Chitrangda Singh and Karan Johar to host first ever Times of India Film Awards in Canada

Since the IIFA Awards 2013 will not be held in Vancouver, the Canadian government will now host the Times of India Film Awards, informs Cineswami

The International Indian Film Academy Awards or the IIFAs are representative of Bollywood – big, bright, colourful, and like the awards handed out every year, ultimately irrelevant. Who won the IIFAs last year? Don’t remember? Not to worry, nobody does, unlike say, the Filmfare Awards.

The IIFAs are not really about the awards, it’s more about the big money generated. The business model is quite simple. Go to a different country each year, tap into local governmental funding, attract sponsors and then create a television spectacle that reaches millions who watch and then promptly forget all about it until next year.

In 2011, the IIFAs were held in Toronto, Canada. The success of the jamboree led the government of the Canadian province of British Columbia to bid for the 2013 edition of the Bollywood love fest with a view to holding the IIFA Weekend in their largest city, Vancouver. Alas, negotiations did not conclude satisfactorily and the IIFA organisers decided to look elsewhere.

On Monday, the IIFA issued a statement that read thus, “The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) today confirmed that the bid from the British Columbia government on behalf of Vancouver was rejected for 2013 and the world’s biggest international celebration of Indian cinema would not be held in Vancouver this year.”

IIFA shared that the dates and venue for the 2013 edition of the IIFA Weekend and Awards would be formally announced soon.

The need for the clarification was necessary following thousands of fans inquiring about the IIFA celebrations due to rumours of a few copycat efforts being attempted in international markets.

Recently, IIFA received a copious number of emails and enquiries from fans in Canada and around the world for tickets to the Awards. But Wizcraft International, the organisers of the extravaganza, recently confirmed that the city is out of the running for June 2013. The bidding process for the Awards is currently on with a number of countries from the Middle East, South America, Europe and Africa vying for the biggest extravaganza of Indian cinema to come to their city.

In 2011, IIFA successfully forayed into North America, marking its premiere in Canada, in the city of Toronto. There has since been keen interest from the country to play host once more in 2013, with Christy Clark, the Premier of British Columbia formally extending an invitation to Wizcraft International Entertainment, the initiators of the unique IIFA Celebrations, to hold its latest edition in Vancouver.

Embarking on its 14th year, Sabbas Joseph, Director, IIFA & Wizcraft International said, “We are truly excited about the bids we have received from various countries. 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. We are committed to the film Industry and hosting an IIFA in any destination must meet the larger interests of Indian Cinema and a spectacular-staging of the annual celebration.”

The British Columbia government on their part, have now decided to go ahead and host their own version of the IIFAs with the backing of India’s biggest media house, the Times of India group, who already organise the Filmfare Awards. The newly minted Times of India Film Awards will unspool April 4-6 in Vancouver and other parts of British Columbia and will be hosted by Karan Johar and Chitrangda Singh. Johar, who the Canadians gushingly described as ‘the Steven Spielberg of the East’ said in Vancouver on Tuesday, “The Diaspora love that our films have received over the last 50 years has been something that I can’t describe in words. Really, the Diaspora love has made Indian cinema even more impactful, even more global.” Johar is now actively looking at Vancouver as the location for his next NRI love-in, as the British Columbia government has rolled out the red carpet for him.

In terms of hard cash, British Columbia will give C$9.5 million in match funding to the Times group to produce the event. This means that the good folks at the Times will have to demonstrate that they have also spent the same amount at their end. The Canadians will also pony up a further C$1.5 million for a British Columbia-India Global Business Forum.

Bottomline, television viewers have yet another awards extravaganza to look forward to in April. It remains to be seen if the IIFAs decide to take on the might of the Canadian government and the Times group and sue.

ALSO READ: IIFA 2012: Why were the big stars not at the event?