Fall outs from the IIFA Awards ceremony and the Tamil diaspora
Posted on June 9th, 2010

Dr.P.A.Samaraweera, Australia

At a media conference held on 9th May on the IIFA Awards ceremony, the UNP and the JVP had raised the question about funding and had said that the govt. had squandered Rs. 600 million on the event. The Deputy Minister’s ( Econ. Development) reply had been that Rs.450 million were on much needed improvements to the Sugathadasa Stadium and the rest on groundwork events. So it was killing two birds with one stone, renovate the stadium without letting it fall to pieces and also accommodate the IIFA Awards ceremony.
 
Both the UNP and the JVP, had accused the govt. of spending money on unrewarding projects and that the event was a flop. According to Wiz Craft, the Indian organisers, the event was a success comparing the number of Indian Artistes who attended. They had argued that they did not expect every single Indian Film Artiste invited to attend. In other locations where the ceremony was held it had never worked out that way.
 
The other bidders for this event were S. Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and S. Africa who had better chances of getting the offer.
For these 4 countries there were no protests from the Tamil diaspora or the Tamil Nadu Film Industry. Despite the opposition, Sri Lanka was offered an opportunity to hold this unique event.
 
The Tamil diaspora and Tamil Nadu went all out first to get this revoked and then for a boycott of the event by film artistes with a threat that they would boycott the films of those who attended. The film artistes who boycotted did so out of compulsion by these 2 groups whose sympathies are with the LTTE, who are accused of killing Rajiv Gandhi.
 
The Tamil diaspora had hailed the Indian film artistes who boycotted the event and said that ‘they would suitably reciprocate their gesture at the appropriate time’. This is no surprise because the Tamil diaspora are well off.
 
The UNP and the JVP have also pressed that the country had not received any tangible benefits compared to the money spent. The arguments put forward against this are, displaying to the world that Sri Lanka has now a peaceful environment and is a safeground to hold international events, for business opportunities, tourism etc. It is estimated that nearly 600 million had viewed the celebrations. So the long run positive effects are greater.
 
It is also a big win against the Tamil diaspora who used their influence with humanitarian groups and other agencies to change the venue and pressurised the film artistes for a boycott.
 

The UNP and the JVP are crying for Rs. 600 million spent on the event and making a mountain out of a mole hill. The Tamil diaspora would have spent double this amount to stop the prestigious IIFA Award ceremony held in Sri Lanka and discredit the country. At the peak of the  LTTE rule their annual budget was estimated at US $ 300 million. Thefore, for the Tamil diaspora Rs. 600 million is peanuts.
 
The Wiz Craft has commented that the normal cost of holding the IIFA Award ceremony is about US$ 15 to 20 million. But Sri Lanka organised an excellent ceremony at a lower cost and applauded for doing so at short notice.

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