Thursday 17 May 2007 

IIFA Celebrity Cricket Match Teams Unveiled

The countdown for the much-awaited, fun-filled and exciting eighth IIFA Weekend in Yorkshire has begun, as the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) announced the ten lucky nominees of the ‘Idea IIFA Star Ki Talaash’, the team for the much anticipated ‘IIFA Foundation Celebrity cricket match and the speakers and verticals of the power-packed ‘FICCI –IIFA Global Business Forum’.

The IIFA Weekend, which is being powered by Eros International, would be held in Yorkshire from June 7th- 10th and will see performances by dazzling stars of Indian cinema including current heartthrobs and superstars Abhishek Bachchan, Saif Ali Khan & Shilpa Shetty. The extravagant eighth annual Idea IIFA Awards night will be hosted by the vivacious Lara Dutta and comedy kingpins- Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani.

Day one of the IIFA Weekend Yorkshire will showcase the best talent in the ‘business of business’ as the inaugural session of this partnership forum will feature the attendance of heavyweights from UK and the Indian business fraternity. The primary objective of the global business forum is to address the issues concerning trade and to highlight the issue of climate change that threatens our world. The business forum which is being presented by Idea Cellular and the Aditya Birla Group will be inaugurated by Praful Patel, Honorable Union Minister for Civil Aviation. Major highlights include keynote presentations by Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman, WPP, Habib Khorakiwala, President, FICCI, Lord Karan Billimoria, Chairman, Indo-British Partnership Network along with other eminent speakers including Tom Riordan, CEO, Yorkshire Forward, Kamalesh Sharma, High Commissioner of India and Dr Amit Mitra, Secretary General FICCI.

Wiz Sabbas Joseph, Director Wizcraft spoke to the media about the Global Business Forum, “The IIFA has always striven to bring forth issues that affect the world at large, the eighth IIFA Awards in Yorkshire aims to highlight the issue of global warming and climate change through the Idea IIFA Awards campaign and the FICCI- IIFA Global Business Forum”. Mr. Y.K.Modi, Past President, FICCI and Chairman of Great Eastern Energy Corporation said, “The Global Business Forum will endeavour to promote bilateral trade between India and the UK, bringing together CEOs, business leaders, government officials and policy makers to discuss opportunities for India and Britain. The relationship that India has with Britain is already at an advanced stage. India is the second largest investor in Britain currently and we look forward to the business forum providing further impetus to trade and increasing investment opportunities.”

Day two of the IIFA Weekend in Yorkshire- Headingley Carnegie Stadium will witness the IIFA Foundation Celebrity Cricket Match. The IIFA celebrity team will combine Asia’s cricketing greats with A-list stars from the Indian film fraternity, playing against a UK celebrity cricket team. Applauded by fans of cricket and cinema alike, proceeds from the match will be donated to the IIFA Foundation. Acting legend and IIFA Brand Ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan, will inaugurate the match, before being joined by celluloid superstars Salman Khan and Shilpa Shetty for the toss of coin. Jest-filled commentary will be provided by actors Chunky Pandey and Boman Irani, with special commentary by Preity Zinta and Urmila Matondkar, on hand to mark their signature elegance on proceedings.

Captained by sultry pin-up boy Saif Ali Khan, the IIFA celebrity team will boast the cricketing prowess and power of cricket legend Kapil Dev, Mohammed Azharuddin, Ajay Jadeja, Rakyesh Mehra, Shaan, Emran Hashmi, Sohail Khan, Dino Morea, Fardeen Khan, Sunny Deol, Bobby Deol, Aftab Sivdasani, Tushar Kapoor, Arshad Warsi, Boman Irani, Hrithik Roshan, Chunky Pandey, Abhishek Bachchan, Kunal Kapoor, Zayed Khan, Suneil Shetty, Riteish Deshmukh, Anil Kapoor and Abhishek Bachchan, will also be a part of this star -studded line-up.

The Yorkshire XI comprises Phil de Freitas, Gladstone Small, Devon Malcolm, Jay Sean, Robin Smith, Mark Chapman, Nick Hancock, MPs Ed Balls and Shahid Mallik among other celebrities.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Amitabh Bachchan said. “As always this year too the IDEA IIFA Awards will be held in the presence of global audiences including dignitaries from the world of cinema, business, politics and sports among others. The weekend spectacular, to be held in the picturesque locale of Yorkshire will include a host of exhilarating events like the IIFA World Premiere, IIFA Foundation Celebrity Cricket Match & the FICCI- IIFA Global Business Forum and the IDEA IIFA Awards. I am in particular delighted about visiting the city of Yorkshire once again and the celebrity cricket match, which I definitely believe is going to be a clash of the titans. May the best team win”

The IIFA Weekend is conceptualized and promoted across the world by Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. While IDEA has committed itself to sponsorship of the IDEA IIFA Awards and the Global Business Forum for the second successful year, this year’s IIFA celebrations will also be unique as two lucky winners will be chosen from the 10 short-listed nominees announced today. The journey of the two selected winners will be shown through a reality show on Star TV.

The IIFA Weekend fever has already gripped the beautiful locale of Yorkshire. Judith Donovan, Chairman, Yorkshire Tourist Board expressed, “There’s real excitement here as several fans of Indian cinema are thrilled about the IIFA Weekend. Yorkshire has an outstanding reputation for hospitality and we’re looking forward to welcoming a whole new set of guests -- the Indian film fraternity and Indian business leaders. We are also organising a fantastic IIFA ‘Fringe Festival’ during the IIFA weekend. There will be melas, theatre, music, fashion, shopping and food festivals and much more celebrating our cultural links with India”

The events of the IIFA Weekend are expected to boost tourism in the host region Yorkshire by more than £9.5m and attract 30,000 extra visitors from all over the world. More than 500 luminaries from the Indian film industry will travel to the region for this spectacular event along with some of the world’s best-known international celebrities. The event will be broadcast globally by STAR TV to reach nearly 500 million viewers in 110 countries.

The IIFA Weekend is supported by Yorkshire Forward, Yorkshire Tourist Board and Yorkshire Culture its media partner Star TV, Education partner Leeds Metropolitan University, charity partner Oxfam and Global Cool with whom the IIFAs will synergize to create an IIFA legacy.