The Times of India group, India’s largest media conglomerate, on Tuesday said it would organise a global annual award event, The Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA), starting this year, which will directly take on the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA).
The Times group is not new to the film awards business. In fact, it is one of the pioneers that started the Filmfare awards, honouring and recognising excellence in Hindi cinema. But unlike the Filmfare awards, held in the country, TOIFA will be a global event. In its first year, TOIFA will be organised in Vancouver, Canada, on April 4-6.
“TOIFA is yet another step in getting closer to millions of Indians across the globe. The awards come at a time when Hindi cinema celebrates a centenary milestone of offering versatile entertainment," said Vineet Jain, managing director of the Times group.
However, Wizcraft International Entertainment, the event management and entertainment agency that has been organising IIFA since 2000, is not very happy with the the name and format of TOIFA.
“Any kind of competition is good and if done in a right manner, will only increase the excitement in the diaspora and help in marketing of Indian cinema in the international markets. However, competition should be created and not copied. It (TOIFA) is a blatant copy of the IIFA format. Even the name TOIFA is similar,” said Sabbas Joseph, co-founder and director of Wizcraft.
Asked if Wizcraft would challenge TOIFA, Joseph said: “What is the point? It is just a waste of time. I will leave it to the public to decide which one is real and which is copy.” On mushrooming award shows, Joseph said world over, there were two-three award shows that were recognised and respected. “The rest are just another events.”
However, IIFA is very different than a domestic award function, like Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards or Filmfare, say media pundits. “IIFA is sold on different parameters. Many of it is advertiser funded. The total size of the revenue from sponsorships is between Rs 9 and Rs 12 crore and the show might make a profit of up to a crore. So far, IIFA had monopoly since its launch in 2000, but with Times launching another award show it will definitely get more competitive and profit margins for them may get squeezed,” a media buyer said.
Meanwhile, on the lines of IIFA Weekends, TOIFA 2013 celebrations will also span over a weekend.
April 4 will see musicians from the Hindi film industry regale audiences with a concert at the Pacific Colliseum. On April 5, there will be screenings of popular Hindi films across multiplexes in British Columbia for the public. This will be followed by the TOIFA Nomination Gala and the Technical Awards.
The weekend will culminate in a grand awards ceremony on April 6 with performances by Shah Rukh Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Abhishek Bachchan, Anushka Sharma, Priyanka Chopra and other leading celebrities. The event is conceptualised, scripted, directed and managed by event management company the Cineyug Group of Companies.
TOIFA awards will be selected by fans’ vote across 14 different categories. The Times group has roped in Shah Rukh Khan as the brand ambassador. IIFA had Amitabh Bachchan since its inception till 2010.
Jim Nickel, deputy high commissioner and acting consul general of Canada in India said: “Hosting the TOIFA in Vancouver will showcase Canada’s vibrant cultural sector and will promote Canada as a competitive destination for film production and collaboration. TOIFA will further connect the Canadian and Indian film industries and will also deepen the already strong people to people ties between our two countries. The awards and surrounding events will provide the opportunity to feature Canada and what it has to offer to business and to visitors.”