NEW YORK: The biggest annual Bollywood extravaganza and entertainment show on Earth is coming to the New York City area: the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards 2017 will be held at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, over two days, on July 14-15.
The IIFA event, which over the years has been held annually all around the globe at choice locations, has only once before been held in the United States: in 2014 it was held in Tampa Bay, Florida.
One of the highlights from that evening three years ago was Hollywood stars John Travolta and Kevin Spacey dancing on stage, with Spacey doing the famous ‘lungi’ dance from Shah Rukh Khan’s song in ‘Chennai Express’, along with Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor.
There were huge cheers when Hrithik Roshan tried to emulate Travolta’s signature dance moves from ‘Saturday Night Fever’, with Travolta. Priyanka Chopra too danced with Travolta, to a mashup of Bollywood songs and music from ‘Pulp Fiction’.
Over the years, IIFA, beginning with London in 2000, has been held in Sun City (South Africa), Genting Highlands (Malaysia), Johannesburg (South Africa), Singapore, Amsterdam, Dubai, Yorkshire, Bangkok, Macau, Colombo, Toronto and Kuala Lumpur. Last year, it went to Madrid in Spain.
The bidders for 2017’s show, its 18th edition, included Lisbon, Paris, Switzerland and several places in the Far East. New York was the winner, even though technically the event is being held in the state of New Jersey, but MetLife Stadium is beloved by New York football fans.
MetLife Stadium is part of the Meadowlands Sports Complex and serves as the home stadium for two National Football League franchises: the New York Jets and the New York Giants
The Voting Process for the Awards, IIFA Voting Weekend, will be held in Mumbai from April 14-16 at Indus, J.W Marriott Hotel.
The two-day IIFA Festival New York will feature on July 14 ‘IIFA Weekend Press Conference’, ‘IIFA Rocks Green Carpet’ and ‘IIFA Rocks’, and July 15 will see the ‘IIFA Awards Green Carpet’ and ‘IIFA Awards’.
Commenting on the occasion, New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio said, in a statement, “We are thrilled to welcome IIFA to New York! Our city is home to both a thriving film industry and a dynamic, growing Indian American community. This is an event that will contribute enormously to both the cultural and economic life of our city. We welcome the artists and fans of Indian cinema, and encourage everyone to experience the rich cultural life across the five boroughs while celebrating these groundbreaking films.”
Ron VanDeVeen, President & CEO, MetLife Stadium, said in a statement, “We are honored that IIFA has chosen MetLife Stadium to host the 18th annual IIFA Awards and we look forward to welcoming the thousands of fans from around the world who will travel to New Jersey. This global event offers us the incredible opportunity to host our first-ever awards show and to continue to showcase our region to an international audience.”
Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd, known for pioneering many extravagant and mesmerizing events in India and across the world, conceptualized IIFA 17 years ago. The event was conceptualized by the trio of Andre Timmins, Viraf Sarkari and Sabbas Joseph.
The vision was to celebrate Indian cinema outside India; and IIFA, the flagship brand is the accomplishment of that dream.
IIFA is dedicated to building bridges across cinema, businesses, communities and nations, creating everyone’s dream: “One People. One World”. The journey over these past 17 years has seen the brand evolve from a one night affair to a weekend, which celebrates and hosts various events and activities related to cinema, business, culture, music and fashion. Hosting over 15 different events during the weekend IIFA helps bring together a global community of people from all walks of life, according to the organizers.
Right from its inception, IIFA continues to bring together the biggest stars of Bollywood and Hollywood on one stage, creating a platform of exchange between two of the world’s most prolific film industries, they added.
Over the years, IIFA has brought together the finest of entertainment to light up the stage wherever they go, including: Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Thora Birch, Kylie Minougue, and Hilary Swank.
Some of the celebrated personalities from the Indian film and music fraternity to attend the event are: Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Anil Kapoor, Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, Farhan Akhtar, Abhishek Bachchan, Anupam Kher, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha, Boney Kapoor, Sridevi, Karan Johar, Rakesh Omprakash Mehra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Rajkumar Hirani, Sajid Nadiadwala, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, A. R. Rahman, Pritam Chakraborty among others.
The organizers say that this year IIFA Festival New York 2017 will play host to some of the most celebrated stars of the Indian film industry, notable guests, and dignitaries from India and the region, world media and Indian cinema fans from across the globe.
Andre Timmins, Director, Wizcraft International, said, in a statement: “I am really looking forward to the IIFA Festival this year as we are premiering our event in New York City and this is the ideal destination as we start to creatively evolve and grow the brand and its events. The brand is building the bridge between the Indian film industry along with the international world of entertainment to come together on one stage and this is the perfect destination to host such diverse and multi-cultural celebrations.”
Timmins said in an interview to IANS in Mumbai that the event has “the support of the American consulate, the Governor, the Mayor of New York,” adding, “I would be more than happy if Trump (President Donald Trump) wants to come and address our IIFA Awards and touch about 40,000 Asians.”
Timmins said he would love to have Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi too on stage.
The organizers are keen this year to get stars like Rajinikanth, Nagarjuna, Kamal Haasan, Allu Arjun and Jr. NTR from the southern film industries, to attend the show.