After South Africa, IIFA now embraces Singapore

MUMBAI: The fifth International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), the annual convergence of stalwarts of Indian cinema and stars from the reel world, will this year have "Uniquely Singapore" as its central theme.

The IIFA weekend commences on 20 May and culminates with the awards extravaganza on 22 May. Known for its global media exposure, IIFA's aim is to celebrate Indian cinema across the globe. The announcement was made yesterday at a media briefing in Mumbai.

The Samsung IIFA Awards 2004, the high point of the Singapore IIFA weekend, will be held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium that can seat over 5,000 guests. IIFA, this year will renew ties with its continuing association with its title sponsor Samsung India, it was announced.

Sony Entertainment Television, IIFA's television partner for the fifth consecutive year, will telecast the awards live and exclusive across the globe via Sony Entertainment Television and the entire weekend through a series of episodes spread over all weekends in May. The episodes will include capsules on the nominees, a flashback, a prelude, and the action from the red carpet award ceremony at the IIFA weekend.

Like in previous years, IIFA is conceptualised and promoted by Wizcraft International. Speaking to, Wizcraft International Entertainment director Sabbas Joseph said, "IIFA aims at promoting Indian cinema in raw markets, which is why we have chosen Singapore this year to play host. This not only is a means to internationalise Indian cinema but also develop strong ties with the country to ensure a sustaining partnership with them."

When questioned about the unique selling point of IIFA as against the rest, Joseph said IIFA was beyond an awards ceremony, and that it was essentially a forum for the business of Indian Cinema, adding that it was the convergence of Indian and international cinema on one global platform.

In terms of creative content, the Wizcraft director promises that it would be a unique weekend, with two days of surprises.

IIFA Awards brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, who was present at the briefing, said, "I urge the film, media and corporate fraternity to make it a point to be in Singapore for the forthcoming IIFA. And just to be a little topical, I assure you that we'll make sure that the seating arrangement does not go awry."

The presenting sponsor is the Singapore Tourism Board, with the Grand Hyatt being the hospitality sponsor. Hindustan Times will also participate in the IIFA cause, as their associate sponsor.

Sony also hopes to use the IIFA awards to make inroads into Singapore Cable Vision. After being unsuccessful in several attempts this seems the perfect opportunity for Sony to renew their effort to get onto the SCV platform.

Sony Entertainment Television CEO Kunal Dasgupta says, "We hope to be successful in tying up with Singapore Cable Vision through the Samsung IIFA Awards, and hopefully this time they will be more receptive towards us.

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