It was a perfect mix of business and entertainment as the three-day IIFA Awards Weekend kicked off in Yorkshire on Thursday on a serious business note followed by enthralling performances by Bollywood stars.
The event started with a business meet attended by Union Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel and several business leaders from India and UK. But the atmosphere was soon filled with glamour and glitz as several Bollywood stars including Amitabh Bachchan took centre stage.
The Big B, the brand ambassador of IIFA, expressed happiness that Indian cinema was finally getting the recognition that it deserved.
"There was a time when Indian cinema was looked down upon but those days are now behind us. We are finally getting the respect and attention that we deserve and that is very heartening to look at," he said.
The mega star was honoured by the Yorkshire county, which is hosting the awards this year, with a traditional staff resembling a walking stick.
Other celebrities from the tinsel world in attendance included the likes of Bachchan's son Abhishek and daughter-in-law Aishwarys Rai, veteran actor Dharmendra and his sons Sunny and Bobby Deol.
The event, which culminates with an award ceremony Saturday night, promises much entertainment with mega-stars like Bachchan, Govinda and Saif Ali Khan scheduled to perform.
The gala world premiere of the "The Train" starring Emran Haashmi will be screened later in the evening along with the promotional airing of several other films like the Salman Khan-Govinda starrer 'Partner'.