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    Rang De Basanti gets BAFTA nomination

    London, Jan. 12 (PTI): 'Rang De Basanti' starring Amir Khan has been nominated by the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) in the Best Non-English Film Category today, a unique achievement for the film which is India's official entry for the Oscars.

    Directed by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, the film which caught the imagination of Indians with its patriotic overtones is likely to face tough competition from Mel Gibson's 'Apocalyptic' and Pedro Almodovar's 'Volver' featuring Penelope Cruz for the award often called British Oscar.

    The selection of 'Rang De Basanti' for one of the most coveted categories is a perfect start for Indian film industry this year after 2006 saw more Bollywood movies entering the top ten compared to British films produced in the UK.

    BAFTA awards will be held on February 11 at the Royal Opera House in London.

    "The nomination shows the growing acceptance of India's Bollywood offerings as quality cinema," Pervaiz Alam, Director of India-EU Film Initiative, a London-based organization promoting links between Indian and European filmmakers, said.

    Alam said "the year 2006 has been unprecedented success for India's films in the UK. Bollywood films have created a record of success at the box office. A record 74 Indian films were released in the UK in 2005, compared with just 61 British productions.

    Rang De Basanti is India's official entry for the same category at Oscars 2007.

    Rang De Basanti is about the disenchantment of Indian Youth with the current political system in the country.

    Bollywood in many ways has remained a package of colour, song, dance and melodrama for British cinemagoers. But now, for the first time, Bollywood films, because oftheir improved production and varied themes, are more successful in Britain than home-grown productions as the previous two years have proved.

    The Queen and Casino Royale lead the field for this year's Baftas.

    Daniel Craig has received a best actor nomination for his performance as 007. It is his first major awards nod as James Bond. He faces competition from Leonardo DiCaprio for The Departed, Richard Griffiths for The History Boys, Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland and veteran star P eter O'Toole for Venus.

    Casino Royale has been nominated in nine categories, including outstanding British film of the year.

    The Queen tops the list with 10 nominations and is a contender for best film. Dame Helen Mirren seems a shoo-in for the best actress prize. The other nominees are Dame Judi Dench for Notes On A Scandal, Kate Winslet for Little Children, Penelope Cruz for Volver and Meryl Streep for The Devil Wears Prada.

    The best film nominees are Babel, The Departed, The Last King of Scotland, Little Miss Sunshine and The Queen.

    The nominations were announced at Bafta headquarters in Piccadilly, central London today.


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