Monday, July 11, 2011

How grand really, were the IIFA awards?

wish to give you my notions on the supposedly grand IIFA awards that just happened last weekend.

All over the social media including the page of a prominent South Asian website, many South Asians are criticizing the actual awards ceremony. Even though the stage was fascinating and the production fabulous, the show itself was a big disappointment filled with corny jokes and poor performances with panting lead dancers, uncomfortable pauses of silence, sub-grade sound quality, etc. The show was so pathetic that the hosts had to actually ask people for standing ovations! Standing ovations should come impromptu, when the performers say or do something that strikes a chord with the audience. Also, not enough big time stars showed up. Preity Zinta, Hritik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor, Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar and a host of others were no shows.

So what did we taxpayers get for $12m that Michael Chan, the Ontario minister for tourism and culture, proclaimed Ontario dished out? Even he on Matt Galloway’s CBC metro morning show on Tuesday, June 21 seemed sceptical about the immediate benefits that supposedly drew in only 40,000 visitors, unlike other home grown festivals that draw a million plus visitors. All we got was a poorly organized and second rate awards ceremony that did not respect time (it started an hour late) and dragged on for 5 hours so that by the time the people rolled out, there was no TTC available to go home. Also many are questioning as to what exactly happened to the $12m? Was it used to pay exorbitant fees to enrich already rich Indian actors? If that is the case, surely the money will go out of Canada. And for what? To please the South Asian diaspora from which many are actually cribbing at how badly they got ripped off?

Besides this, right after the Brampton buzz event held over the June 17-19 weekend, one bold Bramptonian questioned the Mayor of Brampton on her facebook page as to what happened to the $300K that was apportioned to Brampton. The reply from the Mayor’s office was that no such amount was spent on the buzz event, that they were rumours. Also the rumoured $50K-$80K paid to Bollywood actress Bipasha Basu was denied. A few hours after Michael Chan came on CBC radio stating that all communities got $300K through a program called ‘Celebrate’, the whole thread on this subject was deleted from the Mayor of Brampton’s facebook page. Are we living in a democracy where we are allowed to express our opinion freely or what? Isn’t the Mayor’s facebook page there to express citizens’ gripes as well as praise the Mayor for the many good things she has done (and she definitely has, I will not deny that).

Another major question is did IIFA really crack the mainstream market? As Matt Galloway said on CBC metro morning, GTA’s number one morning radio show, for many it is a circus.

So Ontario dished out $12m plus $300K for each community, i.e $13m plus for a mediocre circus?! One that did not even please the audience it was meant for?! Maybe there was more money spent that we are unaware of.

Mohit Rajhans- who also comes on CBC radio, asked Bollywood actor Anupam Kher at the awards if Toronto should host more such shows. Kher said yes. When Mohit asked our premier Dalton McGuinty the same question, he was non-committal; some say the premier’s mannerism was such that even he seemed unsure about the sanity of spending so many millions for a circus.

I hope the Ontario government has learned a lesson. $13m could have been better spent on more meaningful programs. If certain cultures want to break into the North American market, they should do it on their own steam and money not ours!

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