It’s official: Bollywood IIFA awards won’t be coming to NepalNepali officials confirmed Friday that the deal has broken down just weeks after the prime minister said he was committed to hosting the awards.
It’s official. The 2019 International Indian Film Academy Awards will not be taking place in Kathmandu.
A last-ditch effort by two sides to broker a deal to host the awards was unsuccessful, confirming that the glitzy Bollywood awards ceremony would not be taking place in Nepal, according to the Nepal Tourism Board and the Visit Nepal 2020 Secretariat, both involved in negotiations with Wizcraft International Entertainment, the event organiser.
“Though we have not announced it publicly, the deal has broken down,” Deepak Raj Joshi, CEO of the Nepal Tourism Board, which was tasked with hosting the awards, told the Post. “The organisers are now looking at alternatives like China, Dubai and Mumbai, but we do not know where they will hold the event.”
Plans to host the IIFA awards were heavily criticised by both political actors and the public after it came to light that the Nepal Tourism Board would be providing over $4.5 million to Wizcraft to bring the awards to Kathmandu. While the KP Sharma Oli administration had touted the awards’ potential for tourism promotion, many questioned the lack of tangible outcomes, citing IIFA’s history in Sri Lanka.
Responding to the backlash, the International Relations Committee of the federal parliament had directed the government to withdraw the decision to host the event on the grounds that it did not serve the nation’s interest.
Despite all the controversy, Oli, on July 5, said that he was committed to hosting the awards, saying that the parliamentary instruction to the government was based on rumours.
Prompted by Oli’s assurance, the Tourism Board had continued negotiations with Wizcraft, which even held meetings with political leaders from the ruling party to save the deal.
Repeated attempts to reach Wizcraft for comment were unsuccessful, but sources familiar with developments told the Post that preparations were already underway to hold the awards in Mumbai.
Suraj Vaidya, the coordinator of the Visit Nepal 2020 Secretariat, confirmed that the awards were “possibly” not going to happen in Kathmandu this time around.
“We have lost a big opportunity to promote the country and our tourism,” said Vaidya. “This is a huge loss for the country.”
Without making reference to the controversy, Vaidya blamed logistics for the cancellation of the IIFA awards. The rains had put a damper on building the infrastructure required to host the event, which would see over 5,000 guests, according to Vaidya.
“We also couldn’t allocate the required 74 business class tickets to Bollywood guests and participants as Nepal Airlines had just 18 business class seats available,” said Vaidya.
Other conditions, like providing television rights to Nepali channels, and the involvement of the Nepali private sector throughout the event, the shooting of 10 advertisements to promote Nepal’s tourism, had been agreed to between the two sides, according to Vaidya, but logistics and security issues ultimately intervened.
“We will try to host the event next year,” he said.
What do you think?
Dear reader, we’d like to hear from you. We regularly publish letters to the editor on contemporary issues or direct responses to something the Post has recently published. Please send your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Letter to the Editor" in the subject line. Please include your name, location, and a contact address so one of our editors can reach out to you.