‘Bollywood Oscars’ frenzy grips Toronto

‘Bollywood Oscars’ frenzy grips Toronto

TORONTO — Tens of thousands of fans swarmed a stadium in Canada’s largest metropolis on Saturday for the 12th annual “Bollywood Oscars,” being held for the first time in North America.

By (AFP)

Published: Sun 26 Jun 2011, 9:48 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:43 PM

Organizers said 22,000 were to attend this year’s ceremony at Toronto’s Rogers Centre, while another 700 million could watch it on television.

Shah Rukh Khan, Anil Kapoor (“Slumdog Millionaire”) and the Deol family were among the dozens of Bollywood superstars in attendance, along with Oscar-winners Hilary Swank and Cuba Gooding Jr.

A three-day festival leading up to awards night also saw flash mobs of Indian dancers, gala movie premieres, a fashion show and Indian cultural events.

On Friday, Jermaine Jackson performed his late brother Michael’s hits with Indian pop singer Sonu Nigam at an IIFA concert to commemorate the second anniversary of Michael’s death.

Ontario has the second-largest Indian diaspora in the world, topping 600,000 out of a total population of 13 million, “and their passion for Indian cinema has become ours (all Ontarians) too,” said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Launched in 2000 at the Millennium Dome in London the annual IIFA awards have been held in 11 cities around the world, including Colombo, Macao, Bangkok, Dubai, Amsterdam and Johannesburg.

The event is designed to celebrate the popular Hindi-language film industry and win new audiences abroad.

Bollywood gangster movie “Once Upon a Time in Mumbai” leads the field in the nominations for the Hindi-language film industry’s glitziest awards.

The film has been nominated in 12 categories for the IIFA awards, including best film and best male lead for Ajay Devgan, one of Bollywood’s leading actors.

Screen tough guy Salman Khan’s corrupt cop romp “Dabangg” (Fearless) is close behind with 11 nominations.

Other movies in the running for a clutch of awards include the drama “Ishqiya” (Love) with nine nominations. Romantic comedy “Band Baaja Baaraat” (The Wedding Planners) and the thriller “Rajneeti” (Politics) both have eight.

The nominations came from more than 1,500 votes from the Indian film fraternity.

Last year’s event in Sri Lanka saw many top stars stay away after protests by Indian Tamils who said Bollywood’s decision to come to the island nation legitimized the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse.

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