LIGHTS! CAMERA! ACTION! IIFA SHINES BOLLYWOOD SPOTLIGHT ON TAMPA
After months of planning and anticipation, the grandeur and excitement of the IIFA (International Indian Film Academy) Weekend and Awards descends on Florida. Coming to the United States for the first time in its 15-year history, IIFA celebrations take place in Tampa from April 23 to 26.
Whether you have tickets to one or all of the events or just hope to catch a glimpse of your favorite movie star, here’s the lowdown on scheduled activities.
IIFA Stomp kicks off the celebrations on Wednesday, April 23. This free evening event at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa is described as a unique celebration of Indian music, dance and cuisine. DJ Akbar Sami and Tampa native DJ Ravi Drums will be entertaining the crowds with their unique musical talent.
On Thursday and Friday, April 24-25, the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum at the Tampa Convention Center brings together business leaders from India and America, with the theme "Indo-U.S. Partnership: A Catalyst for Economic Growth." Hosted by the University of South Florida College of Business, the forum will provide a platform for Indians and Americans to engage in discussions and explore economic opportunities. Speakers include Florida Governor Rick Scott; Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn; Vivek Lall, President and CEO of Reliance Industries; N.R Narayana Murthy, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Infosys; Dr. R. K Pachauri, Chairman United Nations Panel on Climate Change; among others. To register, visit www.usf.edu/business/iifa/registration.aspx
The IIFA Expo takes place for three days, April 24 to 26, also at the Tampa Convention Center and is free and open to the public. Bringing together business, products and services from India and United States under one roof, expect to find displays and booths selling Indian clothing, jewelry, wellness and tranquility products and handicrafts along with property and banking opportunities.
IIFA Rocks in an invitation-only show at the Tampa Convention Center on Thursday, April 24, which combines fashion, music and live entertainment as top designers showcase couture fashion from India and U.S.
Magic of the Movies and Technical Awards on Friday, April 25, at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre, honors those who bring Indian cinema alive with their creative, technical and musical contribution to film making. Saif Ali Khan and Vir Das will host the evening where performers include Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Pritam, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Shruti Hassan, Sonakshi Sinha, Bipasha Basu, Aditi Rao Hydari and others.
The signature event – the IIFA Awards – is on Saturday, April 26, at Raymond James Stadium. Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor are the hosts with performances by Hrithik Roshan, Madhuri Dixit-Nene, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, to name a few. A huge celebrity contingent will be in attendance, including Shatrughan Sinha, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Sridevi, Boney Kapoor, Madhavan, Govinda, Shabana Azmi, Prabhudeva, Malaika Arora Khan and Vivek Oberoi.
“Preparations are well underway and we are excited to welcome this event to Tampa Bay,” said Visit Tampa Bay CEO and President Santiago Corrada. “We recognize how memorable of an experience IIFA is for our destination as well as for our visitors. We have all been working alongside each other to make sure the IIFA Celebrations are successful for our destination – local leaders, the county, the city, Wizcraft and Visit Tampa Bay – we have become a large family.”
Community leader Dr. Kiran C. Patel, who has been instrumental in bringing IIFA to Tampa, said, “When you do anything major, there is always excitement as well as anxiety of execution. As we get closer, it will get done whether it is logistics, stage, décor. We want to do the best and biggest. So there is anxiety to create something nobody has seen in last 15 years, and a challenge. With 20,000 tickets already sold, we are pushing to sell several thousand more.”
IIFA is golden opportunity to showcase the community’s rich culture and heritage, according to Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham. “The celebration is expected to attract more than 30,000 visitors to Tampa Bay and generate more than $3 billion to the local economy,” he said. “More importantly, this event has put our community in the international spotlight and will help spur more international trade between India.”
IIFA management has said that the awards in Tampa will be the biggest and best ever. “In our 15th year, IIFA continues to build bridges through cinema,” said IIFA Director Sabbas Joseph. “We are determined to bring the magic and magnitude of Indian culture as Tampa Bay is set to witness the spectacle that is Indian cinema, when IIFA comes to the U.S.”
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A partnership with Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, Tampa
SPIRITUAL SOUND OF VIOLIN CONCERT APRIL 26 IN FORT LAUDERDALE
A Spiritual Sound of Violin concert featuring Kala Ramnath on the violin and Abhijit Banerjee on tabla will take the stage April 26 in Fort Lauderdale. The concert is presented by the Association of Performing Arts of India (APAI) in South Florida.
Grammy nominated for her album “Miles from India,” Ramnath is recognized as one of the 50 best instrumentalists in the world by the prestigious Songlines Magazine. Her album ‘Kala’ was selected again by the same magazine as one of the 50 best recordings in the world. She also has been featured on Hollywood soundtracks, including the Oscar nominated “Blood Diamond” and others. A leading tabla player in India, Banerjee has accompanied maestros such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Begum Parveen Sultana, Pandit Jasraj, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and Dr. Balamurali Krishnan. He also has collaborated in world crossover music, releasing several CDs with prominent Western musicians.
The 6 p.m. concert will be at ArtServe, 1350 E. Sunrise Blvd., in Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $20 general admission or $30 VIP; students with current ID get $10 off. For information, call APAI at (954) 885-1466, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.apaiart.com
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