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2010 IIFA Awards in Sri Lanka: Bollywood magic and goodwill

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Indian actors Sophie Choudry, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Riteish Deshmukh and Dia Mirza at IIFA in Colombo.
2010 IIFA Awards in Sri Lanka: Bollywood magic and goodwill
By Rama Gaind

After being invited by the organisers – Wizcraft – and hosted by Sri Lanka Tourism to attend the 11th International Indian Film Academy Awards in Colombo, I was elated at the opportunity of meeting some of Bollywood’s biggest stars last month.

IIFA brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, his family, other stars like Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan did not walk the ‘green’ carpet, but there were many other ‘big’ name celebrities who attended including Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt, Anil Kapoor, Govinda, Anupam Kher, Kangana Ranaut, Irrfan Khan, Bipasha Basu, Kunal Kapoor, Bobby Deol, Mughda Godse, numerous film directors and Sri Lanka’s very own ‘newcomer’ to Indian cinema Jacqueline Fernandez.

India’s equivalent of the Hollywood Oscars, the weekend of June 3-5, 2010 was jam-paced, showcasing the IIFA Foundation Fashion Extravaganza, FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum, IIFA Foundation Celebrity Cricket Match, IIFA Film Workshops and the ultimate in glamour and glitz – the Micromax IIFA Awards.

The annual celebrations also resulted in the spotlight being turned on the ‘Pearl of the Indian Ocean’ and generating lots of goodwill for the host country.

The college comedy ‘3 Idiots’ dominated the IIFA awards winning about half of the more than 30 categories including Best Film and Best Director for Rajkumar Hirani.

Amitabh Bachchan won Best Actor for ‘Paa’ and Vidya Balan (‘Paa’) shared the award for Best Actress with Kareena Kapoor (‘3 Idiots’).

June 5 culminated with the IIFA awards night at the Sughathadasa Indoor Stadium, in Colombo. There was lots of glamour, heady fanfare and over five hours of entertainment which saw a star-studded line-up including actors Boman Irani, Riteish Deshmuk, Lara Dutta and performances by Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan.

Some of the other significant awards handed out were: Salman Khan being named Habitat For Humanity Ambassador; J. Om Prakash and Zeemat Aman were recognised for making an Outstanding Contribution to Hindi Cinema; Anil Kapoor was acknowledged for Outstanding Achievement by an Indian Internationally; and Vivek Oberoi received the IIFA Green Global Award.

The IIFA global press conference at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel was attended by more than 400 international and local media. Outlining the program of events, Sabbas Joseph, director, Wizcraft International spoke of the satisfaction among the organisers and sponsors about the benefits for Sri Lanka.

“IIFA is pleased to partner with Sri Lanka Tourism to initiate engagement and discussion for exciting projects, focused on the north and east regions of Sri Lanka,” Mr Joseph said. “Our work with the UNICEF, Habitat for Humanity and the discussions at the FICCI IIFA Global Business Forum brought focus to the development and reconciliation process in Sri Lanka.”

This point was further elaborated on by Sri Lanka’s deputy Economic Development Minister Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena. He spoke about the country having great potential in expanding its vistas in investment, tourism, agriculture and other sectors that would “immensely contribute towards the rapid development drive initiated by the Government. IIFA will play a vital role in further strengthening the mutual co-operation of the two nations”.

The President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa inaugurated the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum brought together business leaders, policy makers and dignitaries from around the world to deliberate on key industry verticals creating a conducive environment for development of joint initiatives between business leaders across the two countries. The forum focused on various strategies to explore and boost business opportunities between India and Sri Lanka, with this year’s theme being ‘India – Sri Lanka Partnership: The Way Forward’.

For the first time ever, the world saw a sneak preview of ‘Kingdom of Dreams’ – a soon-to-be-launched theatre production in Gurgaon, near New Delhi – starring Hussain Kuwajerwalla, Isha Shravani and Gauhar Khan.

The IIFA Film Workshop saw director R. Balki, actor Anupam Kher and Jacqueline Fernandez sharing their experiences, together with an interactive session between Indian and Sri Lankan film industry personalities.

The trendsetting IIFA Foundation Fashion Extravaganza was a trail blazer event over two days with Indian and Sri Lankan fashion designers showing their collections and the Indian film fraternity walked the ramp!

However, it was the fund-raising aspects of IIFA that touched everyone’s heart.

The IIFA Foundation Celebrity Cricket Match, in support of UNICEF’s ‘Cricket for Children’ project, was played between India’s top cinema stars and Sri Lankan cricketers. Proceeds from the charity cricket match were donated to the ‘IIFA Hands for Humanity’ project. IIFA, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, will rebuild a village for refugees.

Now that the second decade of IIFA has unfolded, the academy will continue to build on its theme of ‘One People, One World’ – and that will benefit its world-wide partnerships.

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