Do you know who Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan are? How about Shah Rukh Khan? Priyanka Chopra? Katrina Kaif?
If you're not familiar with some of the biggest names in the world of cinema, then it's time to brush up on your Hindi film knowledge. And fast.
Bollywood's glitterati have been arriving in Vancouver since April 1, with over 100 celebrities scheduled to gild our fair city for the inaugural Times of India Film Awards.
TOIFA spokesperson Laura Ballance told the Georgia Straight by phone that demand for ticket sales for the awards ceremony on Saturday (April 6) has been so high (initially selling out in the first hour) that the configuration of the awards stage at BC Place had to be readjusted three times in order to accommodate more audience seating.
Only limited tickets are available for the awards ceremony but good seats are still available for the PNE Musical Extravaganza at the Pacific Coliseum on Thursday (April 4), which will feature the likes of Hard Kaur, Mohit Chauhan, and Shiamak Davar performing Bollywood music and dance numbers.
An invite-only technical awards ceremony will be held on Friday (April 5). The promised screenings of Hindi films at various B.C. multiplexes on Friday (April 5) remain unconfirmed.
Unlike the International Indian Film Academy Awards (which were held in Toronto in 2011), Ballance pointed out that the TOIFA is more equivalent to Peoples' Choice Awards, with global fan-based voting determining the winners. The awards will be broadcast to an estimated 300 million people.
The B.C. government announced in January that it would be spending $11 million on the awards.
On March 15, the Times of India Group sent out a news release, denying that the event was timed to take place prior to the provincial election in response to a request from the British Columbian government. They stated that the event was scheduled to avoid conflict with the Indian awards season.
Ballance said that efforts to hold a satellite event in Surrey were cancelled when they were only able to find a private facility with a capacity of 950 people. "In a city the size of Surrey of half a million people, that would not actually constitute a true community event."
She noted that overall, they've received crosscultural and international interest, with visitors arriving from the U.S., Europe, and Australia.
"I personally think that it's very exciting for the city to be hosting this calibre of events, and to be seen as the place where arguably the greatest movie stars, regardless of Bollywood versus Hollywood, can come and be honoured," Ballance said.