Countdown begins for Dubai IIFA Weekend

MUMBAI: Tiara Residence, the AED 2.1 billion island lifestyle community developed by Zabeel Investments, will present the IIFA Weekend in Dubai from 14 June to 17 June, 2006, said the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA). The IIFA Weekend will feature a film festival, awards ceremony, charity fashion show and a bilateral business forum.

A media briefing, organised to explain the schedule, was addressed by his highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, president of the Dubai Department of Civil Aviation, chairman of the Emirates Group and chairman of the Supreme Committee of Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises; IIFA Brand ambassador and Indian superstar Amitabh Bachchan; and Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi, executive chairman of Zabeel Investments.

A glamorous traveling showcase of the best of Indian cinema, culture and business opportunities, the 7th Annual IIFA Weekend is being held in Dubai for the first time after debuting to spectacular effect at the Millennium Dome in London in 2000, and spending subsequent years in equally celebrated destinations including Sun City, Johannesburg; Genting Highlands, Malaysia; Singapore and Amsterdam, states an official release.

More than 450 delegates from India, including the crème de la crème of Indian cinema and international media, are expected in Dubai for the duration of the event and the show will be watched by a record global television audience of over 400 million people, the release adds.
“It is a great honour for Dubai to be chosen to host the prestigious IIFA Weekend and Awards for the first time in an Arab country,” HH Sheikh Ahmed said. “We see the hosting of this massive event as a giant stride ahead in further cementing the age-old ties between India and the UAE, and a celebration of the cultural and social harmony between the two countries.”

“IIFA in Dubai will not only be the last word in entertainment but one to herald stronger business relationships, and open new avenues of trade and commerce between India and the UAE,” he added. The Dubai government, Sheikh Ahmed said, is committed to making the 7th edition of IIFA Weekend and Awards the most successful ever.

The Tiara IIFA Weekend will be hosted under the patronage of HH Sheikh Ahmed and the auspices of Dubai Summer Surprises, and culminate with the glittering Idea IIFA Awards ceremony scheduled for 16 June, 2006.

Amitabh Bachchan also thanked Sheikh Ahmed, the Government of Dubai and Zabeel Investments for the opportunity and interest in bringing the global showcase of Indian cinema to Dubai. “The IIFA Awards have marked the beginning of a new era for recognizing and applauding the achievements of Indian cinema,” Bachchan said. “IIFA is one of the most credible award processes voted on by the Indian film industry professionals and audited by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC), and I am proud to be associated with it.”

Bachchan, named BBC’s Superstar of the Millennium in 1999 and an entertainment icon who enjoys the largest fan following in the world, said he is looking forward to the celebrations in Dubai this summer.

Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi, executive chairman of Zabeel Investments, said the IIFA’s reputation for quality and excellence and its vision of uniting the cultures of the world made it the perfect choice for a partnership.

“Both IIFA and Zabeel Investments, the developer of Tiara Residence, are dedicated to providing distinctive services, exclusive quality, true elegance and style and the finest in Asian hospitality to the people of the world,” Al Hashimi said. ““The Indian community has established long-standing relationships here in Dubai, and our support of the IIFA Weekend is only the beginning of our commitment to this exciting and emerging market.”

Sabbas Joseph, director of IIFA organizers Wizcraft International Entertainment, said the five-day June extravaganza in Dubai will be unlike any event the city has seen before. “The IIFA Weekend 2006 is being planned on a grand scale and will feature a host of events designed to not only promote Indian cinema in the GCC and the wider Arab world but also internationally,” he said. “The Arab world has always been one of the strongest audiences of Indian cinema, and bringing IIFA here is our way of saying thank you.”

Star Network will broadcast the IIFA Weekend and Awards exclusively across the globe, said Star India EVP Marketing & Communication Ajay Vidyasagar, “It is fitting that IIFA, which celebrates the emergence of Indian cinema on a global platform, is partnering with STAR yet again,” he said. “Following the success of IIFA last year, millions of viewers across India, UAE, Pakistan, USA, UK and South East Asia who have chosen Star Plus to be their preferred choice of Indian entertainment are looking forward to IIFA in Dubai. We are proud to associate with IIFA and will work together to make this year’s event a truly memorable celebration of Indian cinema for all our viewers”.

The IIFA Weekend 2006 is spearheaded by Tiara Residence, the property development of Zabeel Investments, and supported by Grand Hyatt Dubai, Gulf News, Arabian Radio Network, Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai Studio City, Grand Cineplex, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Emirates Airlines, Dreamhorizon, Mac, Indian Business Professional Council, City of Dubai, Dubai International Airport Expo, Idea Cellular from India and the Star Network.

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