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Bollywood hits the US for IIFAs

The 15th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards will see a host of Hollywood celebrities as well as bigwigs from the Hindi film industry rubbing shoulders at the event that is to be held in the US for the first time.

The IIFA weekend, which promotes Indian cinema offshore by organising premiers, discussions and award functions, will take place from April 24-26.

The awards have previously been held at Sun City in South Africa, Amsterdam, Colombo, Johannesburg, Toronto, Macau and Singapore.

International singer Akon, who got a roaring response for lending his voice to Chammak challo — a popular track from Shah Rukh Khan’s Ra.One — is also expected to be at the awards.

The festivities are much awaited due to the introduction of IIFA Stomp, a free-to-all public party with “a taste of India”. This will have an entertaining mix of Indian food, music and handicrafts and will take place on April 23 at the picturesque Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park which overlooks the Hillsborough river.

The IIFA weekend and awards will also feature IIFA Rocks, an exclusive night of music and fashion; IIFA Magic of the Movies and Technical Awards and the main IIFA Awards night.

Bollywood actors Anil Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, who are associated with IIFA, are busy promoting the prestigious event. They toured Los Angeles, Tampa Bay and New York with the IIFA management to create a buzz about the awards extravaganza.

Both Kapoor and Chopra have an international connect. While Kapoor is popular for his act in the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire and TV show 24, Chopra launched her career as a singer with her first single In my city in the US.

Tampa Bay is also gearing up for the event with some of the event’s key delegates visited Mumbai and New Delhi last year in order to strength ties before the mega event.

Santiago Corrada, president and chief executive officer of Tampa Bay, met Kapoor and other Bollywood actors Salman Khan, Sohail Khan and singer Sonu Niigaam.