From celebrating 25 years of music maestro AR Rahman to Bollywood A-listers taking on the stage in New York, the 18th edition of International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) awards promises to be a grand celebration of Hindi cinema in the US. IIFA, which celebrates the achievements of Bollywood in different cities across the world, will be held at the iconic MetLife Stadium in New York from July 13-15. "The special treat from IIFA this year is New York. Bollywood will take centre stage in the most significant city of the world," Sabbas Joseph, Founder, Director of IIFA, told PTI. "Not only are we going at Times Square for IIFA stomp but we will also ring the bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) to commence the celebration. India's best performers Salman Khan, Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan will take on the stage. We also have a special tribute to AR Rahman." This year IIFA will offer a fusion of fashion, music, dance as well as food as a first-ever culinary contest organised by New York-based Indian chef Vikas Khanna. "We hope to mesmerise the audience not just in New York but across the world.
We all are set to make a statement on behalf of Indian cinema and culture," Joseph added. The IIFA Rocks 2017 on day two will celebrate 25 years of Oscar and Grammy winner Rahman in the music industry and feature a special medley by the maestro along with musicians Diljit Dosanjh, Benny Dayal, Javed Ali, Neeti Mohan, Jonita Gandhi and Haricharan Seshadri. This event will be hosted by Riteish Deshmukh and Manish Paul. As part of the IIFA Weekend and awards, the Indian Chambers of Commerce and industry has announced the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum to be held on July 14. Supported by Consulate General of India - New York, Asia Society and US-India Business Council (USIBC), the Business Forum is an initiative which began in 2005 and has grown into a global platform. The event will culminate in the main star-studded awards night on July 15, which will witness power-packed performances by biggest stars of B-town including Salman, Katrina, Shahid Kapoor, Alia, Varun, Sushant Singh Rajput, Kriti Sanon among others. The event will be hosted by Karan Johar and Saif Ali Khan. Varun, who is making his debut appearance at the IIFA awards, said he will paying tribute to his father David Dhawan by performing on the filmmakers' chartbuster songs. He will also launch the new version of "Onchi Hai Building" and "Tan Tana Tan" from his upcoming film "Judwaa 2". Joseph said there would be almost 100 celebrities attending IIFA this year. Over 25,000 people are expected to attend Rahman's concert and over 40,000 people will be present at the awards. Besides Bollywood celebrities, several Hollywood stars have also been part of IIFA, including Angelina Jolie, action star Jackie Chan, Australian pop-star Kylie Minogue, British actor Colin Firth, Hollywood stars Hillary Swank, Kevin Spacey and John Travolta. When asked if "Quantico" star Priyanka Chopra and other Hollywood stars would attend the awards gala, Joseph said, "We welcome every star who is in the vicinity who can join us, do make it. Priyanka has been a big support to the IIFA and over the years she has performed on stage, received honours. "We have always had a great relationship over the last 15 years. If she is in town, we are certain that she will join us at IIFA. It will be awesome to see her being celebrated in the city that has adopted her their own superstar." In the past 17 years, IIFA has been organised in cities like London, Sun City, Malaysia, Johannesburg, Singapore, Amsterdam, Dubai, Yorkshire, Thailand, Macau, Tampa Bay, Colombo, Toronto and Madrid. The award show will be exclusively aired on Colors channel on July 16.
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