Irish hot favourite to host Indian Oscars

FILM fans are hoping to curry favour with India’s movie bosses in a bid to bring the Bollywood Oscars to Ireland.

Four countries are competing to host the top awards in Indian cinema next year, and promoters here are finalising a submission they hope will bring the glitzy affair to a venue in Dublin.

The idea is backed by the film industry representative body, the Audiovisual Federation, as well as the Irish Hotels Federation, while the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism is also being kept informed with a view to lending support.

The Indian International Film Academy Awards — or IIFAs — have been running for eight years, staged in countries such as Britain, Dubai, South Africa and the Netherlands.

Business development consultant Bernice Paolozzi, who is co-ordinating the bid, said the policy of staging it outside of India made good business sense.

“Twenty-four million people go to the cinema in India every day, and they’re making more than 1,000 movies there this year. They really don’t need to promote the industry at home any more,” she said.

Ms Paolozzi said the three-day extravaganza, which annually attracts the biggest stars in an industry which is bigger than Hollywood, would be one of the highlights of the social calendar.

“It’s a red-carpet occasion,” she said.

About 2,000 guests would travel from India for the televised event, but it would also target the four million Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and Sri Lankans living in Britain.

PK Sharma, the British representative of Wizcraft, the events management company that runs the awards, said the organisers were keen to see the Irish bid succeed.

“We were looking at scheduling the event at the end of May in Ireland because it’s a bank holiday in the UK and we would easily get 5,000 to 6,000 flying over from the UK.

“We also take all the producers and directors who come over on a familiarisation tour to show them the country. Ireland could easily be used as a film location, which would bring in millions of euro. What Ireland has to offer that a lot of places don’t is the heritage that has been retained in buildings and in scenery,” he said.

Half of all big-budget Indian films are shot in foreign locations.

Peter Scott, executive with the Audiovisual Federation, said the Irish film industry would be delighted with a share of the business.

One big obstacle to the staging of the event here is that, with the Point Theatre under renovation, no alternative indoor venue has been found.

The Irish bid has to be submitted by mid-September. The other places in the running are Switzerland, Egypt and Atlanta in the US.

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