Film pips Wong Karwai’s martial arts epic for top award

Siddharth, a Hindi film by Indian-Canadian director Richie Mehta, was the surprise winner at the Beijing film festival, leaving audiences in the Chinese capital stunned as the critically-acclaimed film beat out renowned Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's martial arts epic The Grandmaster.

The film — it tells the story of a man’s search for his missing son, a theme with wide resonance in China where there is growing attention on child trafficking — was chosen as the “Best Film” by a seven-member jury which included director John Woo, India’s Rajkumar Hirani and Chinese director Lu Chuan.

Wong Kar-wai’s film, starring megastars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi, which recently swept the Hong Kong film awards, was such an overwhelming favourite that Mr. Mehta himself appeared shocked to win.

As one report on the official China.org.cn portal said, “Surprised audiences witnessed Richie Mehta and the film’s producers take to the stage to accept the award, with their facial expressions clearly showing that even they themselves couldn't believe they had actually received the honour.”

The film was chosen from 837 submissions from 88 countries.