Farhan Akhtar
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Bhaag Milkha Bhaag wins 9 awards at IIFA

Farhan Akhtar

Filmmaker Rakesh Om Prakash Mehra's Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, which has already garnered several awards, claimed nine technical awards at the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards 2014 being held here.

Bhaag Milkha Bhaag bagged the awards for best cinematography (Binod Pradhan), best screenplay (Prasoon Joshi), best dialogue (Prasoon Joshi), best editing (P.S. Bharti), best sound design (Nakul Kamte), best sound mixing (Pranav Shukla), best background score (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy), best costume designing (Dolly Ahluwalia) and best make-up (Vikram Gaikwad).

Director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra dedicated the prize to the now 84-year-old Singh, who took the stage and said: "This goes to the boys and girls of India, who deserve to win the gold."

Singh was born in what is now Pakistan and watched as his family, including both of his parents, were slaughtered in the communal bloodbath that engulfed India as it was partitioned along religious lines at independence in 1947.

He discovered running while in the army and was recruited to race for India at the 1960 Summer Olympics in Rome. The turbaned Singh took on the nickname "the Flying Sikh" after a remark by Pakistan's then leader Ayub Khan.

Singh had been a favorite in the 400-meter final but slipped behind after a promising start, ending fourth. Still, he is considered an athletic legend in India, which rarely performs well in international competitions other than cricket.

"He lost the most important race of his life, but he won in life," director Mehra said.

Farhan Akhtar, one of the hosts of the awards ceremony, won best actor for the role. Singh said that watching the movie -- which translates as "Run, Milkha, Run" -- marked one of the three times in life that he cried along with his parents' death and his Olympic failure.

Best leading actress went to Deepika Padukone, who was nominated for three films. She won for Chennai Express, an action film in which she stars opposite superstar Shah Rukh Khan who skipped the Tampa awards to concentrate on a movie shoot.

The romantic musical sequel Aashiqui 2 swept all four prizes for music.

Milkha Singh grabbed the limelight during the award show, as Farhan Akhtar sang Zinda from the movie and Senorita from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara and later got down from the stage and hugged the Olympian.

Singer Mika Singh sang some of his hit songs, and also got Hrithik Roshan on stage who grooved to his Agal Bagal song from Phata Poster Nikla Hero.

Sonakshi Sinha and Bipasha Basu also performed to a few dance numbers.

Rakesh Roshan's Krrish 3 won two awards - best action (Sham Kaushal and Tony Ching Siu Tung) and best special effects-visuals (Keitan Yadav and Haresh Hingorani - Red Chillies VFX).

Rohit Shetty's blockbuster hit Chennai Express won for best song recording (Vinod Verma for Lungi Dance) and best sound mixing (Anup Dev) along with Bhaag Milkha Bhaag.