India’s biggest international Hindi film awards, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards, are set to be held in Colombo in the first week of June, the tourism ministry announced here on Thursday.
The IFFA awards are being held since 2000 and has been held in places like London (the first one), Amsterdam, Singapore, Johannesburg and Dubai among others. In 2009, it was held in Macau.
``We bid for the IIFA awards last year. Both parties (the Tourism ministry of the Sri Lankan government and IIFA organisers) have agreed to hold the awards here. We are in the final stages of negotiations to finalise finer details,’’ Dileep Mudadeniya, managing director, Sri Lankan Tourism Promotion Bureau, told HT.
According to government-run newspaper, Daily News, a T-20 cricket match between Bollywood stars and cricketers will also be organised.
Mudadeniya added that the IIFA organisers have asked for some specific facilities for the ceremonies and functions to be held here. ``As a host country, we have to provide the facilities and currently we are finalising all the processes,’’ he said, adding it would give a boost to Sri Lanka’s image as a tourism destination.
"We are looking at Colombo. Some discussions are still on. Sri Lanka has been aggressively bidding for the awards. It was up against some tough competition from Singapore, South Korea and South Africa. We know that for a country coming out of a 30-year war, it (the awards) could give a huge boost," Shefali Munshi with the IFFA organisers told HT from Mumbai.
Munshi added that IIFA would soon announce the venue at a press conference in Mumbai.
"This is a very rare and wonderful opportunity for Sri Lanka. Thanks to the prevailing peace, Sri Lanka has received international recognition," Daily News quoted Tourism Minister Achala Jagoda as having said about the event.
The awards have attracted large crowds from the Indian diaspora abroad since its inception. It gives out awards in three broad categories: popular, special and technical.