Melbourne hopes to host next Bollywood awards show

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The Independent Culture

Toronto beat out Las Vegas to become the first North American city to host the 12th annual Indian International Film Awards, which kicked off on Thursday, and now Melbourne is vying to be next.

A delegation from Australia attended the opening of the three-day Bollywood extravaganza that is expected to attract some 40,000 tourists to Canada's largest metropolis.

Officials said they would inject tens of millions of dollars into the local economy for hotel rooms, food, security, venues and other expenses.

Also, Indian film crews reportedly shot scenes at the CN Tower, Toronto's ritzy Yorkville shopping district and an indoor hockey rink that will be incorporated into the three-hour awards show.

"Beautiful people having fun in Toronto - that's the money shot that will be seen all over India," former Tourism Toronto executive director Duncan Ross, who spearheaded the city's bid for the IIFA show back in 2006, told AFP.

Melbourne, he said, is hoping to play host to the IIFA in 2014 or sooner.

The event is designed to celebrate the popular Hindi-language film industry and win new audiences abroad.

Launched in 2000 at the Millennium Dome in London, the annual IIFA awards have been held in 11 cities around the world, including Colombo, Macau, Bangkok, Dubai, Amsterdam and Johannesburg.

Tickets sold like hot cakes for this year's ceremony at the Rogers Centre in Toronto; 22,000 were snapped up within minutes of going on sale, said organizer Wizcraft International Entertainment.

Canadian broadcaster Omni Rogers has signed a deal to be the first to broadcast the awards ceremony on a pay-per-view basis in Canada. It will also be packaged and broadcast next month to up to 700 million viewers worldwide.

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