Bollywood’s biggest stars touch down in Vancouver for Times of India Film Awards

Published: April 1, 2013
The Bachchans

Bollywood glamour couple Aishwarya Rai Bachchan (blue coat) and her husband Abhishek Bachchan are escorted through B.C. Place Monday by acclaimed choreographer Shiamak Davar. The stars, in town for the TOIFA, surveyed the B.C. Place set and had a brief rehearsal after touching down in Vancouver earlier in the day. Submitted photo/Punjabi Sports/TOIFA

MIKE RAPTIS
VANCOUVER DESI 

The time is now for the Times of India Film Awards to make its presence felt in Vancouver.

Bollywood’s biggest stars began their descent on the Lower Mainland Monday, with glamour couple Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her husband, Abhishek Bachchan, arriving at Vancouver airport Monday afternoon.

The Bollywood A-listers had a short rest at a local hotel before going to B.C. Place Monday evening to survey the set, the facility and go through a brief rehearsal.

“We have stars that have just arrived and are starting to move to their hotels now,” said TOIFA media spokeswoman Laura Ballance of LBMG. “The excitement is definitely starting to build.”

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Tuesday will be a heavy day of arrivals for Bollywood celebrities, said Ballance, but the crunch for the three-day event — which begins Thursday — is already being felt by local car dealerships, restaurants and hotels.

Surrey Honda general manager Nasir Kamrudin says his car dealership was contacted by event organizers to put together a fleet of 15 new Honda CRVs to wheel around some of the celebrities, their families and TOIFA producers.

“The issue wasn’t about the cars as much as the timing and getting them all ready,” said Kamrudin. Kamrudin, who will be at the main event Saturday night at B.C. Place Stadium with his daughter, says the dealership will be giving away a Honda Civic to a lucky attendee in a draw as people find their seats.

“ … I think a lot of us are going to it, so we’re excited.”

Other Bollywood A-listers expected in Vancouver include Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Priyanka Chopra, among others.

Ballance says local limousine and private car companies are “booked solid” for the Saturday event.

“We have people coming in from Australia, the U.S., Europe, as well as from India,” she said.

Jose Madapillai, owner of Salam Bombay Indian restaurant in downtown Vancouver, said Monday his restaurant has seen tourist traffic from India increase over the last couple of years, but nothing like what TOIFA will trot out this week.

“It is going to be busy and we expect some exposure for Vancouver,” said Madapillai, who is bringing on extra staff to serve the surge in clientele. “Surely we’ll be seen all around the world.”

Up to 40,000 people are expected to be at B.C. Place as the red carpet gets rolled out Saturday, and over 6,000 workers and volunteers have been enlisted to handle the official TOIFA events.

mraptis@theprovince.com
twitter.com/mike_raptis


The Bachchans


Picture 1 of 9

Bollywood glamour couple Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her husband Abhishek Bachchan are escorted through B.C. Place Monday by acclaimed choreographer Shiamak Davar. The stars, in town for the TOIFA, surveyed the B.C. Place set and had a brief rehearsal after touching down in Vancouver earlier in the day. Submitted photo/Punjabi Sports/TOIFA


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