Vancouver’s Bollywood Drama
In a press conference on Tuesday, Premier Christy Clark announced Vancouver will host the first ever Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA) in April. The provincial government will drop approximately $11 million on the three-day event, which Clark hopes will enhance ties between British Columbia and emerging economic powerhouse of India.
There’s been some confusion as a local television station reported the event was equivalent of the Bollywood Oscars, better known as the International India Film Academy Awards (IIFA). But Lizel Noronha, a spokesperson for IIFA told The Globe and Mail that Vancouver will host “a different event … along the same format as the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend & Awards.” IIFA reps went so far as to suggest the event is a “copycat” of their format.
Although BC had put in a bid to host IIFA, a news release from IIFA on Monday said the bid was rejected.
Sudhir Datta General Manager and Vice President of RJ1200—Vancouver’s Bollywood Station (an event sponsor), explains the difference: “the TOIFA is more along the lines of the people’s choice awards. One of objectives of the BC Government is to promote tourism, and this will certainly help BC capture India’s attention.”
The event will be hosted Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor. A critically acclaimed actor, Kapoor was the recipient of two 2012 Filmfare Awards—one for Rockstar and the second for his lively portrayal of a deaf-mute in Barfi.
Naturally, the BC Liberals have come under fire with opponents criticizing Clark for courting foreign filmmakers while the homegrown industry flounders. Others claim it’s a suspiciously expedient move for an election year. But there are also those who point to India’s burgeoning GDP and remember the role events like Expo ’86 played in the development of the province.
Will Clark get her Bollywood ending? Who knows. But feelings about the expenditure are running high.