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Kareena Kapoor poses with her best actress trophy at the International Indian Film Awards in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Saturday. Kapoor won for her role in the comedy 3 Idiots, which captured 16 of the 31 awards. ((Eranga Jayawardena/Associated Press) )

The comedy 3 Idiots was a giant winner at the International Indian Film Awards, dubbed the Bollywood Oscars, raking in 16 of 31 awards including best picture.

Bollywood is the name given to India's prolific movie industry, which is located mostly in Mumbai, although the Saturday night awards ceremony was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

The blockbuster hit about the lives of three engineering students nabbed eight of the 12 technical prizes as well as best screenplay, cinematography and editing.

3 Idiots' director, Rajkumar Hirani, also took home a trophy while the movie's lead actress, Kareena Kapoor, shared her award with Vidya Balan.

Balan portrayed the mother of a 12-year-old suffering from progeria, a rare disease that causes aging, in the movie Paa.

Paa also garnered a best actor accolade for Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, who played the child suffering from the disease.

In a switching of roles, Abhishek Bachchan — the son of 67-year-old Amitabh Bachchan — played the on-screen father to his real-life dad.

The Bachchans were among many major no-shows at the annual event. Other big stars who were notably absent included Aamir Khan, who starred in 3 Idiots, and Shah Ruk Khan, who said they had other commitments.

It appears pressure by Tamil groups may have had the desired effect as there were a number of empty seats in Sugathadasa Stadium.

Bollywood stars were asked to boycott the ceremony in light of allegations that Sri Lankan forces killed ethnic Tamil civilians in the final stages of the war last year, a charge which the government has denied.

The army succeeded in defeating the Tamil Tiger rebels, who had fought for an independent homeland for minority Tamils for 25 years.

An estimated 300,000 Tamil civilians have been displaced by the conflict and detained in government camps, Amnesty International said in a report last month.