NEW YORK — With its “One People, One World” vision, IIFA is bringing the most awaited global event of the year to New York City this year. The NEXA IIFA Awards powered by VIVO will be held from July 13 to 15 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
In an official press conference held on Thursday, June 1, at Taj Lands End in Mumbai, actors Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif and Alia Bhatt expressed their excitement of performing for the IIFAs in the city.
Alia Bhatt said that she is “really, really thrilled” to perform at the IIFAs this year as she “has been trying to be a part of the IIFA journey but somehow it has not happened but I’m really glad that the year it has happened I have two nominations and it’s in New York.”
Bhatt also exclaimed that she can’t wait to come here and perform for the people; she has been dancing in her sleep.
Kaif pointed out that it’s been about five or six years since she’s performed at IIFA.
“I think they always have the most amazing set up, the most amazing stages and this particular stadium that we are going to be in, is one of the best in the world.” Kaif said.
She added that she is excited as New York is her favorite city as her sister used to study here and she had also come last year with Bhatt for the Dream Team Tour and will get to celebrate her birthday in the city as well.
“I’m really excited and looking forward to perform at the IIFA Awards this year. It is such a great platform that not only showcases the celebration of cinema globally, but also it’s a great opportunity for us to reach out to our fans worldwide,” said Kaif.
Salman Khan has “done about five or six IIFAs till now”, he said.
“I’m not bored of it yet and I don’t think I’m ever going to get bored of it,” he said.
Viraf Sarkari, Director of Wizcraft International, the producers and creators of the IIFA movement, called it the greatest global Indian media event as it is the most highly anticipated event each year. MetLife Stadium, which seats 40,000, will be the biggest venue that IIFA has ever been to.
“For the first time in the Big Apple, IIFA will be a truly memorable experience for the audience with a mix of music, dance, culture and cinema. Capturing the very best of India with the use of world class production and a lineup of some of the most sought after Bollywood celebrities, IIFA promises to be a great show at the spectacular MetLife Stadium,” said Sarkari.
“We are grateful for all the support and cannot wait for fans to see the Bollywood extravaganza come to life in July,” he added.
There are four events lined up through the weekend starting with the IIFA Press Conference on July 13 followed by a Global Business Forum and IIFA Rocks event (also held at MetLife Stadium) on the 14th and the main event on the evening of the 15th
S. Kalsi, the Executive Director of Marketing and Sales at Maruti Suzuki said that he sees a “big synergy with IIFA when it comes to the millennials,” and praised the Make in India campaign saying that the film industry is making films in India and are taking it to the global platform.
Thomas Vajda, at the U. S. Consulate in Mumbai, welcomed the IIFAs back to the U. S. after its success at Tampa Bay, Florida in 2014. He said he’s happy to see the equal, two-way flow of Indians visiting America and Americans visiting India. He said that that Bollywood films are the most popular non-English films in America and he is glad that a “world class city is hosting a world class event.”
Mukesh Bhatia of Air India, who has been partners with IIFA for the past four years, introduced a new direct flight from New Delhi to Washington D. C. starting on July 7, which will be “the Air India connect with IIFA and this year we are going to connect more flights”, apart from New York and New Jersey. “We are going to have flights to Los Angeles and Dallas” so that they will have a total of seven flights to the U. S., he added.
Air India also has flights to 11 destinations in Europe and they will be adding three more including Denmark and Copenhagen and Bhatia hopes that the IIFAs will be hosted in one of those destinations next year.
Raj Nayak, Chief Operating Officer of Viacom18, said that this event will be bigger than the Oscars but will be like just the Oscars as it will be the first time that they will stream the IIFA Awards live on Colors channel in India.
This year IIFA will give out 14 Technical Awards at the IIFA Rocks event, which will also feature a 90 minute concert of A. R. Rahman who will be celebrating 25 years in the industry. Performing along with him are Diljit Dosanjh, Benny Dayal, Javed Ali, Neeti Mohan, Jonita Gandhi and Haricharan Seshadri. The event will be hosted by Riteish Deshmukh and Manish Paul.
Other than Khan, Kaif and Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon will also be performing at the main event. Supporting these stars will be dancers from Arya Dance Academy, based in the US. Arya will also be hosting a dance competition called the IIFA Dance Off, in which two winners will be selected to perform on the stage. To enter the competition, visit bollyshake.com. The main event will be hosted by Karan Johar.