What started out as a one night affair in the year 2000 in London, has become an eventful three-day weekend today and is soon coming to New York for its 18th celebration.
The IIFA Awards which are conceptualized and produced by Andre Timmins, Viraf Sarkari and Sabbas Joseph – often known as the ‘Wizards’ of the event world in India, of Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. – are now coming to New York City from July 13 to 15; this year.
Each year a different city in the world hosts the IIFA Awards, which not only brings the city tourism but also Bollywood as well as Hollywood stars.
“The brand is building the bridge between the Indian film industry along with the international world of entertainment to come together on one stage” said Timmins, in an e-mail interview to News India Times.
When Timmins, Sarkari and Joseph started the IIFA Awards 17 years ago, they dreamt a dream and that was to take Indian cinema outside of India and celebrate it on the global platform.
Along with a dream they had a vision of building bridges across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations, to create everyone’s dream: “One People. One World.”
But, this is not the first time that the IIFA Awards are taking place in the United States, three years ago they were held in Tampa Bay, Florida where at least 40,000 to 50,000 fans arrived to get a glimpse of their favorite stars.
So, what took them so long to come to New York City?
“With the tremendous growth and recognition that we have amassed over time we felt the time is right to finally arrive in New York and are now creating one of the biggest and best IIFA Awards show’s to date with several new dimensions and developments to the concept of the show to build the outreach much more globally,” said Timmins.
When the IIFAs kicked-off in London in 2000, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Thora Birch, Kylie Minougue Finley Quaye, Miranda Richardson, Sussanah York, Talvin Singh and Ashok Amritraj came to commemorate and promote the IIFAs, which most thought was just a concept back then but turned out to be a unique, global, world-class event to the point that in 2014 during the Tampa Bay edition, John Travolta, Hilary Swank and Kevin Spacey came on stage to shake a leg with the Bollywood stars.
However, IIFA has become more than just an international event; it has become an institution, a brand equivalent to Indian cinema and most importantly an annual pilgrimage for fans to be able to access their favorite stars on a more up close and personal level.
IIFA is a place where Bollywood stars interact and exchange cultural experiences with local populations, media, business leaders, government dignitaries and of course fans who travel from other cities and countries to prove their devotion to these celebrities.
Depending upon the host city, the three-day IIFA marathon invites up to 15 different events including the IIFA Rocks Technical Awards and Concert, film screenings at the IIFA Film Festival, musical adventures during IIFA Stomp, networking opportunities at IIFA’s global business forum and the IIFA Awards themselves: bringing together culture, music, business, fashion and cinema.
Every year the IIFAs comes with a new initiative; like in 2007, when they decided to be eco-friendly and Go Green with a Green Carpet instead of a red one and last year they decided to promote women’s empowerment by announcing the Best Actor in a Leading Role Female last instead of Male which they usually do.
IIFA has been to 15 locations across 12 countries and 4 continents over the last 17 years including London, Sun City, Johannesburg, Singapore, Malaysia, Dubai, Amsterdam, Yorkshire, Bangkok and Macau, and has over 600 million viewers worldwide.
The IIFAs were inaugurated by then brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan at the Millennium Dome in London but due to some controversy over hosting the IIFAs in Sri Lanka, he resigned making Salman Khan the brand ambassador in 2010 who will be performing at this year’s IIFA Awards at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, along with Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Shahid Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon.
The IIFA Awards are held each year to encourage the creative and technical work of those connected to the Indian Film Industry and honor their value as well.