Singapore gears up to host fifth IIFA awards

3/18/2004 12:00:00 AM
Come May and Singaporeans will be treated to a Bollywood extravaganza at the fifth International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards ceremony.

The three-day Singapore IIFA Weekend that begins May 20 will be spread across various tourism hotspots in the country and will feature, among other events, a celebrity football match, a world film premiere and exciting contests for cinema fans from around the world.

Launched four years ago at the Millennium Dome, London, the IIFA extravaganza showcases the best of Indian cinema and provides a platform for interaction with the global media.

The IIFA Awards 2004 is a salutation to the world's largest film industry and has attracted stalwarts from both Indian and international cinema, including Amitabh Bachchan, Mira Nair, Shah Rukh Khan, Shekhar Kapur, Angelina Jolie, Kylie Minogue, Jackie Chan, Bo Derek, Thora Birch and Miranda Richardson.

The increasing success of IIFA has catapulted the growth of Indian cinema internationally.

The first IIFA at London resulted in an increase in ticket sales of Indian films by 35 percent in Britain.

The IIFA at Sun City in 2001 saw Hindi films being exhibited in mainline theatres and the distribution of films by South Africa's largest multiplex chain, Ster Kinekor.

It was also there that the first world film premiere of "Lagaan" and its journey to the Oscar nominations began.

IIFA's third year at the Genting Islands in Malaysia showed a remarkable increase in Hindi film distribution by 40 percent and its sale subsequently went up by 50 percent across the Southeast Asian region.

With the IIFA being hosted in Johannesburg last year, the demand for Indian cinema grew enough to excite competitive distribution houses like Nu Metro.

Today, premieres of Hindi films are held at international locations and Indian cinema can be seen expanding in every direction.

The month of May will see the most high profile celebrities from Indian cinema visit the lion city to participate in the Singapore IIFA Weekend.

The ceremonies will begin with a world film premiere May 20 at the Lido Cineplex at Shaw House.

The meet will also host an IIFA forum, where a panel of experts from Indian and Singaporean film industries will discuss the parameters for co-production and concepts that can bring cinema traditions together across the borders.

The speakers will include Hollywood and Indian cinema's leading directors like Shekhar Kapur and Karan Johar, A.K. Doda, executive director of IDBI, and Shravan Shroff of Shringar Films, leading distributors of Indian cinema.

Vir Sanghvi, editor of the Hindustan Times, will moderate the event.

In the IIFA foundation sport event, a celebrity football match will feature film stars, sports stars from India, Singapore and international celebrities.

The IIFA awards will be the highpoint of the Singapore IIFA Weekend and stars of Indian cinema and global glitterati will descend on the Singapore indoor stadium for the awards presentation ceremony which will be beamed live to a global audience by Sony Entertainment Television.

MTV Asia and Hindustan Times, in conjunction with Singapore Tourism Board and the IIFA Academy, have also launched a contest for viewers and readers. The winners will be flown to the Singapore IIFA Weekend.

The awards ceremony will be held at the Singapore indoor stadium, which has a capacity to seat over 5,000 guests who will travel from all over the world, including film and sports stars, government leaders and the who's who from the Indian corporate world.

Commenting on the Singapore IIFA Weekend, Lim Neo Chian, the tourism board's deputy chairman and chief executive, said: "This year's Singapore IIFA weekend will be special.

"We have lined-up a truly amazing list of exciting events for the stars and both local and overseas fans of the thriving Indian film industry to experience Singapore's unique blend of cultures, offerings and attractions."