Producer and CBFC chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani is not a fan of the International Indian Films Academy (IIFA) awards. In fact he says he has boycotted what he considers an “international farce” that lost its relevance when actor Amitabh Bachchan opted out of it in 2011.
He lashes out at this year’s nominations. “Look at the hypocrisy. They haven’t even nominated Aamir Khan for Dangal and Akshay Kumar for Airlift and Rustom just because they wouldn’t attend their weekend holiday plans masquerading as an awards function.”
Nihalani says many actors who were taken to New York did not even attend the awards events. “They were too tired after partying all night. What I want to know is, who is paying for this extravagance?”, asks Nihalani, and adds, “It is our foreign exchange being squandered as every top star is given tickets for his spouse, children, parents , ayahs, bodyguards, friends, friends of friends .…. I’ve heard stars are even given money to shop.Who is paying for all this? IIFA is selling Indian cinema to various countries and probably getting many financial benefits. But is the Indian government benefiting from this global event?”, he says.
Nihalani says he is dismayed to see senior individuals from Mumbai’s film industry being ridiculed at IIFA. “I think the day Mr Bachchan opted out, IIFA lost its dignity and relevance. In 18 years, how much global impact has Indian cinema made and what hand did IIFA have in this?”
Nihalani has also challenged IIFA’s claim of representing Indian cinema abroad. He says, “Initially we had cinema from various states getting token representation at the awards.Now we only have Bollywood. So why do they call themselves the International Indian films awards? It’s such a sham! Bollywood is not Indian cinema.”**