There is no change in the venue of the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, which will be held in Colombo June 3-5, the organisers said on Saturday, refuting reports of pressure from the Tamil film lobby to shift the event out of the Sri Lankan capital.
"We are not under any pressure. There is no change in the venue and we are going ahead with the schedule," Mr Sabas Joseph, one of the directors of Wizcraft that organises the gala, told IANS. "If Indian cricketers can play in Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan players can come to India to play T20 matches, why can’t we go there? It is just another way of bridging the gap," he said. There were reports that the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce Association had threatened to boycott Bollywood stars who attend the IIFA programme. According to the reports, they wanted the venue to be shifted out of Sri Lanka following allegations of a genocide against Sri Lankan Tamils during the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and continuing discrimination against them. Director Mani Ratnam and actor Arjun Rampal have, meanwhile, said that they won’t be attending the Colombo event due to other professional commitments. Actor Aishwarya Rai too won’t be attending the IIFA, her spokesperson had said.