The organisers of IIFA Utsavam along with its stakeholders have raised over Rs.1 crore for the victims of flood-ravaged Chennai as part of their campaign 'Be One For Chennai'.
The first edition of Fortune Sunflower Oil IIFA Utsavam, organised by the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA), will take place in Hyderabad between January 24-25.
"It was unfortunate that we had to reschedule the event from December because of the floods in Chennai. We had lost a lot of money; nevertheless we managed to raise over Rs. 1 crore with the help of our corporate sponsors," Andre Timmins, director, IIFA Utsavam, told IANS.
The event will celebrate and honour the best of talent across the four southern film industries.
It was earlier scheduled to be held last year, but had to be delayed due to the Chennai deluge. Now the proceeds from the ticket sales and donations from the event are being directed towards providing relief to the deluge victims.
Why did it take IIFA to venture into the southern market 16 years?
"There was always a plan but things quite never fell in place. We wanted to have something exclusive planned for southern cinema, because we know it's a big industry and it deserves more limelight. We're glad we could finally start something," Timmins said.
Explaining further, he said: "We didn't want to replicate what IIFA was doing in Bollywood. With such great talent in the south, we wanted reinvent and add more spunk."
This year, the focus will not just be on the award ceremony.
"We've created the FICCI-IIFA business forum where renowned Indian film personalities such as Kamal Haasan, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Anil Kapoor among others will participate. It's going to be the perfect synthesis of business and entertainment," he said.
"The southern stars have shown lot of encouragement. Without their support, we couldn't have pulled this off," said Timmins.
The next two editions of IIFA Utsavam will also take place in Hyderabad.
"Three years later, we plan to take it abroad. We also have plans to take it other southern cities like Chennai and Cochin," he said.