Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida
Florida News



Let’s hear it for Tampa Bay! In case you hadn’t heard the exciting news in Florida this summer, the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) has selected Tampa as the location for the 2014 awards, coming to the United States for the first time.

Put together by Wizcraft International Entertainment, the IIFA Awards started in 2000 and now spans a three-day weekend with more than 15 events, including film workshops, global business forum, fashion and music night, special celebrity event and the awards presentation ceremony. The IIFA Weekend & Awards will be held between the second week of June and July 6 but exact dates are not yet final. Proposed venues for IIFA events are Tampa Bay Times Forum, Florida State Fairgrounds and Raymond James Stadium.

The Tampa delegation included Al Higginbotham, left,
James Ransom, Chetan R. Shah and Santiago Corrada
on stage at IIFA 2013 in Macau.

“We are all hard at work planning so we that we can deliver a world-class event,” said Santiago Corrada, Visit Tampa Bay CEO and president.

The IIFA Awards have previously been held in London, South Africa, Singapore, Dubai and Toronto. To make their final pitch, a privately funded Tampa delegation attended the 2013 event in Macau. It included Hillsborough County Commissioner Al Higginbotham, Corrada, Visit Florida Vice President of Global Brand Susannah Costello, local organizer and Tampa Bay businessman Chetan R. Shah, among other officials and Indian American community members.

Busy with the planning, organizer Shah says, “I very humbly request the whole-hearted support of the entire Florida Indian community in all the activities leading up to IIFA weekend. It’s a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

More than 30,000 visitors are expected to attend the 15th annual awards and weekend. Television viewership of IIFA is nearly 800 million and hundreds of media representatives from around the world will be present. Corrada expects the security needs to be more than or greater than the Super Bowl.

Philanthropist and well-known businessman Dr. Kiran C. Patel is supporting the efforts to make the event a success. He is cautiously optimistic. “We are excited that Tampa has been picked for the IIFA awards,” he said. “But now we must focus on execution. We have around 10 months before the awards and that is a double challenge. We have to raise significant level of capital in a compressed period of time. So, our predominant challenge is sponsorship. We are talking of a $45 million budget.” While no city or state funds have been committed, last month Gov. Rick Scott met with key IIFA planners and expressed strong support for their efforts.

Leading up to the awards weekend, there will be several events called IIFA Buzz starting in late September this year. The purpose is to create awareness and bring the community together. These events include fashion shows, casino night, day cruise, multicultural concerts and cricket tournaments. Some activities will be fundraisers and others free. Special events will take place at Busch Gardens, Disney World, Universal Studios and the Florida Aquarium. Also, promotional activities are being planned with each of the Tampa Bay sports teams. The organizers expect to participate in the Gasparilla Festival, Plant City Strawberry Festival and the Florida State Fair.

The official Web site for the Tampa IIFA 2014 ( is still under construction but will be a source for event information and details.

Look for Khaas Baat to keep you informed of all the IIFA-related updates as they are announced. Join us on Facebook ( for late-breaking announcements.


At the Art Institute of Chicago, children speaking in American accents with matching orange T-shirts posed for photos and stood where the man they'd spent months studying, called for interfaith tolerance and understanding, said a recent article in the Chicago Tribune.

The occasion was a field trip. The event was National Dharma Bee contest. The contest was part of SV 150 celebrations, marking the 120th anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s trail blazing speech at the World Parliament of Religions in Chicago and the 150th birth anniversary of the famous Indian monk.

Dharma Bee, the first national contest of its kind in the U.S., which drew well over 3,000 children from around the country, concluded in Chicago on June 15. About 130 children short-listed from the regionals participated.

The Dharma Bee tested students' knowledge about Vivekananda and other Hindu leaders in a written test, oral presentation and team project. It included speech contest, poster presentation, written test and team activity in four age groups between grades K-8th grade.

Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh along with the Hindu Temple of Greater Chicago organized this final round broadcast worldwide at The first Hindu Congresswoman, Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, and Swami Ishatmananda ji of Vedanta Society Chicago were chief guests for the prize distribution at Hindu Temple Of Greater Chicago.

Following are winners in four categories:

  1. Group 1 Winners (KG-1st grade): First Place - Dhruti Kulkarni (Calif.), Second Place - Abhiram Kapaganty (Ga.) Third Place - Haindavi Veldanda (Calif.)
  2. Group 2 Winners (2nd-3rd): First Place - Nikitha Kota (Texas), Second Place - Balan Selva (N.J.), Third Place - Shashwat Srivatsan (N.H.)
  3. Group 3 Winners (4th-5th): First Place - Anuj Kothari (Calif.), Second Place - Medha Boddu (Va.), Third Place - Bhavna Ravichandran (N.C.)
  4. Group 4 Winners (6th-8th):

First Place - Natasha Patel (Texas), Second Place - Harshavardhan Nalam (Ill.), Third Place - Anshul Kale (Calif.)

Next event will be a daylong “Dharma and Yoga Fest” on Saturday, Sept 7 from 1 to 9 p.m. at Lyman High School (865 S. Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood). All other Dharma-centered groups from around Florida will participate. For details, visit and


YuppTV launches ‘Movie-on-Demand’ service for South Asians

YuppTV, an Over-The-Top Content (OTT) platform delivering 150-plus Indian TV channels, has expanded its portfolio with the launch of OTT Movie-on-Demand service with major production houses for South Asians on its platform. This move will provide the South Asian community across the world with an opportunity to watch their favorite movies.

Users can subscribe to a monthly package starting $4.99 or watch their favorite movies as pay-per-view on multiple Internet-enabled devices. YuppTV has also launched a special section of ‘Premiere Movies,’ where users will get new movies to watch as pay-per-view. These movies could be new films launched on the very same day or movies that are up to 15 days old.

Users can watch flicks on PCs, PS3 Consoles, Samsung/LG/Sony/Panasonic Smart TVs and blueray players, YuppTV dongle, Google TV, Boxee, WD TV Live, Netgear NTV200/300, iPhone/iPad, android phones/tablets, etc.

Global Takeoff Inc. is a global leader in providing converged OTT live TV and Video on demand Solutions. It is a 6-year-old company with its headquarters in Atlanta and having branch offices in the United States and India.

For more information, visit or call 1-866-663-7557.

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