IIFA Weekend 2006 kicks off in City of Surprises

Dubai, June 15th, 2006: The seventh International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend in Dubai kicked off in inimitable style today, heralding a star-studded four day spectacular that promises to dazzle the UAE with its glamorous fashion, spectacular IDEA IIFA Awards presentation ceremony and popular cinema unfolding at multiple venues around Dubai.

The IIFA Weekend, presented by Tiara Residence, the AED 2.1 billion luxury lifestyle development from Zabeel Investments, and Dubai Summer Surprises, was officially opened at the Grand Hyatt this morning at a press conference featuring Indian superstar and IIFA Brand Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, Star TV Vice-president, Kevin Vaz, Zabeel Investments CEO Mohammed Al Hashimi, Idea Cellular Vice-president Pradeep Shrivastava and DSS CEO Saeed Al Nabouda.

The IIFA Weekend 2006 is being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Group and Chairman of the DSS/DSF Supreme Committees.

The IIFA Weekend presented by Tiara Residence will conclude on Friday, June 16, with the Idea IIFA Awards ceremony at the spectacular Central Hall at the Dubai Airport Expo. Hosted by A-listers Fardeen Khan, Lara Dutta and Katrina Kaif, the ceremony will include electrifying performances from leading stars of Indian cinema including Salman Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Rani Mukherjee, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta, Dia Mirza, Himesh Reshamiya and Upen Patel.

Mohammed Al Hashimi, Executive Chairman of Zabeel Investments, said: “The launch of the Tiara Residence Weekend and Idea IIFA Awards 2006 is a momentous occasion for this city and its people. Dubai is the first city in the Middle East to host this prestigious event, which has a huge following in this part of the world and we are all looking forward to the various activities associated with it.”

“In many ways, the IIFA Weekend and Idea IIFA Awards share the goals and dreams of Zabeel Investments,” he added. “We believe in tomorrow and that the youth hold the answers to a better future – all they require is support, encouragement and the opportunity to realize their dreams.”

Idea Cellular will also begin a new three-year association with IIFA this year. At the press conference, Idea Vice President Pradeep Shrivastava , “IDEA IIFA offers us the best platform to demonstrate the true essence of mobile and entertainment convergence. With Idea IIFA there is an unmatched value we provide to our customers by providing them the three aspects of entertainment that engage them through the all-powerful mobile phone. With IDEA IIFA, our privileged customer and business partners will have access to specially created merchandise, contests, video and MMS downloads and several other value added services. Only Idea can take you there.”

The IIFA Weekend began on 14 June with the IIFA World Premiere of Jagmohan Mundra’s film ‘Provoked,’ starring Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews, Miranda Richardson and Nandita Das. The film’s cast and crew will receive a red carpet welcome at the Grand Cineplex in Dubai.

Saeed Al Nabouda, CEO, Dubai Shopping Festival and Dubai Summer Surprises said, “We are greatly honoured to host an event of such grand stature as the IIFA Weekend which is dubbed as the Indian equivalent of the Oscars. It is indeed a pleasure to welcome the stars of the Indian film industry to this glittering event. The four-day extravaganza is slated to be a bigger and most exclusive event in true Dubai style.”

Dr. Amina Al Rustamani, Executive Director of Media, Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone, spoke about the importance of IIFA as a shared growth platform for Dubai and the Indian film industry. "Dubai Studio City has been created to foster the growth of the film, broadcast and music production industries in the region,” she said. “Our association with IIFA is part of a long-term strategy to establish alliances with events that connect the filmmaking fraternity in a celebration of cinema. This association enhances our links with the world’s largest film industry and creates forums for greater cultural interaction".

The Tiara Residence IIFA Weekend will witness a host of exciting events that will enthrall the people of Dubai. The celebrations at the weekend will commence with the IIFA World Premiere Film- Jagmohan Mundhra’s ‘Provoked’ starring Aishwarya Rai, Naveen Andrews, Miranda Richardson and Nandita Das. The cast and crew of ‘Provoked’ will receive a Red Carpet Welcome at the Grand Cineplex on the evening of June 14th, in Dubai.

The second day of the IIFA Weekend will begin with the FICCI IIFA Global Business Forum at the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and also includes the inauguration of the IIFA Film Festival.

This three-day film festival, which opens with hit Tamil film ‘Chandramukhi,’ includes 31 critically and commercially successful examples of Indian cinema. The festival will also give media and cinema lovers an opportunity to interact with the cast and crew of many of these films.

The IIFA Foundation Fashion Extravaganza, presented by Rosyblue, will be the high point of the second day, with celebrated Indian designers Manish Malhotra and Vikram Phadnis outfitting cinema icons and celebrities with the best of Indian glamour and fashion. Director Karan Johar will also have a special conversation with his film star friends and reveal some of their most intimate secrets during the event.

The black tie fashion extravaganza will help raise funds for the IIFA Foundation, which supports families of behind-the-scenes film workers who have been injured or worse during the making of a film.

The IIFA Weekend and the Idea IIFA Awards will be broadcast on STAR Plus at 8 pm on Sunday, June 25, 2006.

Kevin Vaz, Vice-President of Sales, STAR India, said, “We are very proud to be associated with the Idea IIFA Awards and the IIFA Weekend yet again. IIFA, which celebrates the emergence of Indian Cinema on a global platform, is partnering with STAR yet again. Following the success of IIFA last year, millions of viewers across India, UAE, Pakistan, USA, UK, South East Asia and several other nations who have chosen STAR Plus to be their preferred choice of Indian entertainment are looking forward to the IIFA Weekend in Dubai. We are working together to make this year’s event a truly memorable celebration of Indian Cinema and all our viewers.”

Wiz Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft, said “The IIFA Weekend in Dubai will instill yet another milestone in our endeavors to take Indian Cinema to the Global platform. With the Idea IIFA Awards 2006, we will continue to provide the impetus for the crossover of Indian cinema to global audiences and delight the Indian diaspora with the grandest celebration of Indian cinema.”

Launched seven years ago at the Millennium Dome in London, the IIFA Awards ceremony has grown into a three-day extravaganza showcasing the best of Indian cinema and providing a platform for its interaction with global media.

The Idea IIFA Awards 2006 is a salutation to the world’s largest film industry and has attracted the stalwarts of both Indian and International cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, Mira Nair, Shekhar Kapur, Angelina Jolie, Kylie Minogue, Jackie Chan, Bo Derek and Miranda Richardson.

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