We went to the Oscars of Bollywood, a 5-hour extravaganza of glamorous stars, glitzy dances, and 25,000 crazed fans

Get the Full StoryNEW YORK — It was a night of glitz and glamour at the MetLife Stadium on Saturday, as the sporting venue — home of the New York Jets and the New York Giants — transformed into a colorful carnival for the International Indian Film Academy's IIFA annual awards ceremony.

The IIFA Awards, also known as the Oscars of Bollywood, are held at a new international destination every year, with New York City technically New Jersey playing host for the first time. It was the second time that the awards came to the US, however, with Tampa being a venue back in 2014.

For the uninitiated, the Indian film industry is the largest in the world, producing between 1,500 and 2,000 films a year in more than 20 languages. It is expected to reach over 3.7 billion in revenue by 2020, according to a study by Deloitte.

Bollywood is the colloquial name for the Hindi film industry, which dominates the Indian film industry and contributes 43 of its revenue. It gets its name from its center and birthplace, the city of Mumbai, previously called Bombay.

You may think you got a taste of Bollywood from the 2008 production "Slumdog Millionaire," but the British drama doesn’t even come close. Bollywood films are three hour-long extravaganzas, with an eclectic mix of dance, music, and high-octane drama.

Saturday’s event was nothing less — a five-hour fest replete with sets of awards, energetic dance performances, and stand-up comedy acts. IIFA itself was a four-day event beyond the awards ceremony, featuring a music concert IIFA Rocks and a fashion show at Times Square among a whole host of other activities.

Here's what it was like: Bollywood has a burgeoning global audience. The MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, looked less like a sporting venue and more like a concert one this weekend, with over 25,000 people attending, according to stadium staff.


Hundreds of fans thronged the MetLife Stadium from mid-afternoon onwards on Saturday to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars. Here, fans eagerly wait for Bollywood actors and actresses to arrive and walk the green carpet IIFA's environmentally-friendly version of the red carpet.

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IIFA aims to celebrate Indian cinema, and take it to the world. It's not a surprise then, that it partners with global Indian icons to take its mission forward. Award-winning Michelin starred Indian chef Vikas Khanna was one such icon in attendance on Saturday.


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