By Gurmukh Singh
Toronto, Jan 20 (IANS) IIFA will make magic, promised Bollywood stars Anil Kapoor and Preity Zinta as they announced that the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards would be held in this Canadian city in June.
"IIFA will create magic, IIFA will rock," said Anil Kapoor Wednesday announcing the 12th IIFA awards ceremony from June 23-25.
"IIFA stands for building bridges. It will bring a little slice of India to Toronto," beamed Preity who joined Anil in the introductory ceremony attended by Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, his ministers and Indian envoy Preeti Saran.
Looking at McGuinty who persuaded Bollywood to bring the mega-show to this Canadian city during his visit to Mumbai in 2009, Preity said amid applause: "It is the first premiere of IIFA here thanks to Premier McGuinty."
Calling IIFA "a truly grand celebration of Bollywood," she said the event will be a big treat for the Indian diaspora in Canada.
Thanks to IIFA, she said, "about 25 percent of our (Bollywood) revenue comes from overseas now."
Anil, overwhelmed by the hospitality and warmth of Toronto, said: "IIFA Toronto will be wonderfully staged. It will be the biggest landmark event and redefine the relationship between our two countries."
"Premier, let me assure you that we will create magic. IIFA will rock Toronto," he added.
McGuinty, who presented Canada's trademark BlackBerry smart phones to Preity and Anil, said he cannot wait to see the mega-show start.
"Toronto will be Bollywood central (during the event). It will redefine our city as a tourist destination and provide networking opportunities. We will put our best foot forward (to hold the event). It will be an unforgettable experience," he said.
Introducing the event to Canadians, Indian consul general Preeti Saran said: "IIFA could not have chosen a better venue than Toronto that celebrates integration and multiculturalism as no one else in the world."
"It is momentous that this prestigious award should be held in Toronto this year when we celebrate the Year of India in Canada," she added.
Calling McGuinty India's "closest friend and supporter", she said it is he who "made IIFA Toronto 2011 possible".
More than 500 film stars and 40,000 visitors are expected to descend on Canada's biggest city during the event.
The three-day show will feature the world premiere of a select films, an awards gala, a fashion show and interactive events across the cities of Toronto, Brampton, Mississauga and Markham in the Greater Toronto Area.
The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) will also join the Bollywood bandwagon to talk business with its Canadian counterparts.
With its motto of 'One People. One World,' IIFA has travelled to four continents during the past 11 years to take Bollywood to the wider global community.
(Gurmukh Singh can be contacted at [email protected])