Four municipal governments that received grants from the Ontario government are proceeding with 'IIFA Buzz' -- a series of events leading up the IIFA Awards on June 25.
Toronto City has taken the lead with the city's Economic Development Committee getting a Bhangra group, Sonya Gabroo Punjab De, to perform on June 2 for members of the City Council and hundreds of others who turned up at City Hall.
Also present at the event was Kathleen Wynne, Ontario Minister of Transportation, Venki Raman, senior vice president of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC is the main sponsor of IIFA) and Noreen Khan, IIFA project head.
IIFA Buzz in the City of Markham is scheduled for June 18 where Mayor Frank Scarpiti will be present along with other VIPs, for 'Bollywood Under the Stars Movie Nights' which the organisers claim will be "the community's largest outdoor film screening". The film Housefull, a romantic comedy, will be shown. The film's cast Akshay Kumar and Deepika Padukone along with Lara Dutta will be present.
Lisa Ray, who acted in Deepa Mehta's Water will be the celebrity host of the event.
"We are honoured to have been chosen to be one of the hosts of these prestigious IIFA Buzz events," said Mayor Scarpiti. "This speaks to Markham's rich cultural diversity and our reputation for embracing and celebrating the contributions of everyone, from all backgrounds. We are grateful for the generous support from the Ontario Government and CIBC to make these Markham events possible."
"The government of Ontario is proud to support IIFA celebrations in local communities like Markham, to share in the excitement of this spectacular experience," said Ontario Culture and Tourism Minister Michael Chan. "This is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Markham and all of Ontario as a diverse and dynamic place to live, visit and do business. I encourage everyone to join the celebration and participate in Markham's IIFA Buzz events."
CIBC senior vice-president Raza Hasan said the bank was "proud to honour the cultural, artistic and business contributions of the global South Asian community."
Bipasha Basu will add some glamour to events that the City of Brampton is organising to mark IIFA.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime weekend in our community," said Mayor Susan Nannell. "We have never hosted a full weekend of activities of the best of South Asian entertainment and culture. There will be something for everyone to enjoy in downtown Brampton."
Saif Ali Khan will host IIFA Rocks, which will be presented by The Bay (a super departmental store), during the Videocon IIFA weekend. Saif has earlier performed on the IIFA stage in Dubai, Yorkshire (UK) and Colombo (Sri Lanka).
This year, IIFA Rocks will have supermodels from around the world strutting down the catwalk in couture from India and Canada.
The organisers say that IIFA Rocks will be a dazzling event that will shine a spotlight on the world of fashion, with live musical performances from popular international artists in support of the IIFA Foundation, which supports families of workers in the film industry who have been adversely affected during the production of films.
The actual IIFA Awards will be the climax of IIFA Buzz and is scheduled for June 25 at the Rogers Center. Its 25,000 seats were sold out several weeks ago, which should be enough indication of the popularity of the Awards that are being held in North America for the first time.