IIFA brings cultures, countries together: Amitabh


New Delhi : The International Indian Film Award (IIFA), which started as a celebration of Indian cinema abroad, has brought cultures and countries together, superstar Amitabh Bachchan, brand ambassador of IIFA, said here Tuesday.

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"What started as a mere celebration of Indian cinema beyond Indian shores, has culminated in bringing many things together – cultures, countries and things that are important to us and to the host countries," Amitabh told reporters at a press conference.

"What has impressed me this year about IIFA is that it has recognised the importance of global warming and has tied up with Global Cool, an organisation working towards making our planet a better place to live," he added.

Actor Anil Kapoor, who also attended the conference, echoed his sentiments. "I feel it's getting better, multifaceted and adding more dimensions to the entire activity. It is not just an awards function, its becoming bigger and bigger."

The IIFA is in its eighth year and will be held in Yorkshire, Britain, June 7-10 this year. Apart from the gala awards night June 9, the four-day extravaganza will hold a global business forum that will address issues concerning trade and highlight the issue of global warming.

The forum will be attended by Minister for Civil Aviation Praful Patel and Habib Khorakiwala, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) amongst others.

"I'm sure that the event in Yorkshire will prove that it has been a very fruitful coming together," Amitabh remarked.

The 10 lucky nominees of the 'Idea IIFA Star Ki Talaash' were also announced at the conference. Amitabh and Anil Kapoor announced the names of the five men and women who will be groomed by designers Anna Singh and Manish Malhotra for the grand finale. The winner of the contest will get a chance to work in Bollywood.

On the contest, Anil said: "This is a platform I wish I had when I started my career."

A dazzling performance by Shilpa Shetty will be one of the highlights of the IIFA weekend. Lara Dutta will host the awards night along with comedy kings Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani.

Amitabh added some light moments to conference.

Taking a pot shot at Anil, who said he hadn't won any award since he associated himself to IIFA, the Big B said: "I sympathise with my dear friend Anil for not having won an award ever since he became associated with IIFA. I cannot say the same for myself Anil as I have won couple of them after joining IIFA. I have a piece of advice to you … you may want to consider changing the colour of your French beard!"

The four-day event will also see a celeb cricket match between India and Yorkshire. Saif Ali Khan will captain the Indian team, which has big names like Kapil Dev, Mohammad Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Sunny and Bobby Deol and Sohail Khan.

Sabbas Joseph (director, Wizcraft), Judith Donovan (chairman, Yorkshire Tourism Board, YTB), Sanjeev Aga (managing director, Idea), and Adam Purser (marketing director, Yorkshire Forward) also attended the conference.