This summer Canada is bound to get a whole lot hotter with the spiciest stars in Bollywood holding court in Toronto for the 2011 International Indian Film Academy Weekend and Awards, June 23rd-25th.
Bollywood superstars Preity Zinta and Anil Kapoor were in Toronto on Wednesday to announce the IIFA celebrations in Toronto, and were joined by the affable Premier of Ontario Dalton McGuinty, and a host of other Canadian dignitaries.
Premier McGuinty with Preity Zinta and Anil Kapoor
The excitement in the room was palpable and with good reason -- the Indian film industry has 23 million fans watching its movies each day. But despite those astonishing numbers, many people in North America are unfamiliar with Bollywood films, though that's something sure to change after the 2011 IIFA celebrations in Toronto.
Premier McGuinty spoke about the ability of cinema to bring people together and IIFA certainly hopes to strengthen the already friendly and favorable ties between Canada and India, not just through film but through tourism, culture and trade as well. "It's not just about an award," said Bollywood beauty and 2011 IIFA ambassador Preity Zinta,"it's about cultural exchange, it's about business opportunities, it's tourism exchange, it's so much more!"
Bollywood stars Preity Zinta and Anil Kapoor
Revered Indian actor Anil Kapoor was quick to point out that the IIFA Awards are not the Oscars of Bollywood -- it's only in its twelfth year -- but he was not short of praise. "It's unique, it's different, it's genuine and it's got integrity, honesty and transparency," said Kapoor, who believes that IIFA has come a long way in just a few short years.
Canada may currently be in a deep freeze but come June, Toronto's temperatures will surely be soaring as the hottest stars from India go gallivanting around town. With dozens of exciting events planned around the city between June 23rd-25th, and thousands of fans expected to pour in, there will be no shortage of glitz and glamor during IIFA 2011. "A decade later IIFA has finally crossed the seven seas and come to Toronto," exclaimed Zinta; "people here are in for a big treat!"
Want to see all the great pictures from the announcement of the 2011 IIFA Awards in Toronto with Preity Zinta and Anil Kapoor? Find them here.