Thursday, 7 May 2009

IIFA Awards 2009 Press Conference at the Grand Hyatt, Mumbai - MACAU, HERE WE COME!

exclusive by Devansh Patel

IIFA 2009 Press meet and host city announcement:

Let me start from the end. This is what our sweet Big B had to say to the CEO of The Venetian Resort Hotel, Mr Weaver, who play the host for the IIFA 2009, “This press conference is normally held after the press conference in the host country but having said that, we want to thank Mr Weaver for extending his hospitality. You were a little while ago when we met in your room a little conscious about some of the waiters entering your room and removing all your drinks. You were rather surprised about that but for your information, this is election time in our country and there is some kind of a decree where alcohol is not supposed to be served and I hope you don't reciprocate this when we go to The Venetian.” Coming back to the starting point, on arriving at the Grand Hyatt Lawns last evening, it felt like I was a guest in some wedding reception. A lavish welcome in times of recession. Starters included kebabs, pepper tarts, tandoor paneer, cheese balls and fish balls. The Mumbai media was present in plenty with their individual special invites, and after nearly an hours wait, which is again quite common in this part of the world, the host for the evening, one of the three Wiz kids – Sabbas Joseph takes control of the podium to observer a two minute silence for the Late Mr Feroz Khan, a flamboyant actor of our Indian Film Industry who passed away couple of days back. Then the much waited announcement. The name of the city which was going to host the 2009 IIFA Awards Weekend. It was MACAU. But before the silence was observed and the announcement made, there was quite a bit of noise created by the organisers and the media as they played a quiz thrown open to us where we the media, had to answer some of the basic general knowledge questions pertaining to the safety of our planet. Get it right and you could win a gift hamper from one of the sponsors of IIFA, Panasonic. The quiz goes under way and all of a sudden you see the shutter bugs stand up in one go and click click click. The great grand ambassador of IIFA, Mr Amitabh Bachchan has arrived in style, as always. A pause in the proceedings but it resumes as soon as he settles down in his chair. What followed next was a complete transformation called 'Yamo Macau', which means, 'Let's go Macau' where the special performers from the beautiful city of China were flown in to infuse the taste of their merry land. After Sabbas, the CEO of Asia region for The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel had a few words to say till the moment we were all waiting for arrived in panache.

Big B on Late Mr Feroz Khan:

Mr Amitabh Bachchan took care of the proceedings with a sweet condolence. “It would be a little impertinent for me to say anything further without referring to the loss of one of our great members of our fraternity, Mr Feroz Khan. We lost him yesterday and we're all deeply grieved with this sad news. Feroz Khan was a very generous friend. Not just with the people he had association with but also to the entire film industry of India. In many respects, he was a pioneer in a lot of the work that he did. He had a certain style about him. There was a certain flamboyance in the way he not only conducted himself but in the way he made his films. And I have to say this that many of his films introduced the kind of flash and sophistication that was missing in the way we made our films. We deeply mourn his loss. Our prayers and condolences go to the members of his family who are also the members of our film fraternity”.

Big B on IIFA Macau:

“I am very grateful that I have yet another opportunity to represent this great organisation of IIFA in the tenth year in succession. What started off as just an idea for an evening to be spent outside Indian shores has now matured into not only a great representation of Indian films but of Indian culture, Indian thought, Indian business and the Indian intent. And the intent being to be able to carry forward our culture by building bridges with other communities and holding hands in an atmosphere of friendliness, entertainment and joint venture ship. I must thank the three gentlemen who initiated this idea to me ten years ago, Andre, Viraf and Sabbas. IIFA was something which had always excited me because on every trip of mine I made outside India, I noticed the amount of interest among non Indians and Indian cinema. I could be walking the streets of Paris and suddenly hear a voice calling out my name 'Vijay', the character name I've played in some of my films, or to be singing a song which I may have portrayed in one of my films. What's interesting is that they were not from my country, they were not my colour, they did not speak my language, but they spoke about Indian cinema and that was very surprising for me. That really prompted me to accept this form of taking an entire organisation out of India and to celebrate it in a region where there are many such people who know about Indian films. 2009 celebrates a decade of IIFA Magic and promises to be yet another enthralling experience to be held at The Venetian Macao. Macau is an excellent choice for IIFA's celebrations and we are excited to bring this grand event to this fabulous city.”

The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel:

Opened on August 28, 2007 and located on Cotai Strip of Macau – Asia's Las Vegas, The Venetian Macao Resort Hotel is a 10.5 million square feet with 3,000 suites mega resort featuring stunning replicas of the famous canals and architectural icons in Venice, Italy and also a recreation of the famous Venetian Resort Hotel Casino in Las Vegas. Twice the size of its sister property in Las Vegas, The Venetian includes a Renaissance Venice themed retail venue, international restaurants, a theater, an arena, upscale and gaming facilities that offer a unique Asian gaming experience and one of the largest convention, meeting and exhibition centres in Asia. There is spacious accommodation in luxurious suites, each 750 square feet or larger, with a private bedchamber, an oversized 130 square foot bathroom finished in Italian marble and a sunken living room.

The Casino and facilities:

The 550,000 square feet gaming floor includes approximately 3,000 slot machines which are specially designed for the Asian market and over 750 gaming tables featuring Baccarat, No Commission Baccarat, Money Wheel, Blackjack, Craps, Caribbean Stud Poker, Roulette, Fantan, Sic Bio, Three Card Poker, Three Card Baccarat and Casino War.The Cotai Arena with a seating capacity of 15,000 is the venue for the IIFA Awards Night. There is also a 1,800 seat ZAIA Theatre where the IIFA World premiere will take place. There is a spa and a wellness centre, authentic Italian gondolas and singing gondoliers in the three canals. The outdoor recreation facilities include swimming pools, golf course and cabanas

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