All of the 16,000 fans who sold out Toronto's Rogers Centre for the hyper-glitzy International Indian Film Academy awards June 25 may have done so on blind faith, unsure exactly which Bollywood stars were coming.
Now they know.
IIFA organizers announced an all-star lineup of Indian cinema luminaries, from the modelesque Bipasha Basu to leading superstar actress Priyanka Chopra, from three generations of Indian cinema's famous Kapoor family to the award-winning actor Dharmendra and his family.
Still conspicuously absent is veteran leading man and Indian pseudo-royalty, Amitabh Bachchan, who reportedly had a falling out with IIFA organizers, although there's still speculation that some in the Bachchan family may yet be coming. However, there's no shortage of major names and acting dynasties, including Dharmendra's children: leading man Bobby, actress Esha and actor and producer/director Sunny.
Those with little knowledge of Indian cinema may not realize the waves of fans these stars attract in public appearance in India. But that energy will be evident in Toronto as the world media gears up to a fevered pitch, almost rivalling that of the British royal wedding. Three days of events leading to the awards night begins on June 23 and includes a film festival of recent hits, which will screen in cinemas in Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto and Markham. There will also be the IIFA Rocks charity fashion show and various public, photo-op events.
Past IIFA awards events, held each year in different countries outside India, are said to generate media exposure for each host city in the tens of millions of dollars, according to one organizer. This is the first time the event is being held in North America.
The Ontario government had been in talks since 2007 with IIFA's Mumbai-based organizers Wizcraft.