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Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan walks the green carpet at the IIFA Rocks event at Heritage Court in Toronto on June 24, 2011. (The Globe and Mail)
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan walks the green carpet at the IIFA Rocks event at Heritage Court in Toronto on June 24, 2011. (The Globe and Mail)

CINEMA

Spurned by prestigious Bollywood event, Vancouver to host Times of India Film awards Add to ...

Vancouver has become a flashpoint for competing Bollywood awards shows. A big event is coming to the city this year, but it’s not the International Indian Film Academy awards, as previously reported. Instead, when B.C. Premier Christy Clark holds a news conference Tuesday, she will announce that the city will host a different event.

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A provincial government official confirmed local South Asian media reports that Vancouver will host the Times of India Film Awards, but declined to provide details until the press conference.

Lizel Noronha, a spokesperson for IIFA producer Wizcraft International Entertainment, told The Globe and Mail in an e-mail that Vancouver will host “a different event ... along the same format as the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend & Awards.”

The IIFA says it was inundated with inquiries from thousands of fans, not to mention media, after a Vancouver television station reported last week that the IIFAs were coming to Vancouver.

But on Monday, the IIFA announced that the awards would not be coming to Vancouver – issuing a news release that seemed to take a swipe at the Times of India event, calling it a “copycat” and repeatedly stressing the prestige of the IIFAs, describing it as “the world’s biggest international celebration of Indian cinema,” “the biggest extravaganza of Indian Cinema,” and “India’s biggest media event.”

The IIFA made its North America debut in 2011 in Toronto; the Ontario government providing $12-million to land the three-day event. During a trade mission to India later that year, Clark announced the bid to host the awards in Vancouver.

“The festival hosts can expect 700 million viewers across 110 countries will watch the Awards,” read her mission report (the IIFA says the audience tops 800 million). “This will be an unprecedented opportunity to promote the province to the world. Not only would a successful bid promote further business ties with India and showcase B.C.’s strong film and digital media industries to the world, it would also be a great marketing tool.”

But Monday’s IIFA news release said the B.C. bid was rejected. “The decision is subject to many contributing factors that are required of a host destination in terms of support-initiatives for Hindi cinema production, funding and distribution; event-funding, support, facilitation, and infrastructure,” read a statement issued by IIFA and Wizcraft Director Sabbas Joseph. “We are committed to the film industry and hosting an IFFA in any destination must meet the larger interests of Indian Cinema and a spectacular-staging of the annual celebration.”

The IIFA said the venue and dates for the 2013 awards would be formally announced soon.

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