Moments before Deepika Padukone accepted her IIFA, she taught Kevin Spacey how to do the lungi dance. Courtesy: IIFA
Moments before Deepika Padukone accepted her IIFA, she taught Kevin Spacey how to do the lungi dance. Courtesy: IIFA

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — The countdown to India’s biggest, most extravagant and spectacular global celebration of cinema has begun, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) announced Wednesday that New York City will play host to the organization’s 18th edition of the IIFA Weekend and Awards festival.

The festival, one of the world’s most renowned and celebrated international events of cinema, will play out at the MetLife Stadium, home of the NFL’s New York Giants and New York Jets, on July 14 and 15.

This marks just the second occasion the festival has ventured its way to the states, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio spoke on the cultural and economic impact it would have on the people of his city and state. “We are thrilled to welcome IIFA to New York! Our city is home to both a thriving film industry and a dynamic, growing Indian American community,” he said in a press release.

“This is an event that will contribute enormously to both the cultural and economic life of our city. We welcome the artists and fans of Indian cinema, and encourage everyone to experience the rich cultural life across the five boroughs while celebrating these groundbreaking films.”

Since its inception, the IIFA has carried the mission of bringing together the biggest and brightest stars of Bollywood and Hollywood on one stage, creating a platform of exchange between two of the world’s most prolific film industries. The festival has introduced mainstream North American stars of cinema such as Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan and Kevin Spacey to Indian film enthusiasts abroad, and has brought such Bollywood stars as Priyanka Chopra, Shah Rukh Khan and Amitabh Bachchan to Americans.

This year’s festival will play host to some of the most celebrated stars of the Indian film industry, notable guests, and dignitaries from India and from across the region.

“We are honored that IIFA has chosen MetLife Stadium to host the 18th annual IIFA Awards and we look forward to welcoming the thousands of fans from around the world who will travel to New Jersey,” said the venue’s chief executive, Ron VanDeVeen, in a statement. “This global event offers us the incredible opportunity to host our first-ever awards show and to continue to showcase our region to an international audience.”