The 2003 IIFA Awards juggernaut has started rolling with the technical awards at Bollywood's overseas extravaganza, swept by Sanjay Leela Bhansali's Devdas, being presented with pomp at a function attended by the film industry's bigwigs in the imposing auditorium of Hotel Monte Casino in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Addressing the first event of the three-day show in the beautiful landscaped city of fast cars and steel and glass buildings, Amitabh Bachchan said the aim of the International Indian Film Academy was to take Indian cinema across india's shores.
"Our content and potential is really strong," he said. "It needs larger exposure to more markets."
Pointing out that films are America's second-largest export after aeroplanes, Bachchan said it was time to ask why not for India.
Acknowledging the help and support of the South African government in helping bring the awards back to sun-soaked Johannesburg, he said, "I am moved by the support to us by the government and the people of South Africa since 1990, when I did my first show here."
The technical awards were presented by veteran filmmakers like Ramesh Sippy, David Dhawan and Pahlaj Nihalani.
Devdas bagged the award for sound recording, re-recording, song recording, make-up, costume design, cinematography, dialogue, art direction and choreography.
Company won the award for editing and action, while Kaante received the special effects award and Raaz for screenplay.
A charity cricket match was held later in the day at the Centurion Stadium to raise funds for the families of victims of accidents during filmmaking. Film and cricket personalities like Saif Ali Khan, Abhishek Bachchan, Mahesh Manjrekar, Anil Kapoor, Zayed Khan, Kamal Khan, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Kaif, Vinod Kambli, Arbaaz Khan, Shakti Kapoor and David Dhawan participated.
The IIFA Awards were instituted four years ago in London's Millennium Dome. This is the second time they are coming to South Africa, after last year's outing at Genting Islands, Malaysia.