IIFA travels to the States in 2014

MUMBAI: The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards has announced the event will travel to the US for the first time next year (2014), settling in Tampa, Florida in June. The move is one that‘s likely to up the contour of Indian cinema Stateside where Bollywood isn‘t typically top of mind among moviegoers.

But Indian cinema and talent is definitely growing with movies like Yeh Jawaani Hai Dawaani, and actors like Ranbir Kapoor and multi-hyphenates like Anurag Kashyap making waves. A question remains, however, on how closely the biggies of Hollywood and Bollywood can ever meet.

India celebrated the 100th centenary of Hindi cinema in Cannes in May, turning a spotlight on the industry. Last month the romcom Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani (YJHD) broke into the US top ten upon release. The film‘s success at home and abroad was partly because of the mushy romance seen in the movie. Ranbir Kapoor is one of Bollywood‘s hottest actors at this point of time, also a key factor inYeh Jawaani‘s success.

Fanning the flames, Kapoor just won the best actor prize for 2012?s Barfi! At IIFA which was held this weekend in Macau. The romantic comedy was India‘s 2012 Oscar entry. It also won several prizes at January‘s Filmfare Awards including top picture and actor; Kapoor played a deaf-mute man involved with two women.

Kapoor‘s YJHD co-star Deepika Padukone is next up in Chennai Express. Padukone is an established actress who broke out in 2007?s Om Shanti OmChennai Express has the distinction of going out on August 8, the eve of India‘s Eid al Fitr holiday. Beginning in 2008, films toplined by Indian superstar Salman Khan staked a claim on the Eid holiday which celebrates the end of Ramadan. With Khan‘s next big production, Mental, not releasing until the January Republic Day weekend, the Eid spot is ripe for another comer with big box office potential.

Conventional wisdom says it will be Chennai Express. The love story cum road movie is directed by Rohit Shetty (the Golmaal franchise, Bol Bachchan) and, with Padukone, stars the iconic Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, making it one to watch. If Chennai followsYeh Jawaani‘s path, Khan should be happy. He has said that his dedication is to getting Indian films seen by the world rather than having his own career in Hollywood.

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