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Lifestyle

Launch of the IIFA Awards with Brand Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan - Yorkshire 2007

On Wednesday 8th November 2006, celebrities, dignitaries and businesses gathered at the House of Commons to celebrate the official announcement of the International Indian Film Academy Awards Weekend (IIFAs) in Yorkshire, June 2007.

The biggest stars of Indian film, along with some of the world’s best-known international celebrities, will be arriving in Yorkshire next June for the spectacular IIFA Weekend and the exciting celebrity action will be broadcast across the world.

At the House of Commons, the epitome of Indian cinema, Amitabh Bachchan, IIFA’s Brand Ambassador, was joined by dignitaries, including Secretary of State, Tessa Jowell, the High Commissioner of India to the UK, Kamlesh Sharma and Keith Vaz MP, to celebrate the return of the IIFA Weekend to the UK. Additionally, Judith Donovan, chairperson for the Yorkshire Tourism Board and Tom Riordan, CEO, Yorkshire Forward, the regional development authority which won the bid to host the prestigious IIFA Weekend, announced details of the IIFA Weekend and the anticipated impact for Yorkshire business and tourism.

Just before the official announcement, Mr. Bachchan along with Keith Vaz MP, Mr. Sanjeev Aga, Managing Director, Idea Cellular Ltd, Judith Donovan, Tom Roirdion, and the Wizcraft Directors had the pleasure of meeting with Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer who presented Mr. Bachchan and Mr. Aga with a special certificate for their support to the International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm). Amitabh Bachchan is the first celebrity and the sixth person in the world to be awarded with this certificate. Gordon Brown also extended his support to the upcoming IIFA Weekend in Yorkshire and congratulated Yorkshire for winning the IIFA Bid. He said,The IIFA Weekend has my unprecedented support. The relationship between India and the UK is long standing and one we would like to keep developing forever.” Mr. Bachchan was honoured to receive the IFFIm bond and said, “This noble cause has my utmost support and I would be happy to help the IFFIm Bond in whatever way I can.” Mr. Bachchan also supports the Unicef and the Pulse Polio Immunisation drive in India.

At the event, Mr Bachchan focused on the rising popularity of Indian cinema as a major global business. Mr Bachchan said: “IIFA is committed to taking Indian Cinema across the globe and into the UK with the 2007 IIFA Weekend in Yorkshire. Cinema brings together people from diverse cultures for a shared experience bridging the cultural divide. Using cinema as a key to open minds the International Indian Film Academy believes bridges should be built across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations.”

Supported by Prime Minister Tony Blair, Yorkshire was successful in its bid to attract the event organisers attention. Judith Donovan said: “Yorkshire is one of the premier locations in the UK and is delighted to be hosting the eighth year of the prestigious IIFA Weekend. It looks forward to opening its doors and welcoming film personalities, business stalwarts, eminent public figures of India and the rest of the world”.

The House of Commons launch event was followed by a five-city launch the next day in the company of the Mayors of York, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield and Bradford, who will flag off the IIFA Weekend announcement along with Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. The five-city launch will be held at the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television (NMPFT), Bradford.

The UK and India have a long and profitable history of business relationships and the UK is India’s number one location for investment in Europe. The economic impact of the IIFA weekend is significant and will affect sectors such as hospitality, tourism, travel, telecommunications, television and above all the world of cinema.

Terry Hodgkinson, Chair of Yorkshire Forward, said: “The Indian economy is set to grow by 10% in the next 12 months alone and companies are looking to make investments overseas – especially in the UK.  Hosting the awards will act as a catalyst to access the Indian market, forging stronger business and cultural links between our region and India.

“Today, Yorkshire is a vibrant, diverse and beautiful economic powerhouse. Our cities are poised to join the most famous and successful international locations and our people are seized with a rich sense of local pride and confidence.”

IIFA Weekend Yorkshire marks the return of the celebration which has already become one of the worlds most-watched and sought after event.

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