Tampa Bay: The 15th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards, an annual celebration of the multi-million dollar Hindi film industry abroad, in its US debut this year, is ready to lend Bollywood's colour, glamour and splendour to the city starting Wednesday.
The gala will be "bigger and better" than ever before, said its organiser.
With names like Madhuri Dixit, Shatrughan Sinha, Shahid Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, Vidya Balan, Sonakshi Sinha, Hrithik Roshan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Farhan Akhtar slated to attend the gala, along with Hollywood celebrities like John Travolta, Kevin Spacey and reportedly Ang Lee, chances are, the conjecture may just turn out to be true.
In a tete-a-tete with IANS ahead of the event, Sabbas Joseph, director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, the event's organiser said: "For a very long time we had the US in mind, but we were waiting for the right time."
"We were very clear that only when we are completely ready, will we go to the US. This time, we are absolutely ready! So I can assure you that the 15th IIFA will be the largest event and it will be bigger and better. We'll be celebrating the event on a very large scale," Joseph said.
The gala will be held for four days. It will begin this year with the introduction of IIFA Stomp, a free-to-all public party offering "a taste of India". With an entertaining mix of Indian food, music and handicrafts, the party will be held Wednesday at the picturesque Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park which overlooks the Hillsborough river.
Then, there's the IIFA Rocks, an exclusive night of music and fashion; IIFA Magic of the Movies and Technical Awards; and the main IIFA Awards night, to entertain the diaspora and fans of Indian cinema from across the globe.
The main awards night, to be hosted by Shahid and Farhan Saturday, will be staged at the spacious Raymond James Stadium, and tickets for it have cost fans anything between $75 and $3,000 per person.
Joseph says the ticket sales have been phenomenal.