From April 23 through April 26, 2014, Tampa has the unprecedented opportunity to host the 15th Annual International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, a.k.a. the "Bollywood Oscars." Similar to Hollywood’s iconic award show, the IIFA Awards honor the best in Indian cinema at an uber-glamorous event featuring everyone’s favorite stars. Unlike the Oscars, fans can actually buy tickets to this event, rub shoulders with their favorite actors and actresses and even vote for who they want to win.
Tampa's very own Santiago Corrada - CEO and president of Visit Tampa Bay - was honored at IIFA Awards 2013 in Macau. — Photo courtesy of IIFA Awards
For the first time in its history, the IIFA Awards are being held in the United States, and Tampa is pretty happy to have been chosen as the host city. Other host cities include Toronto, Singapore, Amsterdam and Dubai. This year’s three-day celebration of Indian cinema is expected be the biggest yet and draw as many as 60,000 people. It will be broadcast to an estimated 800 million viewers in 108 countries.
Kicking off the three days of celebrations will be IIFA Stomp beginning at 7 p.m. on April 23. Held downtown at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park, this festive event will be a celebration of Indian music and dance. There will also be a mela ("fair") featuring Indian handicrafts and cuisine. This event is free and open to the public.
There are three main ticketed events that visitors are invited to attend. Scheduled for 8 p.m. on April 24, the first is IIFA Rocks, a concert and post-party at the University of South Florida Sun Dome. Billed as a fashion and rock music spectacular, the event promises loads of glitz, glamour and star attendance.
On April 25, Bollywood takes note of their technical wizards during the Magic of the Movies & Technical Awards show at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. The show will provide a taste of what’s to come, with stars arriving on the 'green carpet' (another difference from Hollywood) two hours ahead of the 7 p.m. event start.
The main event will take place on April 26 at Raymond James Stadium. IIFA recently announced that the 15th annual awards will be co-hosted by Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor. Other confirmed performers include Shah Rukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Sonakshi Sinha, Pritam and Yo Yo Honey Singh. Expect large production numbers, amazing choreography and inspired performances by a star-studded line-up.
In addition to the larger events, there is also a film industry expo to be held at the Tampa Convention Center, a Global Business Forum and a special attraction is the IIFA Film Masterclass with Vidya Balan and Hollywood actor Kevin Spacey on April 26.
Tickets are on sale for the IIFA Awards at Ticketmaster and range from around $100 for the cheap seats, all the way up to over $3,000 for floor seating. Rumors are that the 65,000-seat Raymond James Stadium is quickly filling up.
Tickets for IIFA Rocks and the Magic of the Movies & Technical Awards have not gone on sale yet, so check the IIFA website for more details.