TAMPA — Organizers will bring Indian stars Priyanka Chopra and Anil Kapoor on a three-city U.S. tour next week to generate buzz and announce details about ticket sales for Bollywood's version of the Oscars this spring in Tampa.
An A-list star for Bollywood, Chopra has a reputation that extends well beyond India. She was named Miss World in 2000 and recently launched a pop music career. Her debut single, In My City, opened the NFL's Thursday Night Football in 2012. For a second single, Exotic, she collaborated with Miami rapper Pitbull.
Kapoor likewise is known outside of Indian cinema courtesy of his roles in movies and television shows such as 24, Slumdog Millionaire and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
On Tuesday, the stars will come to the Tampa Theatre for a news conference that organizers say will combine Bollywood glamor and local color, though it will not be open to the public. Similar events will take place Monday in Los Angeles and Wednesday in New York.
"The purpose is to create excitement on both coasts," said Santiago Corrada, president and CEO of Visit Tampa Bay, Hillsborough County's tourism marketing agency. "We're talking to a lot more people about this event than just people in Tampa."
The International Indian Film Academy's 15th annual Weekend & Awards is scheduled April 24-26. Organizers expect 30,000 or more visitors for a weekend of Indian film, fashion and culture.
"There will be music, dance and a whole lot of spice," Chopra said in a news release from IIFA. "We're looking forward to giving our fans and new audiences the experience of a lifetime."
On April 26, the arrival of stars on IIFA's trademark green carpet and the awards ceremony are expected to be televised from Raymond James Stadium to nearly 600 million viewers in 108 countries.
It's an event produced to appeal to a broad global audience, including in the United States. Past broadcasts predominantly have been in English, with musical numbers, brief bits of comedy and occasional remarks in Hindi.
This is the first time that IIFA's awards weekend, which goes to a different country every year, is being held in the United States. IIFA quoted Kapoor saying the event is "an iconic platform" for India's cinematic diaspora.
"On behalf of IIFA and the Indian film fraternity, we commit to give our audience an opportunity to witness one of the finest celebrations of culture and cinema," Kapoor said.
A big demand for tickets — plus concerns about the Tampa Bay area's warm and wet summer weather — prompted organizers to move up the awards weekend from mid June to April.
In advance of past awards, tickets went fast, selling out in less than 10 minutes for the 2011 awards in Toronto.
IIFA did not release information about individual event ticket sales Wednesday, but it has posted some prices for hospitality packages on its website, iifabuzz.com.
Those packages — geared toward a monied, international jet-set — top out at $25,000 per person for a "platinum" package that includes:
• Pickup and drop off between Tampa International Airport and the hotel, plus car service for all IIFA main events.
• Three nights at the official IIFA host hotel, the Hilton Tampa Downtown, lunch at the IIFA banquet area and dinner at post-party events.
• Special passes into IIFA activities, plus a dedicated chaperone assigned to help fans get into and around events.
• A photo opportunity with a top IIFA star.
• The chance to walk the green carpet with stars for the IIFA Rocks concert, the Magic of the Movies technical awards show and the main awards show, pre-event cocktails, seating in areas for stars, nominees and members of the film industry at all three events, and invitations to post-event parties, a film workshop, a two-day global business forum at the Tampa Convention Center and other events.
• A "gift hamper" with, among other things, a DVD collection of IIFA's "best film" nominees (expected to be announced in February), cosmetics, autographed souvenirs and a miniature awards trophy.
A gold package costs $17,500 per person and includes three nights at the Tampa Marriott Waterside Hotel & Marina, ground transportation, meals, a 10-person group photo with an IIFA star, event seats, chaperone service at events, green carpet access and post-event parties and a gift collection.
The silver package costs $10,000 per person and includes three nights at the Residence Inn Tampa Westshore, event seats, chaperone service, green carpet access, post-event parties and a gift collection.