TAMPA — The awards known as the Bollywood Oscars have gone all over the world — Toronto, Bangkok, Singapore, Johannesburg — but tonight's IIFA Stomp is a first.
The Stomp will be a free, public music festival from 7 to 11 p.m. at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in downtown Tampa.
"I came up with this idea to actually just kick-start the party," said Viraf Sarkari, a director of the International Indian Film Academy's 15th annual Weekend & Awards. "We said, why don't we try to give the people of Tampa a great time and a flavor of Bollywood music and dance?"
On stage will be DJ Clement, DJ Aman Nagpal and DJ Ravidrums, known to fellow Chamberlain High graduates as Ravi Jakhotia. Listen for DJ Ravidrums on Do Da Tampa, a song he and music partner Craig Dobbin composed for IIFA.
Vendors will sell Indian food and beer. Officials expect a crowd of 4,000 to 6,000.
Officials do not plan to close roads or detour traffic, nor will there be a drop-off area along Ashley Drive or Gasparilla Plaza.
For $4, festival-goers can park at the William F. Poe garage at 802 N Ashley Drive or the Royal Regional Lot at 1240 N Tampa St. If those fill up, consider the Fort Brooke Garage, 107 N Franklin St., or Rivergate Tower Parking Garage, 400 N Ashley Drive.
To see a map of parking, visit tampagov.net/dept_Public_Affairs_NewsCenter/information_resources/files/IIFA_Map_Stomp.pdf
A pirate ship surprise?
IIFA awards shows are famous for their over-the-top special effects — actors are known to come into view suspended high above stage — and on Tuesday Sarkari hinted at a surprise in store for Saturday night's awards show.
During a look at IIFA's stage at Raymond James Stadium, a reporter asked, are you going to use the pirate ship in the Bucs' end zone?
"We will do a pirate ship," Sarkari said, "but not that one."
What, on stage?
Sarkari raised his hands to indicate the space above the field, then wiggled his fingers like a magician.
How are you going to do that?
"Surprise," he said.
This is certain: IIFA's production will be the most complex since U2 played the stadium in 2009, according to the Tampa Sports Authority.
The stage will be 140 feet wide, 80 feet deep, with 125,000 pounds of lights and suspended rigging and more than a dozen video screens of various shapes on, alongside and over the stage.
And Visit Tampa Bay president and CEO Santiago Corrada said events have shown that moving the awards show out of the smaller Tampa Bay Times Forum to RayJay was the right thing to do.
"All the decisions have been spot-on," he said. "Had we stayed in the Forum, we would have had the (hockey) playoffs. We wouldn't have been able to build that (stage) in the forum."
With production entering its final stages, the sports authority said Tuesday that RayJay's neighbors may hear loud noise until 11 p.m. every night through Friday as organizers test their systems.
The night of the show, which is expected to last 3 ½ to 4 hours, the noise could go on until 1 a.m.
Saif Ali Khan, Anil Kapoor draw a crowd
The green carpet at Tampa International Airport got more crowded and more noisy Tuesday with the arrivals of A-list stars Saif Ali Khan and Anil Kapoor.
"We are going to rock!" Kapoor shouted, whipping up nearly 200 Bollywood film fans. "We are going to give you the best time of your life."
Khan said he likes the "cultural give-and-take" of the IIFA awards.
"You get to see a little bit of what we're like and we get to enjoy one of the most lovely cities in the world," he said. "I was hoping to see a football game, actually."