TAMPA - IIFA Rocks took over the Tampa Convention Center on Thursday. The invite-only fashion show rolled out the green carpet and drew an estimated 2,500 people, many of them Bollywood stars.
The fashion show is one of the signature events for the annual award show dating back 15 years.
ABC Action News had a prime spot on the green carpet as many stars strolled in to pose for the massive media pool. One such star, Govinda. The Indian press said in his younger years his stardom could be compared to Jim Carey’s.
"I have been to Tampa before, and every time it is the people who make it, the love of the people," Govinda said as he blew a kiss to some lucky fans who got near the barriers.
Security was extremely tight. Only those with tickets were allowed near the green carpet.
Actress Kainat Arora, nominated for an award last year and presenting this year, gushed about the Bay area.
"It is my first time here. I am a little jet lagged, but I love it. I love the sun. I love the people. Let's rock this event Florida and Tampa Bay," she said.
Many of the stars surprisingly chose to wear American fashions for this event. Some joked the dresses were a lot easier to manage than a sari, a long silk piece that is wrapped into a dress. But many of the men chose to wear traditional Indian attire, including Santiago Corrada. He is the CEO of Visit Tampa Bay.
Corrada along with Dr. Kirin Patel are largely credited with bring Bollywood to Tampa
"This is amazing. It's going flawlessly and we are doing this Tampa style!" said Corrada.
"Bollywood is bigger than Hollywood and it's here in Tampa!" said a smiling Dr. Patel.
And of those getting a big reception, Tampa's own DJ Ravi Drums. The former Chamberlain High School student wrote IIFA's theme song this year, Do Da Tampa, and was one of the feature performers at IIFA Rocks.
"This is epic! I am an Indian man, performing at the biggest Indian event in my hometown," he said. "And I get to be here with my mom. This is awesome!"