Bollywood glitz met Hollywood glamour as the International Indian Film Academy celebrated its 15th year in Tampa, Florida April 23-26. It was the first time the IIFA extravaganza, known to fans as the Bollywood Oscars, was held in the United States. The four-day celebration ended, on April 26th, at the Raymond James Stadium with an awards show honouring the best work in Indian cinema. The Saturday night gala had an attendance of over 30,000 fans and included top Bollywood stars. The night was filled with glamour and began as Bollywood’s style mavens sauntered down the green carpet in avant-garde outfits that captured press and local fans. Among those who captivated the crowd while strutting on the green carpet were Priyanka Chopra, Bipasha Basu, Kareena Kapoor and newcomer Vaani Kapoor.
The show began with co-hosts Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar arriving on a pirate ship, surrounded by sword wielding, beads-throwing pirates. The duo’s chemistry was reflected in their ability to keep the crowd captivated and laughing the entire night. Actor-singer Priyanka Chopra started the award ceremony with her performance and Hollywood icon John Travolta added a zing to the act by joining her on the stage. Travolta was awarded with the ‘Most Popular All time International star in India’ honor at the ceremony and was praised by Hrithik Roshan who considers Travolta one of his biggest influences growing up. Stage and screen star Kevin Spacey also donned the stage in a lungi (sarong) to dance to a song from the movie “Chennai Express” with Deepika Padukone.
All in all, the event was a long five-and-a-half-hour duration that left all but the most enthusiastic fans ready to depart when it closed after 3:00 am. The entire award show was recorded for a special, titled ‘Weekend with IIFA,’ and is to be broadcast worldwide June 8 on the Star World Network and is expected to draw 800 million viewers in 110 countries.