The 12th annual Indian International Film Awards (IIFA) kicked off on June 23. Toronto beat out Las Vegas to become the first North American city to host the awards, with Melbourne vying to be the next host to the most glamorous and grandiose annual show of Bollywood. According to the organisers of the event, 22,000 people are expected to attend this year’s ceremony at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, while another 700 million could watch it on television.
The charm of hosting the IIFA awards lies not only in the tens of millions of dollars which are injected into the local economy for hotel rooms, food, security, venues and other expenses, but also the star power it accompanies. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty recalls how a hug from Slumdog Millionaire star Anil Kapoor previously made him famous around the world. This year, he hopes to turn around his political fortune: “There’s an election coming up in the fall and I’ve already got my slogan: ‘I’m with Kapoor’, so I hope he’ll be on board,” he said. With big names like Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Anil Kapoor attending, IIFA promises to be an exhilarating event.
Things to watch out for
Tribute to Michael Jackson: According to brother, Jermaine Jackson, Michael Jackson and his siblings watched Bollywood films every Saturday morning when they were young and were inspired by the glamour. Jermaine will perform his late brother’s hits and sing with Indian pop singer Sonu Nigam at an IIFA concert on Friday to commemorate the second anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.
World premiere of Double Dhamaal: Thousands of fans gathered outside a cinema in a suburb of Toronto for the world premiere of the comedy Double Dhamaal and glimpses of their favourite stars, such as Mallika Sherawat, Dia Mirza, Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta, Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu and Shilpa Shetty.
Finale: The award show ceremony will mark the culmination of the festival on Saturday, June 25. Bollywood gangster film Once Upon a Time in Mumbai leads the field in the nominations for the Hindi-language film. The film has been nominated in 12 categories including best film and best male lead for Ajay Devgan. Salman Khan’s corrupt cop romp Dabangg is close behind with 11 nominations.
Other key events will include the music and fashion night IIFA Rocks, IIFA Music Workshop, which will culminate in the grand IIFA Awards night.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.
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