Source AP ©

Bollywood's biggest stars appear at awards show in Britain

Bollywood's biggest stars gathered in northern England Saturday for their annual awards ceremony, parading down a green carpet - to highlight global warming.

Actors including Aishwarya Rai, Amitabh Bachchan and Shilpa Shetty were attending the International Indian Film Awards, the subcontinent's version of the Oscars, at a 12,000-seat arena in Sheffield.

"Rang De Basanti," or "Paint It Yellow," is up for the most awards, including best picture and best actor. Fans vote for the winners on the Internet from a short-list nominated by leaders from the Hindi-language film industry.

Hundreds of screaming fans lined the green carpet where stars posed for photographers and commented on the ceremony's environmental message.

"I think if you're in a position where you can influence minds you should. We can do something," said actor Abhishek Bachchan, who as Amitabh's son and Rai's husband is a member of Bollywood royalty.

Shetty, who won Britain's reality TV show "Celebrity Big Brother," said raising awareness about climate change was especially important as India's economy develops rapidly.

"India can be a very important hand globally in this issue," Shetty said.

The glitzy ceremony was the highlight of four days of events throughout Yorkshire promoting the Bombay-based film industry - the second biggest after Hollywood - including a celebrity cricket match and a business conference.

The awards were created seven years ago to promote Indian films to an international audience. Previous ceremonies have been held in the United Arab Emirates, the Netherlands and Singapore.

More than 500 million people were expected to watched the awards in Sheffield. The former steel city beat bids from New York, Sydney and Barcelona to host the event.

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