Bollywood relocates to England

Awards events roll across four cities

LONDON — The cream of the Indian film industry will be in the north of England this weekend to attend the International Indian Film Academy Awards.

Among the host of stars attending are Amitabh Bachchan, as well as husband and wife team Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai, with venues in Bradford, Sheffield, Leeds and Hull all hosting various events.

Organizers have planned a series of screenings and shindigs, including the world preem of Hasnain S. Hydrabadwala’s “The Train,” the U.K. preem of Indian shingle UTV’s new cut of their BAFTA-nominated “Rang De Basanti,” as well as a celebrity cricket match.

The awards ceremony itself is skedded for June 9 at the Hallam Arena in Sheffield. Best picture noms include “Dhoom 2,” superhero pic “Krrish,” “Rang de Basanti,” “Lage Raho Munnabhai,” “Vivaah” and “Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna,” the biggest-grossing Bollywood film at the U.K. box office in 2006.

“Rang de Basanti” leads the field with 15 noms, followed by “Omkara” — an Indian re-styling of Shakespeare’s “Othello” — with 11 noms.

Event organizers expect 28,000 visitors over the five-day fest. Blighty has become the second-biggest market for Indian cinema in the world. The IIFA shindig is expected to boost tourism in Yorkshire by £9.5 million ($18.8 million), according to David Andrews, CEO of the Yorkshire Tourist Board.

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