate climax.

As in any good script, the show was held together by a sutradhar--two, in fact, in the form of Javed Jaffrey and Malaika Arora--who took the plot forward as the shimmering, sequined sequences unveiled themselves on the state-of-the-art sets. And finally, there was a full house that cheered and applauded through the entire evening at the NSE Grounds in Goregaon on Saturday night.

The verdict was unanimous--the 46th Annual Manikchand Filmfare Awards were a hit. In fact, the ceremony--billed as the Indian Oscars--could itself well have qualified as an entry for next year's awards.This year, the focus was on Kaho Naa..Pyaar Hai (KNPH) which took home the maximum number of awards--Best Film, Best Director (Rakesh Roshan), Best Actor (Hrithik Roshan), Best Music Director (Rajesh Roshan), Best Male Newcomer (Hrithik Roshan), Best Screenplay (Ravi Kapoor and Honey Irani), Best Editing (Ravi Verma), Best Choreography (Farah Khan) and last but not least, Best Male Playback Singer (Lucky Ali).

Indeed, the three Roshans--Rakesh, Rajesh and Hrithik--presented the same picture of unity at the show which they had shown during the making of KNPH. Rakesh Roshan, who accepted the awards for the Best Film and Best Director, delivered a compact speech when he said, ``This award belongs to my unit.''

When Roshan Jr went up on stage to collect his statuette, excitement was palpable in the audience. Amidst thunderous applause, the reigning silver-screen heartthrob said the award was so prestigious that he was scared even to hold it in his hands. The Best Actress award went to Karisma Kapoor for Fiza.

In the Best Actor In a Supporting Role category, Amitabh Bachchan scored a hit with his underplayed performance in Mohabbatein while Jaya Bachchan won the Best Actress In A Supporting Role award for Fiza. The Best Performance In A Comic Role went to Paresh Rawal for Hera Pheri while Sunil Shetty creamed his co-contenders to bag the Best Performance In A Villainous Role award for Dhadkan.

The Filmfare Special Jury Award went to Anu Mallik while the Sony Scene of The Year was bagged by Mohabbatein. Kareena Kapoor's performance in the film Refugee won her the Best Female Newcomer Award.

One of the highlights of the evening was the unveiling of Amitabh Bachchan's wax model which was specially flown in from Madame Tussaud's in London. Speaking on the occasion, Bachchan remarked in his trademark baritone that the wax replica had left him ``embarrassed, self-conscious and overwhelmed''.

The music awards were keenly contested. While the Best Music Director award went to Rajesh Roshan (KNPH), the Best Lyrics award went to Javed Akhtar for the number Panchee, nadiyan from Refugee. Lucky Ali bagged the Best Male Playback Singer award for the foot-tapping Ek pal ka jeena in KNPH and Alka Yagnik's Dil ne yeh kaha hai dil se in Dhadkan won her the title of Best Female Playback Singer of the year. Sunidhi Chauhan bagged the R.D Burman Award for the Best Rising Talent in Music while Farah Khan won the Best Choreography award for KNPH.

In the technical awards section, Anuj Mathur romped home with the award for Best Sound Recording (Mohabbatein) and Sabu Cyril won the Best Art Direction award for Hey Ram. The other awardees were Sanjay Verma for Best Editing (KNPH), Basheer Ali for Best Cinematography (Refugee), Allan Amin for Best Action (Mission Kashmir), O P Dutta for Best Dialogue (Refugee), Sandeep Chowtha for Best Background Music (Jungle), Ravi Kapoor and Honey Irani for Best Screenplay (KNPH).

Honey Irani notched up a double by winning the Best Story award as well for Kya Kehna.

The three critics awards went to Santosh Sivan (Best Film -- Hello), Shah Rukh Khan (Best Actor --Mohabbatein) and Tabu (Best Actress --Astitva).

This year, there were two Lifetime Achievement Awards--one to living legend Asha Bhonsle for her immeasurable contribution to Hindi film music and the other to film industry stalwart Feroz Khan. The well-packaged montages of dialogue and music clips showcasing the best of both performers were instant hits with the audience as they went on a quick trip down memory lane. Not surprisingly, both the legends received standing ovations.

Towards the end of the show, a cheque of Rs 25 lakhs was presented by Vineet Jain, managing director of The Times Group, to Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and deputy chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal towards relief work for the Gujarat earthquake. Deshmukh, while accepting the cheque, said that the state government wanted to raise a corpus of about Rs 70 crore and then adopt different talukas in quake-ravaged Gujarat.

The show was sponsored by the Manikchand Group for the eighth year in a row. The futuristic sets were designed by Nitin Desai (Trimitik). The international travel was arranged by SOTC, which is the promotor of Lido de Paris in India. The official hosts were Le Meridian. Bachchan's statue was brought in from Mme Tussaud's by the British Tourist Authority.

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