For one weekend, last week, this city played host to all the glitz and glamour of Indian cinema as the annual International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) came rolling into town.
IIFA functions as a roving exhibition of Bollywood’s masala movie magic, and unlike its Western counterparts – France’s Cannes Film Festival or the USA’s Academy Awards – the awards ceremony moves from city to city.
In its 18 years, the show – honouring the best in North Indian cinema that year – has been in 12 cities including London, Johannesburg, Amsterdam, Dubai and Colombo.
And unlike other established awards shows that aim to highlight cinematic achievements within a film industry –IIFA is also designed to spread awareness of Bollywood in foreign markets. Generating investment and interest in India’s film industry is an integral part of the awards.
“We started with a mission, to take [Indian] cinema to the world and in the process we saw what cinema can do – it builds bridges in communities, causes excitement among businesses people in two countries and gets invest flowing between countries,” explains Sabbas Joseph – the Director of Wizcraft International Entertainment, the company that conceptualized and produces IIFA.
It seems to be working.
In Singapore, according to the numbers provided by Wizcraft, saw an increase of 31% in its tourism revenues in the week of IIFA 2004, which was held in the city-state. The 2004 event generated tourism receipts totalling SG$17 million.
In Amsterdam, IIFA reportedly brought in approximately SGD$30 million and in Dubai – SGD$24 million
Bollywood too has seen a boost.