TAMPA (FLORIDA): Bollywood’s global journey has notched yet another milestone with the glamour-studded International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards being held in the US for the first time.
The 15th edition of the IIFA awards began April 26 in Tampa, Florida and is set to dazzle the American coastal city, which is home to a sizeable American Indian community, with the magic and myths of Bollywood. The much-awaited show began with Bollywood stars Sonakshi Sinha, Anil Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra and musician Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali performing the IIFA anthem ‘Do The Tampa’
This is the first time the IIFA awards, which have evolved into a global brand ambassador for Bollywood, will be held in a US city. In the past, top international cities like Dubai, Johannesburg, Bangkok, Amsterdam Singapore, Toronto and Macau have hosted the prestigious IIFA awards.
The Bollywood gala has created quite a buzz in Florida. “This year, Bollywood, its glittering stars and its legions of fans, have come to Tampa,” reported National Public Radio (NPR). “At nearly all of the events held this week in downtown Tampa, the soundtrack has been throbbing Indian pop.”
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn has struck an upbeat note on introducing Bollywood brand to the United States. “It had never been here before, so they picked a city where there’s a big Indian-American community, with the biggest media market in the state of Florida. So it made sense for a lot of reasons, and one thing we know how to do is put on a big show,” he said.
“This is nothing but glitz and glam and lights and music and beautiful people,” Buckhorn said.
The IIFA debuted at the majestic Millennium Dome in London in 2000
At the Florida show, over 20,000 people are expected to be ravished by multifarious charms of Bollywood and what an NRI philanthropist calls “the spirit of India.” Kirwan Patel, an NRI based in Florida, was generous with his purse to provide financial support to bring IIFA to the coastal city. “Culture and art is a great medium to cross barriers of race, religion [and] ethnicity,” says Patel, a cardiologist whose heart throbs for Bollywood. “And I felt that this is a good way of promoting a cultural spirit of India and introducing it to the United States.”
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