IIFA 2014 Day 2 – Part 2 / Namaste Y’all

Day Two (April 24th, 2014) of the Videocon d2H IIFA continued with a monster Press Conference in a huge ballroom at The Tampa Downtown Hilton Hotel on Thursday afternoon. It didn’t begin at 3:00 – rather about 20 minutes later. Nonetheless – the room was packed with TV crews, print journalists, photographers, and other media folks of every stripe. I saw more smart phones, expensive cameras, TV video crews, and tablets than I could count. One gal (from London, UK no less, had a phone, a mini-cam, and a microphone hooked up to an audio recorder.

Al Higginbotham - Namaste y'all

Al Higginbotham – Namaste y’all

This was the perfect mix of celebrities, glamour, business, and politics. All in one place and at a single event. Florida Governor Rick Scott attended and spoke, as did Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, and County Commissioner Al Higginbotham who said to the gathered throng, “From an old country boy from Plant City, I want to say, ‘Namaste, y’all,’ “

Master of Ceremonies: From Wizcraft - Sabbas Joseph

Master of Ceremonies: From Wizcraft – Sabbas Joseph

On hand, and acting as Master of Ceremonies was Sabbas Joseph, the founding director and creative force behind Wizcraft, the leading Indian Communication and Entertainment Agency.

From the business side we heard from Rajid Tata of Tata Motors, a co-sponsor of the Awards event. Dr. Kiran Patel spoke on health. And there was a speaker on Climate Changes.

Also, The General Counsel of India was on hand.

Anil Kapoor

Anil Kapoor

From the world of entertainment – Actors Stephen Baldwin, who said I am the youngest of the Baldwin Brothers and I’m getting old, but I’m committed to making a film in India soon. Right, Stephen, aren’t we all (getting old)? He and actor Anil Kapoor both spoke.

Sonakshi Sinha

Sonakshi Sinha

World famous actresses Sonakshi Sinha (Lootera and Once Upon a Time in Mumbai Dobaara!)) and Priyanka Chopra (Barfi from 2012, and Ram Leela, Krrish 3, Zanjeer, Shootout at Wadala all in 2013) were on hand and captured everyone’s attention.

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra

From the world of music – Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan was on hand to launch his new album. This musician is considered the world’s foremost performer of Qawwaii, the devotional music of the Muslim Sufis.

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan launches his new album

Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan launches his new album

We heard about the IIFA Stomp, an Indian music and dance festival, held at Tampa’s Curtis Hixon Park on Wednesday, the 23rd. More than 10,000 people attended this free event.

We were also told about the super event IIFA Rocks for Thursday April 24th’s Evening. To be held at the Tampa Convention Center – this event promised to be simply huge. As they described it – a cultural event that would showcase the music of India, the fashion of India, and event that would give you a Taste of The Magic and the Madness that is Indian Cinema.

Speaking of madness, I was there for the IIFA Rock’s Green Carpet – the arrivals of the fashion folks, the producers, directors, and technical people from Bollywood’s film industry, and finally the actors and actresses. I was there at 5:30 PM for the announced 6:30 Green carpet, and I must tell you, even at an hour early for the Green Carpet, I was late because this is an event which was already two deep at the barricades and would eventually reach three, four, or five deep at the barriers.

The Green Carpet walk before things got going

The Green Carpet walk before things got going

By 7:15 no one important or not, famous or not, had appeared. All we saw on the Green Carpet were the security staff who wore blue shirts labeled SENTRY, the arrangers and planners, and scores of Staff Photographers and event staff who would have access inside. Working media like me, were not getting inside for the show. The event itself was closed to the Media.

Anyway, I bailed – I had to deal with a thing called being hungry, Fortunately, my hotel was just across the street so I was soon having dinner. I got back and by now it was 7:50. I gather I had missed the most of the fashion folks because what was going on now was the arrivals of  the business and technical folks of the Bollywood film industry. The Green Carpet was in full swing – but not a movie star in sight. I chose not to stand five deep, and so I saw no stars who were appearing at IIFA Rocks.

(l) Priyanka Alva and (r) Priyanka Chopra

(l) Priyanka Alva and (r) Priyanka Chopra

But all is not lost. Here are a quartet of images of the Green Carpet arrivals of a few of Bollywood’s biggest stars. Photos directly above and below courtesy – Wizcraft International/ IIFA

(l) Anupam Kher and (r) Vivek Oberoi

(l) Anupam Kher and (r) Vivek Oberoi

I have posted some photos (including Priyanka and Sonakshi) from this afternoon’s presser  for you, and sorry for the delay in posting same. But one of the cardinal rules for event coverage is – don’t leave home without your USB cable to download the pictures from your camera to your computer. My bad.

On the other hand, there’s always the memory card that you can take out of the camera.

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