Madrid, June 22 (IANS) The 17th edition of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) -- which celebrates the soft power of Bollywood in taking India to global audiences -- is set to celebrate 60 years of India's diplomatic relations with Spain here starting Thursday with close to 150 celebrities and over 20,000 fans in attendance.
Regarded as the football capital of the world, Madrid is the fourth European nation that IIFA is visiting after London, Yorkshire and Amsterdam. And the four-day gala which will conclude with a colourful and exuberant awards ceremony on Sunday, will play host to some of the most celebrated stars of the Indian film industry, notable guests, and dignitaries from India and the region along with Indian cinema fans from across the globe.
Not only this, the event also promises to present an amalgamation of two richly diverse countries and cultures. The aim is to bring the magic of Indian cinema not only to Spain, but to Latin America as well, says Andre Timmins, director, Wizcraft International, the producers and creator of the IIFA.
"We treat IIFA as India because ultimately, through the platform we are selling India," Timmins told IANS in an interview.
Some celebrities who will be walking the 'green carpet' at the event will be Anil Kapoor, Sanjay Dutt, Sridevi, Boney Kapoor, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Boman Irani, Kabir Khan, Ranveer Singh, Bipasha Basu, Huma Qureshi, Vivek Oberoi, Dia Mirza and Riteish Deshmukh.
The event has also been timed to integrate with the city's Mulafest. A Movement of Urban Life and Arts event and exhibition, it is Madrid's annual culture fest that brings together music, art and food all in one place. Adding an Indian musical touch to that will be the Raghu Dixit Project, Midival Pundits, Karsh Kale and Nucleya.
"We are collaborating with them, and have become the partner country. We have integrated our programming with Mulafest," Timmins said, adding that the IIFA celebrations in Madrid will be about collaborations at every step.
Going ahead with the weekend celebration, IIFA Rocks, a music mega event, will take place on Friday. It will be a melange of dancers and musicians from India, as well as from Spain to give the audience a desi treat with the joy and high-on-energy flamenco.
Some of the performers at IIFA Rocks event are Pritam Chakraborty, Kanika Kapoor, Meet Bros, Benny Dayal, Neeti Mohan, Monali Thakur, Papon along with Shilpa Shetty, Ameesha Patel, Mauni Roy, Sooraj Pancholi, Eli Avram and Daisy Shah.
Pakistani actor Fawad Khan and Bollywood's celebrated filmmaker Karan Johar will host the IIFA Rocks gala, while Farhan Akhtar and Shahid Kapoor are all geared up to host the Nexa IIFA Awards which will see six acts by Bollywood stars including Salman Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Hrithik Roshan, Sonakshi Sinha and Tiger Shroff.
Also, since 2016 marks six decades of diplomatic relations between India and Spain, a slew of activities have been planned as sidebars to IIFA. Shilpa Shetty will be hosting a yoga fest on the streets.
Madrid will also get to experience IIFA Stomp and Rang Jam - a Holi celebration, with Indian dances, henna artistes and a plethora of Indian street food on offer.
"IIFA is not only about the awards, it's to do with a lot of business-to-business activities, we even have a volunteer program, a panel discussion on environment, and more," said Timmins.
(The writer's trip is at the invitation of the IIFA organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)