HYDERABAD: It’s time for glitz, glamour and extravaganza to take centre-stage as some of south India’s finest actors and stars will assemble in Hyderabad for the inaugural IIFA Utsavam. Stardust will be constantly flowing at the two-day event will witness performances from top stars including Ram Charan, Akhil, Shriya Saran, Tamannaah, Taapsee, Mamta Mohandas, Adah Sharma, among others.
The event, which was initially scheduled during the first week of December was postponed due to the devastating floods in Chennai. The organisers have announced that the inaugural IIFA Utsavam will be held as a fundraiser for the recent Chennai floods.
During the award ceremony, special honors will be presented to matinee idols like Dr Akkineni Nageshwar Rao and Dr D Rama Naidu for their work in Telugu cinema and K Balachander and M S Viswanathan for his contribution to the Tamil film industry. Other personalities to be felicitated for their contribution to cinema are Siddalingaiah for Kannada and TE Vasudevan for Malayalam cinema, the organisers have announced.
Despite unlimited glamour on display, the organisers of IIFA Utsavam along with its stakeholders have raised over Rs.1 crore for the victims of flood-ravaged Chennai as part of their campaign ‘Be One For Chennai’.
“It was unfortunate that we had to reschedule the event from December because of the floods in Chennai. We had lost a lot of money but we managed to raise over Rs. 1 crore with the help of our corporate sponsors,” said Andre Timmins, director, IIFA Utsavam.
The stars, on their part, are equally excited to take part in the award ceremony and cannot wait to get up on stage. “It’s the first time I’ll be performing at the IIFA awards so I’m naturally very excited. We are having a blast at the rehearsals and the event promises to be a spectacle,” says an excited Adah Sharma.
Telugu stars faced an uncomfortable situation while trying to raise funds for their ‘Mana Madras Kosam’ fund raiser. Stars like Rana Daggubati, Lakshmi Manchu and Kajal Aggarwal were mobbed by eager fans, who were more interested in taking selfies rather than raising money for the Chennai floods. When asked if the cause gets diluted in the presence of big stars, Adah Sharma clarifies, “Well with big stars coming together, we can certainly raise awareness towards the cause. How much funds we can raise in the process is beyond our control, but we’re all very enthusiastic and excited about this event and no matter what, I think we will succeed in raising awareness for sure.”
With film personalities like Aamir Khan and Ram Gopal Varma dismissing award ceremonies as entertainment shows, rather than recognising talent and hard work. Adah, however, feels there’s nothing wrong in providing the audience with a much-needed dose of entertainment.
“Why is it such a bad thing if it is an entertainment show. As actors, we try our best to entertain the audience, be it through our movies or performances. So I don’t think there’s anything wrong in entertaining the audience at award shows,” she adds.
Actress Tamannaah too, shares her excitement about the first ever IIFA awards in the south.
“IIFA is a huge award that we’ve been having in Hindi. This is the first time we’re doing it in the South so I’m looking forward to giving it a warm welcome here. Let them get a little bit of our flavour,” says Tamannaah, who would also be setting the stage on fire with a dance performance for the mega event.
Actors Allu Sirish and Regina Cassandra will be hosting the event, which will be attended by a galaxy of stars including Kamal Hassan, Chiranjeevi, Mahesh Babu, Akkineni Nagarjuna, Daggubati Venkatesh, Allu Arjun among others.
The first edition of Fortune Sunflower Oil IIFA Utsavam, organised by the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), will take place in the city between January 24-25.
(with agency inputs)