What to expect from Bollywood awards weekend

TAMPA, Fla. - Tampa is gearing up for an awards show that has captivated audiences across the world for the past 15 years. The International Indian Film Academy will give their version of the Academy Awards at Raymond James Stadium on April 26.

"This is unlike anything that America has seen before," Bollywood actress Vidya Balan said. "It's a once in a lifetime experience, which I can not describe in words. You have to be there to experience the magic of Indian cinema come alive on that stage."

 

Balan knows all about the extravagant celebration. She's won an IIFA award for best actress three times in the past four years.

 

"Indian films are being loved and watched by more people in the world," Balan said.

 

More than 800 million people are expected to watch the show worldwide. It's being described as India's version of the Oscars but a much bigger spectacle.

 

"For starters, everything Indian has to do with music and dance and color. What you see up on stage is an extravaganza," Balan said.

 

When stars arrive at the awards they will be walking up a green instead of a red carpet. The color green brings awareness to eco-friendly efforts.

 

"We're trying to, in our own ways, protect the environment," Balan said.

 

Leading up to the awards, a master class will be held April 25. There Balan will team up with actor Kevin Spacey to talk about similarities and differences between Hollywood and Bollywood.  "I think both of us will be basically talking about the different approaches, our processes as actors," Balan said. "I think it's going to be a very important discussion."

 

Thirty thousand people are expected to be part of the IIFA weekend. So far 20,000 tickets have been sold to the shows, another 10,000 to 15,000 are on sale.

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