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IIFA denies that its next awards ceremony will be hosted in Nepal

The organization said Nepal was still only in consideration as a destination and hinted that it might seek legal recourse against the government of Nepal for the premature announcement.


Shriram Iyengar

The International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) has issued a statement clarifying that the host destination of the 20th IIFA awards ceremony has not yet been decided.

The statement comes after the government of Nepal prematurely announced its willingness to host the event, resulting in criticism from opposition parties and film bodies in Nepal. 

In its statement, IIFA said, "...several countries and picturesque destinations are in the consideration set. While there have been several unconfirmed stories coming from Nepal about the Himalayan nation being the chosen one, the IIFA management would like to confirm that while Nepal is one of the destinations being considered, no final decision has been taken so far." 

IIFA is one of the more popular and extravagant award ceremonies in the Hindi film industry. In 2018, IIFA held the awards ceremony in Thailand, with most of the Hindi film industry present for the event.

The IIFA statement comes days after the Nepalese government endured criticism for its announcement of being ready to host the event. On 20 June, the cabinet approved a proposal to host the event in Nepal.

However, the decision came in for severe criticism from the international relations committee (IRC) of the Nepalese parliament. In addition, groups of Nepalese cinema workers and the opposition Communist Party of Nepal criticized the decision to host such an expensive and glamorous event in the country.

This led to the house committee issuing a directive to stop work on the event. In a media statement, Nepal Tourism Board's chief executive officer Deepak Raj Joshi said, "It won't be held this year. If we are competent enough in terms of infrastructure, it will be possible some time in the future." 

This contradicts IIFA's statement which said the country remains on the list of possible destinations. 

In its statement, IIFA also said, "Looking at the compelling benefits, several countries and destinations are always interested in hosting the IIFAs. Over the last 19 years over 14 unique cities, 12 different countries and four continents have had the privilege of hosting the glamour-studded IIFA which is rich in business opportunities. In its 20th year, IIFA remains the most sought-after annual event by tourism and economic policy makers to boost their economies." 

Andre Timmins, director, Wizcraft International, the producers and creators of the IIFA movement, said, “Over the years, IIFA has established multiple tangible and intangible benefits along with tremendous positive impact for the host destinations, including tourism increase, business and trade, short- and long-term economic impact, destination marketing and film-shooting commitments, to name a few. As a result of the positive achievements and results in previous destinations, countries bid for IIFA and we receive invitations to explore global cities for consideration every year. Nepal was just one of the countries bidding for IIFA in 2019 and IIFA had not yet confirmed Nepal as the host for our 20th edition."

Timmins added that IIFA will be considering legal recourse against the Nepalese government for its decision to make the announcement before IIFA's official statement.

"IIFA is not responsible and has not been involved in any of the recent media activity relating to Nepal and does not endorse any event details provided," the director said. "Any speculation being made by the media has been as a result of the Nepal Tourism board and KMC going ahead without due authority and permission to speak about our global brand IIFA coming to Nepal.

"This has been in spite of IIFA brand regulations barring them to speak publicly about the discussions until the bid submission made by them is reviewed, assessed and formally accepted by IIFA with legal contracts being exchanged. In view of the recent events, since IIFA had not confirmed Nepal as the official host destination, we will be taking a legal stance on this matter.”

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