India film awards ceremony returns to Singapore


Staff member
Dubai: Last year it was Toronto who was treated to some spectacular Bollywood action, this year 13th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards has chosen Singapore to spread their love.

As always the annual celebration of Indian cinema, to be held from June 7 to 9, will extend over a weekend filled with fashion shows, musical extravaganzas (IIFA Rocks) and culminate with a glittering awards presentation ceremony.

This announcement was made amidst much fanfare on Tuesday in Singapore with Bollywood stars Bipasha Basu and Anil Kapoor in attendance. This is the second time that Singapore is playing host to the IIFAs.

"We wanted to re-live the wonderful 2004 experience," said Sabbas Joseph, Director of Wizcraft and IIFA Awards prior to the press conference.

"And Singapore has changed a lot - not just the skyline but their attitude and approach. Their importance from a regional perspective has also grown. It will be bigger and better this year," said Joseph. In the past, the awards show has travelled to cities including Dubai, Amsterdam and London.

And as tradition goes, bankable Bollywood stars are chosen to unveil the destinations every year. This year, Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol star Kapoor and Singularity actress Basu were handed the baton to announce Singapore Indoor Stadium as the centre of IIFA action.

"With their body of work behind them, they are a known face around the world- so it made perfect sense to choose them," said Josesph. Though he was tight-lipped about the guest-list, the three-day spectacle is known to attract all the big names in show-business. Last year in Toronto, Shah Rukh Khan and his film My Name Is Khan were the dominant players. Giving him company were Hollywood stars Hilary Swank and Cuba Gooding Jr.

"I can't reveal the line-up. Everybody in the industry has been invited and we treat all guests as equal," said Joseph. The IIFAs history is well-documented with Amitabh Bachchan being hailed as the brand ambassador since its inception in 2000. But in the last two years, the Bachchan have skipped it with the Khans (Salman and Shah Rukh) taking turns to dial up the glamour quotient.

However, he was less guarded when asked if IIFAs played fair when it came to honouring true talent. Bollywood awards - there are at least half a dozen held every year - are often accused of being rigged and led by star-attendance.

"The difference with IIFAs and the other awards is that it is not run by any media company. The nominees are chosen by the film industry and the second step is that the nominations are up for public voting. It's a democratic and transparent process," he said. He added that the IIFA Voting process is closely monitored by PriceWaterHouse Coopers (PwC).

"They audit the Oscars too. So it's as clean as it can get. I believe that IIFAs is completely transparent in its voting and winning process. It's a democratic voting system." said Joseph.