The long awaited 15th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) award show kicked off at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida last Saturday night with hours of music, dance and entertainment. Thousands of Bollywood fans from all over the United States poured into the stadium on late Saturday afternoon to have glimpse of their favorite Hindi cinema stars walking on the green carpet. The show started almost two hours late, which is considered normal for Bollywood and its fans, with Mayor Bob Buckhorn handing over the key to the city of Tampa to hosts Shahid Kapoor and Farhan Akthar, and it ended at around 3:30 am on Sunday morning with a fireworks finale.
The night was full of stars, lights, music and fun. The on stage performance of Priyanka Chopra, who also brought Hollywood’s celebrated actor John Travolta on the stage and made him dance to Indian music, was marvelous. On the other hand, Dipika Padukon, the winner of the Best Actor-Female for IIFA Award, brought Kevin Spacey on the stage and made him do the “Lungi Dance” with her. The legendary Maduri Dixit brought the entire audience to their feet when she started dancing to her evergreen song “eak do tin” and young and energetic Ranbir Sing’s entry on a motor bike made thousands of young girls scream at the top of their lungs. Hritik Roshan, the heartthrob of millions, presented a superb and final performance of the night.
The night of entertainment ended with short but touching speech of Milkha Singh who inspired the making of Bhag Milkha Bhag, the winner of IFFA’s Best Film award. IIFA invited and honored India’s legendary track and field athlete Milkha Sing, who is also known as Flying Sikh.
This three day IIFA event in Tampa provided an opportunity for Bollywood stars and their fans to interact with each other in person. Some of the Bollywood artists were spotted at the local shopping mall and their fans had the chance to chat with their favorite actors who did not mind posing for a picture with them.
On the other hand, many fans were disappointed because of the late start of the show and some were disenchanted because some of the big stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif and members of Bachhan family were not there. The reason for that could have been the conflicting schedule of the general election in India and the IPL cricket league tournament. After all, this is entertainment business and the show must go on. The big stars that did not show up for this event also missed a momentous opportunity to catch a glimpse of thousands of loving fans gathered at one place. At the end of the show people were thrilled with the experience of a lifetime and not concerned about who was and wasn’t there.