California may have the yearly Oscar Awards but Tampa had the once in a lifetime Bollywood Awards. Celebrities, guests, fans and visitors arrived in Tampa for IIFA's (International Indian Film Academy) version of the Oscar Awards – Bollywood Awards - held yesterday at Raymond James Stadium.
The 15th IIFA was held for the first time in the United States with a three day city tour in Tampa Bay - the film industry’s most awaited awards ceremony and weekend extravaganza. The events included film festivals, workshops, exhibits, film-showcases, global business forums, fashion and sporting events that led to the highlight of the weekend, the IIFA 'Bollywood' Awards.
The awards was preceded with the celebrity green carpet scheduled to start at 4:30 p.m. but celebrities arrived an hour or so later than scheduled leaving fans and media waiting in the heat. The long awaited Hollywood and Indian celebrities - Kevin Spacey, John Travolta, Anil Kapoor and others - walked the green carpet set up along Tampa Bay Blvd from Dale Mabry to Himes Blvd.
IIFA managed to fill up the stadium that was transformed for a spectacular cultural event with the opening consisting of a similar scenario taken place yearly in Tampa - Gasparilla invasion - involving a pirate ship with pirates demanding the key to the city from the mayor as portrayed by co-hosts Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akhtar. "I will give you this key if and only if you entertain us," replied Mayor Buckhorn.
The award's entertainment included movie medleys, Cirque du Soleil type acrobatics, colorful costumes, singing and dancing which included John Travolta doing his popular dance moves from his 1994 movie "Pulp Fiction". And Kevin Spacey wore a sarong for dance to the popular Indian song "Lungi Dance" from the movie "Chennai Express".
The five hour event awarded the best in the Indian film industry with the top movie winner "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag" taking three awards along with an additional nine awarded earlier in the week. John Travolta was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in International Cinema award.
The annual IIFA awards is held in different countries to expose its culture and open trade markets with a week full of events and ends with the Bollywood Awards which is usually televised live. But this years Bollywood Award show will be televised in June.
The complete Bollywood Award winners list is available at iifa.com.