'Udaan' Stuns Competition with Star Screen Awards Wins

'Dabangg' topped all films at the first annual awards event with six trophies.

NEW DELHI -- India's award season kicked off with the 17th Annual Star Screen Awards held in Mumbai Thursday that saw a surprise winner in Udaan as best film, while its director Vikramaditya Motwane won best director. 

Revolving around a teenager's coming of age story, the small budget film -- which competed at Cannes last year -- featured no major stars and picked up four awards in all, fueling the growing trend of smaller films holding up against the year's biggest blockbuster hit Dabangg that topped the awards with six wins.

Leading Bollywood star Salman Khan won best actor for Dabangg while the film's female lead debutante actress Sonakshi Sinha won the most promising newcomer award. 

Along with Udaan, surprises came in smaller packages with Ishqiya and Band Baaja Baraat that also won four awards each.

A triangle love story set in the rural ganglands of central India, Ishqiya's Arshad Warsi won best supporting actor and the film's female lead Vidya Balan won best actress. Delhi-set romantic musical Band Baaja Baraat's Ranveer Singh won most promising newcomer while the film's director Maneesh Sharma won most promising debut director.

The growing acceptance both critically and commercially of smaller films was welcomed by jury chairman and veteran filmmaker Amol Palekar who said, “So-called boutique cinema has found audience patronage and it was truly a privilege to be able to select our nominations from such an eclectic mix of movies from different genres.” 

The appeal of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was reconfirmed with his win in the popular choice category as best actor for his turn in My Name Is Khan, while Katrina Kaif won best actress for her breakthrough role in political drama Rajneeti and recent release Tees Maar Khan.

The evening also saw glittering performances featuring Shah Rukh Khan and other stars.