Jan 15 The 15th International Indian Film
Academy Awards, the Oscars of Bollywood's yearly $7.8 billion
industry, will be presented in the United States for the first
time this year, organizers of the event said on Wednesday.
Bollywoods's biggest stars are expected to attend the
weekend event in Tampa Bay, Florida, from April 24-26 when the
top prizes will be handed out. Indian actor Shahrukh Khan will
headline the show.
Andre Timmins, director of the International Indian Film
Academy (IIFA) and Wizcraft International Entertainment, said
producing the show in the United States was a natural fit.
"For Indian cinema and Bollywood today, while we produce
1,300 films a year and sell 3.6 billion tickets, the important
thing for us is that after India, America is the biggest second
market for our Indian films," he said in an interview.
"We have always wanted to come here."
Previous IIFA awards have been held in Canada, Singapore,
Dubai and Britain. "Barfi," a romantic comedy, won the top
honors at last year's awards, when Bollywood celebrated its
centenary in the Chinese gambling haven of Macau.
Indian heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor took home the best actor
award for "Barfi," which also won best film, and Vidya Balan
nabbed the best actress prize for her role in the thriller
Nominees for the 15th edition of IIFA will be announced
closer to the event.
India, the second-most populous nation, is the world's
biggest film producer. About 23 million people watch a Bollywood
film each day, according to Timmins.
"A lot of Indian films are being shot in America. In the
last 10 years there are more than 52 movies that have been shot
here and close to about $150 million has been spent," said
The Tampa event could generate $30 million, he added, and it
is good for tourism from India.
In addition to the United States, Bollywood films are
popular in Britain and the Middle East and have growing
audiences in China, Russia and Germany.
Indian actress Priyanka Chopra, who will be performing at
the awards show, said the boisterous, catchy songs, vigorous
dance numbers and feel-good themes of Indian films reflect the
"Music and dancing and colors and emotions, it just makes
you feel passionate and alive and that's what the magic of the
movies is," she told a press conference.
Chopra, who starred in "Barfi," said the awards are special
because they go to every country that has a huge number of fans
following Indian films, and America is one of them.
"America has a huge, huge, huge fan base for Indian movies,"
she said. "I hope we do a lot more IIFAs in America because it
is our way of going to the fans. They don't have to come to us."
(Reporting by Patricia Reaney in New York; Editing by Eric
Kelsey and Lisa Shumaker)