Bollywood set to 'stomp', 'rock' New York with IIFA show

   New York, July 12  (IANS) At a time when Hollywood is  incubating diverse talent like never before, Bollywood is out to  mesmerise the US with its magic at the three-day IIFA Weekend and Awards  starting here on Thursday.The "green carpet" is being rolled  out and some film stars have already landed here for the 18th edition of  the gala, which also goes beyond the Hindi film industry's glitz and  glamour to push discussions around tourism, business opportunities and  environment.'We are set. When somebody does a big movie and it's  their Friday... You know what it's like. So for us, Thursday onwards  our show starts and we are all nervous. But New York is going to rock,"  Andre Timmins, Director, Wizcraft International, told IANS.The  company has been the producers and creator of the International Indian  Film Academy (IIFA) that had its debut event at the Millennium Dome in  Greenwich, Britain, in 2000.It was organised with a meagre  budget of Rs 20 lakh, but after travelling to 15 locations across 12  countries and 4 continents, the event has grown in size and scale  considerably.This is the first time that the event will be held  in New York -- described as the city that never sleeps. The IIFA show  was first brought to US at Tampa Bay, Florida in 2014.Jeffrey R.  Sexton, the Minister Counsellor for Public Affairs at US Embassy in  India, said here: "Films from India now do more business than any other  non-English films in the US... It's also interesting that the Indian  entertainment industry has come to the US as a destination for shooting  films."He said in the coming month they looked forward to  welcome more and more Bollywood filmmakers and stars for IIFA and  beyond, adding that over the last five years, the number of Indian  visitors in the US had "nearly doubled".Last year, he said,  there were over a million Indian travellers to US, where Indian actors  like Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Anupam Kher and Irrfan Khan have  made a mark in recent years."But India is a country of over a billion people, and I know that there are a lot more potential travellers," he added.At  IIFA show this year, stars like Salman Khan, Alia Bhatt, Katrina Kaif,  Shahid Kapoor, A.R. Rahman, Diljit Dosanjh, Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti  Sanon, Varun Dhawan, Dia Mirza, Preity Zinta and Hrithik Roshan will be  seen, along with IIFA Awards hosts Karan Johar and Saif Ali Khan."There  will be a bit of Hollywood too," Timmins said, without divulging any  names. But given that celebrities like Kevin Spacey, Angelina Jolie,  John Travolta and Hilary Swank have attended past IIFA editions, one can  expect some popular names to be there.Prior to the main event  on Saturday at the grand MetLife Stadium -- which has hosted the Super  Bowl and concerts of the likes of Coldplay and Paul McCartney -- there's  lots planned.

"MetLife is the Rolls Royce of arenas in the world, and we are the  first Indian event to go to MetLife," Timmins said, adding that they are  expecting a crowd of at least 40,000."We have already sold about 30,000 tickets," he said.On  Thursday evening, the famous Times Square will come alive with a IIFA  Stomp -- a "free for public party" at the 45th and 46th street where  Indian DJs -- and perhaps Varun Dhawan -- will play Bollywood beats and  some 'desi' fashion will be showcased at a ramp."It's going to  be a welcome party to New York," Timmins said, adding that  simultaneously a Shuruaat Gala Dinner, where people from from Bollywood,  and leaders from business, philanthropy, media, education and the Arts  will congregate to raise awareness for women empowerment, gender  equality, clean water and sanitation issues.On the following  day, the Asia Society Auditorium will host the Ficci-IIFA Global  Business Forum 2017, which will see powerful minds coming together to  address global issues."Our business forum is pretty heavyweight  this time," said Timmins, who hopes to see names like Nikki Haley, US  Ambassador to the United Nations, and US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard in  attendance.For Friday evening, there's IIFA Rocks -- a musical  gala at the MetLife Stadium, featuring the Oscar winning composer Rahman  performing live to celebrate his 25th anniversary in filmdom."We  have a great orchestra from New York, and our own band... I think it's  going to be special," said Rahman. Apart from him, Diljit and Kamaal  Khan will also dazzle at the musical extravaganza.The final day  will culminate with the awards ceremony, where a plethora of Bollywood  stars -- and hopefully some Hollywood ones too -- will rock the green  carpet and the stage thereafter.What makes IIFA different this year is that it will be aired live."Like  we wake up for the and Grammy, this year, we can wake up for the IIFA  Awards," said Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizraft International  Entertainment.(Radhika Bhirani's trip to NY is at the invitation of IIFA organisers.  She can be contacted at [email protected])