Canada set to welcome Bollywood at IIFA awards this June

MUMBAI: The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, having a viewership of between 700 million to 800 million globally, is also known as Bollywood’s Oscar equivalent.

Says IIFA director Sabbas Joseph, “We consider this a landmark event, huge in proportion. It is the highest-rated, most-watched Indian television event.”

“The difference between this and the Oscars is that our film stars sing and dance, compared to Hollywood stars. So the stars themselves provide the entertainment of the night,” he added.

But surprisingly, the IIFA now in its 12th year, have never been held in India. It was earlier held in countries like the U.K., South Africa, the Netherlands, Thailand, China and Sri Lanka.

That is why the organisers chose North America this time. It will be held in Ontario, Canada from 23 to 25 June. Events lined up at this year’s awards include a gala screening in Brampton, a major centre of Toronto’s Indian community; a music and fashion show for Canadian and Indian designers, including Indian singers and film stars and a convention in Toronto for Canadian and Indian businesses.

Anil Kapoor is currently in Toronto to promote the awards event in the country. Said Kapoor, “Because of the hyper-attention paid to Indian film stars, the focus on Toronto in the months to come will be no small affair. In India, public appearances by film stars often create massive crowds. “People from all ages react the same way. They all become like teenagers.”

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