A gala screening of Zoya Akhtar’s Dil Dhadakne Do, power-packed performances and three days of true blue Bollywood fever — the 16th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards, to be held in the Malaysian capital in June, will bring all this and more.
The enthusiasm and interest in the mega event was palpable when Hindi film actors Anil Kapoor and Bipasha Basu arrived here on Thursday to officially announce Kuala Lumpur as the host city for the IIFA celebrations, scheduled for June 5-7.
The city is gearing up — as Sabbas Joseph, director, Wizcraft International Entertainment, the organisers of IIFA, quipped — "The Petronas Towers simply need an ‘FA’ to complete the acronym in the city’s skyline.
Excited to be in Kuala Lumpur, Anil, whom Joseph addressed as ‘Mr. IIFA’ courtesy his longstanding and close association with the event, is hoping that the forthcoming edition contributes to tourism from India here doubling in the year to come.
Anil, who plays a pivotal role in the ensemble cast of "Dil Dhadakne Do", is confident that the audience will enjoy the movie, which will be screened here just a day after its release.
"It’s a film which we have enjoyed making, and we are sure you all will enjoy it," said the actor, who came into prominence globally when he starred as a quizmaster in Oscar-winning Hollywood film "Slumdog Millionaire".
The film’s cast — Anil, Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Anushka Sharma and Farhan Akhtar — apart, the 16th IIFA Weekend will have Bipasha, Ayushmann Khurrana, Dia Mirza, Boney Kapoor, Sridevi, Arjun Kapoor, Parineeti Chopra, Alia Bhatt, Shahid Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, Jacqueline Fernandez and Sonakshi Sinha.
Joseph says "this is just the first confirmed list". "We have held back some names, but we will be revealing them soon. We are expecting about 50-60 celebrities from the Indian film industry to be here," he told IANS.
Bipasha, looking graceful in a gown, recollected how she had won a Best Debutante Award at IIFA the first time it had happened in Malaysia — at Genting Highlands — in 2002. Now after 13 years, the event is returning to the culturally diverse country.
Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau CEO Zulkefli Hj Sharif is confident IIFA will draw several tourists to Kuala Lumpur in June, and says they are working hard with the event organisers to put up a sparkling show.
The fact that it complements their initiatives to boost tourist arrivals during what is being celebrated as Malaysia Year of Festivals celebration, is a win-win situation for them.
IIFA celebrates the magic of Indian cinema in international territories. The aim is to establish mutual benefits for both India as well as the host destinations by boosting tourism, economic development, trade, culture, cross-border investments and film co-productions. Every year, the show travels to a new destination, taking the film fraternity with it to amalgamate and celebrate the best of both cultures.
Last year, in its 15th edition, the show made its US debut in Tampa Bay, Florida.