Bollywood actors (L-R) Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Shahid Kapoor react during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
Bollywood actors (L-R) Katrina Kaif, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan and Shahid Kapoor react during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

New York: All set to burn the stage with her sizzling performance at the 18th IIFA Awards in New York this year. Salman Khan, Anupam Kher, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Katrina Kaif, Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon and Sushant Singh Rajput apart from DJ Dwayne Bravo set the pace for the IIFA celebrations here.

The fans sporting colourful ‘pagdis’ and a family of three flaunting T-shirts reading “Shah Rukh’s fan”, “Salman’s fan” and “Aamir’s fan” — the excitement level was unprecedented as they welcomed the celebrities for the kick-off press conference here on Thursday evening at the Sheraton hotel.

Performance
IIFA-2017 will also witness stunning performances from stars like Shahid Kapoor, Sushant Singh Rajput and Kriti Sanon and others and will be hosted by Karan Johar.

Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan performs during IIFA Stomp in the Times Square on July 13, 2017 to kick off the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival in New York. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
Bollywood actor Varun Dhawan performs during IIFA Stomp in the Times Square on July 13, 2017 to kick off the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival in New York. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

Hollywood stars attends IIFA
Besides Bollywood celebrities, several Hollywood stars have also been part of IIFA, including Angelina Jolie, action star Jackie Chan, Australian pop-star Kylie Minogue, British actor Colin Firth, Hollywood stars Hillary Swank, Kevin Spacey and John Travolta.

Nomination list
Alia has been nominated for the Best Actress category for ‘Udta Punjab’ and ‘Dear Zindagi’ opposite to actresses like Sonam Kapoor for ‘Neerja’, ‘Anushka Sharma for ‘Ae Dille Mushkil’ and Taapsee Pannu for ‘PINK’.

Alia Bhatt is excited, but also nervous for her debut IIFA

Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor (R), Alia Bhatt (C) and Katrina Kaif (L) dance during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor (R), Alia Bhatt (C) and Katrina Kaif (L) dance during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

Alia Bhatt, who has collaborated with the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) for the first time this year, can’t hold on to the excitement and nervousness of her debut performance on the award night. Speaking at the press conference about the IIFA Awards 2017, the 24-year-old actress said, “I have not been a part of the IIFA till today and I feel like everything happens for a reason. It had to be when I was in New York. It had to be in front of all you beautiful people. And, it had to be in the year I was nominated for two films. So genuinely, it is really special,” she added.

Katrina hopes Alia wins best actress trophy

While talking to the media at IIFA Press Conference here, the 33-year-old actress said, “It’s amazing to be here in New York. It is amazing to be here for IIFA and part of this amazing show. I’m just trying to do my best and I hope I have the support of audience,” she added.

Appreciating the work of ‘Dear Zindagi’ actress, the ‘Baar Baar Dekho’ star said, “I hope that Alia wins both of the trophies, so she can give one to me as charity.”

Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt (R) hugs Katrina Kaif as she speaks while actor Varun Dhawan looks on during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt (R) hugs Katrina Kaif as she speaks while actor Varun Dhawan looks on during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

Shahid on ‘Udta Punjab’ IIFA nomination
‘Udta Punjab’ has been nominated in seven categories for this year’s International Indian Film Academy Awards. Shahid Kapoor is nominated in the Best Actor category for IIFA for his portrayal of drug-addicted rockstar Tommy Singh in ‘Udta Punjab’, says it was a ‘brave’ film to be made. He said, “I am very proud of ‘Udta Punjab’ as a film. It’s great that a film which was so experimental and so different is getting so much love, so much appreciation. Almost every award function, there are so many categories which have ‘Udta Punjab’ in it.”

Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor speaks to fans during IIFA Stomp in the Times Square on July 13, 2017 to kick off the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival in New York. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
Bollywood actor Shahid Kapoor speaks to fans during IIFA Stomp in the Times Square on July 13, 2017 to kick off the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival in New York. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

He further added: “It was really brave of Abhishek Chaubey to make such film. It was a difficult film for mainstream actors like me, Alia Bhatt, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Diljit Dosanjh also. Sometimes being brave gives you great results.”

Anupam Kher on IIFA
While expressing love for the IIFA, Anupam Kher thanked IIFA for giving Indian cinema an international platform and a place where all actors get together despite of their busy schedules. While talking to ANI on IIFA completing 18 years, the 62-year-old said, “Today I completed 18 years along with IIFA. They have given Indian movies an international platform and the love. The three-day-event at IIFA is a lot of fun as we meet a lot many people and get together because usually we all don’t get time to meet due to our busy schedules.”

Bollywood actor Salman Khan (L) smiles as Anupam Kher speaks during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York, on July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
Bollywood actor Salman Khan (L) smiles as Anupam Kher speaks during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York, on July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

Salman sings ‘Happy Birthday’ for Katrina
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan sprang a surprise for Katrina Kaif when he sang the “Happy Birthday” song for the actress, who will turn a year older on Sunday.

Bollywood actor Salman Khan (C) greets actress Katrina Kaif (R) as Anupam Kher (L) and Varun Dhawan look on during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
Bollywood actor Salman Khan (C) greets actress Katrina Kaif (R) as Anupam Kher (L) and Varun Dhawan look on during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

Bravo at IIFA
At the conference, DJ Bravo also made the stars groove to a number that he sang live, and the fans cheered for the Bollywood celebrities by shouting “Chal beta selfie le le re”, “We love you Salman” and “Alia, you’re the best”. Salman, in his typical style, said: “Chup baith jao… Awaaz lag rahi hai kaan mein. Love you too.”

West Indies cricketer Dwayne Bravo (L) is joined by Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput (C) and actress Kriti Sanon as he signs during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS
West Indies cricketer Dwayne Bravo (L) is joined by Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput (C) and actress Kriti Sanon as he signs during a press conference ahead of the 18th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Festival, in New York City July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / ANGELA WEISS

I share great comfort, chemistry with Sushant, says Kriti Sanon

Kriti Sanon is all set for her debut performance at the 18th IIFA awards and says she is extremely ‘excited’ to perform with her ‘Raabta’ co-star Sushant Singh Rajput. Sharing her excitement with ANI post the IIFA Press Conference, the 26-year-old said, “I have never done a couple act before. After doing ‘Raabta’ and another music video together, I share great comfort and chemistry with Sushant.”

She further said, “It’s great that IIFA is going live. Mostly the snippets are already out before the main event is aired, so this time I think it will be nice when people will not know who is actually winning which award.”

Sushant Singh on perfromance in IIFA

He said, “I have been performing in songs with Kriti for a while now but on stage, yes, for the first time. She is a great dancer. I am really nervous that IIFA is live this year because that I means I can’t screw up!”

The award show will be exclusively aired live on Colors channel on July 16.

(input from Ani and IANS)

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