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    Posted May 20, 2014 by

    Tampa Hosts IIFA Awards with India’s Most Popular Actors and Actresses

    Photo Credit: <a href"http://www.iifa.com/photo-gallery/">http://www.iifa.com/photo-gallery/</a>

    Tampa Hosts IIFA Awards with India’s Most Popular Actors and Actresses

    The biggest names in Bollywood gathered in Tampa from April 23-26 for the International Indian Film Academy awards, which allegedly had over 800 million viewers internationally.

    The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards are considered Bollywood’s version of The Oscars. Bollywood is the name for the Indian movie industry, based in Mumbai. Over the course of 4 days, the most popular actors and actresses from Bollywood, including Farhan Akhtar, Deepika Padukone and Shahid Kapoor stayed in Tampa.

    The celebration drew crowds in the thousands who were bent on seeing their favorite movie stars in person. Fans packed into the Raymond James Stadium on the final day of the celebration to watch the stars walk down the famed green carpet.

    Deepika Padukone won the Best Actress Award; Farhan Akhtar won the Best Actor Award, while Bhaag Milkha Bhaag went away with the most awards with 14 in total.

    The 4 day long event included an Expo for local businesses, a Business Forum with business leaders from India and America, live entertainment and the main event: the IIFA Awards.

    According to the Tampa Bay Times, there was an estimated 800 million viewers in 110 countries watching the IIFA awards. The festival was the first time that the IIFA awards ceremony had taken place in the United States.

    Aayush Sharma, a student at C. Leon King High School, said he had been watching Indian films starring several actors and actresses that were in Tampa since he was a young child. Sharma was also a spectator at the IIFA awards in the Raymond James Stadium.

    “Ever since I was a child my parents and I have been watching Indian Films,” Sharma said. “In fact we try to watch one at least once a month.”

    Even those who weren’t keen on Indian films were excited that Tampa would be hosting the IIFA awards. Another student, Eric Chen, felt that the awards would be a great economic opportunity for local businesses, and an opportunity for Tampa residents learn more about the Indian culture.

    “[The IIFA awards] adds diversity to Tampa and that is what America is all about. It’s a good opportunity for the Indian community to set a good impression,” Chen said. “I think the media exposure is good because those reporters need places to stay and food to eat, giving cash to the local economy.”

    The response to the event was mainly positive, however, Eric Chen stated the traffic was congested around the events, and several students in King High School missed the FCAT (Florida's Comprehensive Assessment Test) to watch the IIFA awards.

    According to Aayush Sharma and many other Bollywood fans, the future of Indian films in America looks bright.

    “I definitely think that both IIFA and Bollywood will begin to grow dramatically in the United States,” Sharma said. “This event in Florida left a lot of people wanting even more of Bollywood and I think they will definitely continue to look into it.”
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