Toronto, Jun 24 : This Canadian metropolis has begun to look like a mini-Bollywood with some of India's well known stars dropping in to attend the IIFA awards, a glitzy, over-the-top event celebrating Hindi cinema.
Anil Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Kangana Ranaut flew in en masse for the three-day event, which kickstarted on Thursday.
The International Indian Film Academy(IIFA) award, this year, will not have the Bachchan family, regulars in previous award shows, after the event organisers decided to scrap the post of the brand ambassador following Bachchan's absence from last year's ceremony in Sri Lanka.
Bachchan had been the face of the award since its inception but things went wrong when the mega star decided to skip the Sri Lankan edition following protests from the film industry down south.
Salman Khan too has decided to stay away from the event this year citing shooting schedule of ‘Bodyguard' but his rival Shah Rukh Khan is planning to perform in IIFA after five-years despite a knee injury. He is expected to arrive tomorrow Well known singer Jermaine Jackson, brother of Michael Jackson, is prominent among the international celebrities participating in the three day event.
“I had heard about IIFA and its popularity across the world. I am happy and proud that I will be participating in the extravaganza this year,”Jackson who will be performing with Sonu Nigam at the awards function said.
Indian actor Boman Irani, who will co-host the event at the Rogers Centre, promises all the giltter of an impromptu Bollywood group-song.
“There's going to be a lot of song and dance, a lot of colour, a lot of costume, a lot of emotion,” Irani says of the weekend spectacle.
“It's like a Hindi film, actually, it will have everything—it will have emotion, it will have comedy and it'll have music and dance and drama and glamour,” he added.
The attendance of so many Bollywood stars has already whipped up a frenzy in fans here. By Tuesday, dozens of star-seekers had staked their position at “fan zones” at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel, where top celebrities are expected to stay.
More than 200 filmmakers and stars are expected from India and overseas, including the famed Kapoor clan, the Deol dynasty including Dharmendra and his sons Sunny and Bobby, superstar Shah Rukh Khan and actress Priyanka Chopra. Indo-Canadian actress Lisa Ray, who will be among the presenters at Saturday's award ceremony, said she has mixed feelings about highlighting Bollywood's penchant for heightened emotion and over-the-top glitz.
The awards bash has proven to be the hot ticket of the weekend. All 16,000 of the 22,000 tickets available to the public sold out in minutes. Organizers estimate the elaborate staging involves between 800 and 1,000 performers, crew, designers, production managers, and talent.
Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) programmer Noah Cowan called the weekend festivities an “incredibly important event for Toronto” and expected it to help bridge cultural chasms.
“I think a lot of people turn on TV, see a Bollywood movie and it might as well be from outer space,” Cowan said. PTI