Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bollywood star Vidya Balan visits Tampa ahead of Indian film awards

TAMPA — Today will be the people's day, but Tampa's elite got a chance Thursday night to meet Bollywood royalty.

And they were dazzled.

"When you watch the reaction of people when they see her, you can tell: This is the real deal. This is a real A-list Indian movie star," Mayor Bob Buckhorn said of Bollywood actor Vidya Balan during an invitation-only reception at the Oxford Exchange.

Balan arrived in Tampa late Thursday afternoon on a media tour that already had taken her to New York and Houston.

Today, she will talk to more journalists, then head to Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park in downtown Tampa for a lunchtime public appearance.

The bay area expects more than 30,000 visitors during the 15th annual International Indian Film Academy's weekend and awards, scheduled from April 23-26.

The weekend culminates with IIFA's signature green carpet and awards show at Raymond James Stadium. Tickets for the main awards show are selling for up to $3,295 each. Tickets for a second show, the Magic of the Movies & Technical Awards, go on sale Saturday through ticketmaster.com.

This is the first time IIFA has held the celebration in the United States, and organizers hope for a cross-cultural blossoming in India-U.S. trade, tourism and entertainment. At each stop, Balan is not only talking about the IIFA weekend but wants to introduce audiences to the richness of experience in Indian films.

"America is the second largest market for Hindi movies internationally, which is why it's apt that we have it here," Balan said. "There's wide variety within Indian cinema. I don't think people have been exposed to the variety, so you can't blame them for believing that Hindi films, Indian cinema is all about song and dance."

Balan has embraced that diversity in her own career. She has a reputation for taking on edgy roles, like the sex symbol who ultimately kills herself in the biopic The Dirty Picture. She also has been called a female hero, someone who can anchor and be the focus of a movie, rather than play a leading female alongside a well-known man. That's what she did in the blockbuster mystery-thriller Kahaani, where she was the best-known actor on screen and played a pregnant woman who gets vengeance for her husband's murder.

It's an approach that's working. Balan has won three IIFA awards in the last four years for best actress in a leading role and has served as a juror at the Cannes Film Festival. During the IIFA weekend, she'll conduct an acting workshop with Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey.

"For me, the definition of an actor is really someone who lives different people's lives each time," Balan said. "Today I'm being offered a great variety of roles and parts that are exciting, they're interesting, they're engaging, (and) with women at the center of the helm of affairs. Women-centric films, like Cate Blanchett said in her (Oscar) acceptance speech, are not really niche experiences. … A good film works."

From left, Judith Lisi, Vidya Balan and Dr. Pallavi Patel talk during a reception for Balan at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa on Thursday.

EVE EDELHEIT | Times

From left, Judith Lisi, Vidya Balan and Dr. Pallavi Patel talk during a reception for Balan at the Oxford Exchange in Tampa on Thursday.

.

What: Bollywood movie star Vidya Balan's appearance at Eat at Joe's lunch and concert series. Music, food, Bollywood dancers, temporary henna tattoos.

When: 12:15 p.m. Friday

Where: Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park, corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Pierce Street.

>>facts

If you go

What: Bollywood movie star Vidya Balan's appearance at Eat at Joe's lunch and concert series. Music, food, Bollywood dancers, temporary henna tattoos.

When: 12:15 p.m. today

Where: Joe Chillura Courthouse Square Park, corner of Kennedy Boulevard and Pierce Street.

Bollywood star Vidya Balan visits Tampa ahead of Indian film awards 03/13/14 [Last modified: Friday, March 14, 2014 10:20am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. A historic Tampa family saves a historic Tampa home built by an ancestor

    Human Interest

    The Knight family has replaced their roof and people are celebrating.

    The Peter O. Knight historical cottage, located in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood, is seen Thursday, July 20, 2017. The cottage fell into disrepair in recent years, but the Knight family stepped up with financial support to help stabilize the structure.
  2. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — An 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  3. In Twitter rant, Bucs' Gerald McCoy says he's unappreciated

    Bucs

    Gerald McCoy is feeling underappreciated again. He says somebody has crossed the line this time. He's speaking out and suggesting he might be gone "soon enough" from Tampa Bay.

    Photo Illustration RON BORRESEN   |   Photo by LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 
Gerald McCoy may be upset that Ronde Barber said a defensive leader “has to have a huge personality’’ like Warren Sapp’s. Monday, Barber walked that back.
  4. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  5. Photo gallery: Nine years later, library attack victim Queena works at learning to walk again

    Blogs

    Slowly, Queena Phu is learning the act of walking again through exercises in locomotion, strength and balance.
    She practiced her steps once again Monday afternoon with trainer-technician Mike Lopez at the nonprofit Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center near the University of South Florida.
    Queena …

    Activity based exercise trainer George Palang, 33, and trainer technician Mike Lopez, 22, help Queena Phu during physical therapy at the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center on Monday, July 24, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.