Friday, July 11, 2014

IIFA Awards 2014 - Day 5 - Tampa, FL

Dear Readers,

I hope you enjoyed the previous posts of IIFA Awards from Day 1 to Day 4!! I tried to give you my entire experience with few pictures here and there.  I hope it didn't bore you and you enjoyed reading it!!  Well, the IIFA festivities were over but the fun was far from being over :).  As I said in my previous post that my friend and I slept around 7/7:30 am in the morning, as much as we would have loved to sleep in, we had to wake up by 11 am to check out of our room :(.  We just can't catch a break!!!  Thankfully, my friend, V had her room for another day, so we grabbed everything from our room, dumped it in the bag and rushed to her room to drop it all off.  Checking the room one last time, returned the keys at the front desk and went back to V's room to relax for a bit.  Sunday wasn't really planned at all since it was going to be a relaxing day (nothing related to IIFA) and hanging out with friends.  V and I decided to call our friend K and planned to have lunch together.  On the other hand, Ka had her flight booked for the evening, so she had to make sure she packed everything before we left the room.  All 4 of us left to go to Hilton to pick up my friend K.  Little did we know, we ran into couple more celebrities at the hotel :).  We saw Ankit Tiwari again (singer), and also clicked few pics with Sonu Sood and music composer Ehsaan (from Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy trio).  It was fun!  We also caught Priyanka leaving the hotel.  I asked for a picture but it seemed she was in a rush to get to the airport, so she just shook hands with me.  Finally, after a round of celebrities leaving the hotel, we decided to give ourselves a break and get something to eat.

We went to an Indian store but it was closed so ended up going to the Taco Bus which is a great alternative anytime of the day!! It has vegetarian and vegan Mexican food options.  Food is definitely great! If you're ever in the area near Taco Bus, give it a try.  I am sure you will not be disappointed!  We sat down, chatted, had our food, and then decided to go to the famous Clearwater beach in Tampa.  In between, Ka decided to postpone her flight to the next day since we all were having good time so she decided to stay back with us and hang out.

We got to the Clearwater beach and it was beautiful!! I would recommend that whoever is in Tampa, do stop by this beach as you will enjoy thoroughly.  It's a beautiful beach with white sand and has great sunset as well!  We hung out at the beach until sunset and then headed back to my hotel to pick up my rental car and return it at the airport.  Even though I was staying until Monday morning, my friend was going to drop me off at the airport, so I had kept the rental only until Sunday night to avoid last minute rush to the airport.
Clearwater beach, Tampa, FL
We decided on an Italian restaurant for dinner and headed there which was kind of in the downtown area.  I forgot the name of the place but the food was good.  The weather was great so we sat outside in their porch area and had great coversation with the dinner.  Time really flies when you're having good time and it was already closed to midnight when we got out of there.  Ka, who had postponed her flight, booked a room in the same Hilton on the same 17th floor where the celebrities were staying.  She was able to get a room there for a good rate since almost everyone was gone by Sunday night.  It was our luck that she got her room right across from Ranveer Singh's room and then it was a hide & seek game for us to make sure that we pay close attention to when he comes and goes :P.  We were literally peeking through her room's peephole to keep a close eye on his room to see him and keeping a close attention to any noise made which indicated that he was coming or going....haha...it was crazy fun!!  Unfortunately we didn't get to see him from front, but I did see him from the back when he went in the room and when I went close to his room, his door was not closed all the way.  I was soooo tempted to go and knock on his door but couldn't do it :(.  For the rest of the night, in the hope of seeing him, we waited but that didn't happen.  Finally, we gave up at 2:30 am!!  I said bye to my friends, V, S, and Ka and headed to K's home and it was already 3 am.  I had an early morning flight where I had to wake up in 2 hours, so just got a short nap and K came to drop me off at the airport.

That was the end of my IIFA weekend!! Exciting, Amazing, Unpredictable, Unbelievable, and FUN FUN FUN!! It was an experience of lifetime which I will never forget and it'll always be memorable!!  I can't thank enough to my friend K for convincing me to come to IIFA and helping out with everything....now I am back to normal routine, but the IIFA fever had not gone down until after a month of IIFA event.  I guess it has that effect on everyone who was part of it.

I hope you enjoyed this journey of IIFA with me as I was writing it after a month.  I got a chance to re-live the moments as I was penning it down on these posts :)

Hope you all have a great day!!  Enjoy :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

IIFA Awards 2014 - Day 4 - April 26, 2014, Saturday

John Travolta @ IIFA Awards 2014
Lots of excitement of IIFA was finally coming to a finale!!  It was the last day of IIFA events with the main IIFA Awards show being held in the Raymond James Stadium!!  My friend and I got ready to head to the Hilton. By this day, it had become an everyday thing to head to Hilton after getting ready...:).  The two main events planned in Hilton was the press conference with John Travolta and IIFA Master Class Panel with Kevin Spacey but the latter one was invite only whereas the John Travolta press conference was open to the media.  We went in the room and found a spot to stand (it was already packed with people) and waited for John to arrive.  The press conference went well and got a hint that he might be performing in the evening show...well, that's certainly something to look forward to!!  Soon after, there was a press conference for Nawazuddin Siddiqui where he was interviewed by few media people.

IIFA Awards 2014 Crowd @ Raymond James Stadium
The original plan for the day was to get the evening clothes with us to the Hilton so we didn't have to go back to the hotel to change and get ready.  Keeping this in mind, my friend and I both packed our clothes to take with us to save time in the evening.  It turned out that I brought everything except my ticket for the IIFA Awards. I had to go back to the hotel, get ready at the hotel and then head to the stadium.  This took a lot of time which meant finding a parking spot much further than the closer parking lot :(.  When I got there, it was completely packed with zillion people!!! There was no room to squeeze in and on top of that it was burning hot....must be 85 to 90 degrees!!  I was not on media side since my friend stayed at hilton and left from there whereas I left from our hotel room to the stadium so it was hard to find her but I eventually got in touch with her and she was able to take me to the media side since she had my badge with her.  Even after going to the media side, the actors had not started arriving, so I just relaxed a bit (standing, of course) and waited for the show to begin!!  Before I got busy, I did snap a pic as a memory to see how crazy crowded it was at the stadium.

Farhan Akhtar & Shahid Kapoor @ IIFA Awards 2014
I am not going to post any green carpet pics of the IIFA Awards as there are waaay too many, but I will post some pics of the actual show.  The green carpet for this event went on until 10:30/45 pm.  The show was supposed to start at 8 pm but lucky for me that it started 2 hours late, so I only missed like 45 minutes of it which didn't have any Bollywood performances, so I was very happy about it.  Another reason to be happy was that my friend had 2 floor tickets and her cameraman finished before time so he was not going to come inside and my friend asked me if I wanted to come with her to the floor seating!!  I was like "of course!!"...haha...it was really nice of her to ask me to come with her for that ticket since I know I wouldn't have had the same view with the upper seating ticket that I had originally bought :).   We went inside the stadium (it must have been like 15 minute walk) and I would say the main show started after we got in!!

The show was fantastic!! It did go on for looooong time though, to be precise, it was 5 hours long.  They did a lot of time pass in between but fun overall!!  There were performances by Priyanka Chopra, Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Siddharth Malhotra, Madhuri Dixit, and Hrithik Roshan.
Powerhouse Ranveer Singh Performance
I think all the performances were great, but 2 which struck the most were Ranveer Singh and Hrithik Roshan.  Both were powerhouse performances with full on energy and great dance moves.  Also, the other highlights were John Travolta dancing with Priyanka Chopra on Tune Mari Entriyaan and Kevin Spacey dancing with Deepika Padukon on Lungi Dance!! It can't get better than that!  Among all this, Shahid and Farhan even took a Bollywood selfie with the celebrities, inspired by the Hollywood selfie taken by Ellen in Oscars.  What do you guys think?
Bollywood Selfie @ IIFA Awards 2014
The show finally ended at 3 am in the morning and the next challenge was to get to the car and get out of the parking lot.  This event was in the Raymond James Stadium which had the audience of about 25,000 to 30,000.  Can you imagine the kind of chaos it had created getting out of the parking lot??  No, you can't!!  It took us 40-45 minutes just to get out of the parking lot :( and then another 20-25 minutes to get to the Hilton hotel.  The reason we went to Hilton is because that's where the after party was and thought that maybe if we get to see some stars on the last night of IIFA.  Just as we pulled in to the parking garage next to Hilton, we could clearly hear Hrithik's voice hosting the party.  I was so excited to think that he might be in the after party for a bit, so we quickly parked the car and walked fast to the hotel (even though our feet were hurting like hell from standing on the green carpet for soooo long).  It turned out that the celebrities had their own separate party going on where Hrithik was hosting it, but  nonetheless we still made it to the after party for the non-celebrity people :).  The first thing we did was get something to eat since we were starving and had not eaten since afternoon!!  Food was great, finally, there was something to eat!! This entire event took the entire night which we didn't expect.  My friend and I headed back to the hotel at 7 am in the morning, completely tired and exhausted.  As soon as we got to the room, we both crashed in our beds!! It was one hell of a day and night!!

The rest of the IIFA weekend, which included an entire Sunday, I will post later with more details of the Hilton visit, visit to the Clearwater beach in Tampa, and saying bye to friends and Tampa, FL.

Hope you enjoyed the IIFA coverage from my point of view!! Cheers!!

IIFA Awards 2014 - Day 3 - April 25, 2014, Friday - Part 2

Continuing from Day 3 - Part 1 of IIFA Weekend....

Sridevi @ IIFA Awards 2014 - Magic Of the Movies Awards
We were already late for the green carpet of the show, but made it around 8/8:30 pm and got on the media side.  Gauhar Khan was getting out of the limo right as we were going to the media side of green carpet (and she looked beautiful).  The first face I saw on Green carpet was Sridevi with her husband, Boney Kapoor, and both daughters.  I feel her older daughter resembles Sridevi a lot!! She is like the carbon copy of her.  See it for yourself!

Kareena Kapoor
Once we found a spot on the media side then it was flood of actors, one after another, on the green carpet.  Bipasha Basu looked stunning in white sari, Sonu Sood looked handsome, although I feel he is really skinny when I saw him up close.  Aftab Shivadasani looked dapper in a white suit with his fiance Nin Dusanj (now, wife. He just married in June, 2014).  Vivek Oberoi with wife Priyanka, Jhakaas actor Anil Kapoor, Govinda with wife Sunita, Javed Akhtar, Sharman Joshi, Arshad Warsi, Yami Gautam, Vani Kapoor, Kalki Koechlin, and the list goes on until some of the big guns showed up!!

Kareena Kapoor looked pretty with no jewellery look and a high bun.  Hrithik Roshan looked stunning/gorgeous/handsome (I can't find enough words to describe him)!!  Deepika Padukone was looking completely glittery and shiny in her full-length golden dress and Siddharth Malhotra couldn't look more handsome!!  Madhuri Dixit was the last one to arrive at around 10:30/45 pm but I left just minutes before she came.

Hrithik Roshan
Deepika Padukone
Kareena Kapoor Performance
The thing is that the show had already started around 9 pm and I was almost 2 hours late to the show since I was on the green carpet.  I wanted to at least enjoy part of the show, so decided to leave the green carpet at 10:45 pm to enjoy the last hour.  When I entered the amphitheater, Bipasha's performance was almost over.  I found my friend, K, and sat with him and enjoyed the rest of the show.  I got to see some of Saif Ali Khan and Vir Das hosting the show, Pritam's musical performance, and Kareena's dance performance.  What I didn't get to see are performances by Mika Singh, Farhan Akhtar, Sonakshi Sinha, Bipasha Basu, and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (I saw his performance the night before in IIFA Rocks)!!  I was fine missing these performances because I at least got to sit for some of the show towards the end.  The show ended around midnight and there was an after party at Hard Rock Cafe which was not too far from the amphitheater but in my mind I was just going through one thing......please let there be no traffic when we get to the parking lot!! Yea, right!!  It was obvious that most of the traffic was going to leave from amphitheater to go to Hard Rock Cafe for the after party, and also I was really starving for food, I dropped the idea of going to the after party.  I headed straight to the hotel where the 6" subway was waiting for me in the room refrigerator :).

On the other hand, my friend, V, and his siblings and fiance went to the Hard Rock Cafe for the after party and it turned out that there was a huge line and they were only letting certain number of people in at a time.  They ended up coming back to the hotel since there was no way for them to get in.  I guess, after all, it was a good idea for me to no go to it!! Once they came back, I was able to go to her room and hang out with her and catch up.  Catching up with friends is always fun!!  Finally, after lots of chatting, I went back to my room and slept around 4:30 am.  Sleeping at morning times like 4 or 5 am was becoming so normal that I thought to myself that if I don't get sleep then I will just fall asleep on the floor one of these days....but then I thought "Eh...who cares...it's IIFA weekend"!!:P

Well, friends, that's my update of Day 3 for you all!! Stay tuned for the last day of updates of IIFA weekend with the main IIFA Awards show that took place in Raymond James Stadium!

IIFA Awards 2014 - Day 3 - April 25, 2014, Friday - Part 1

Day 3 - IIFA weekend - April 25, 2014:

The whole point of setting an alarm is to wake you up in the morning but that didn't seem to be the definition of alarm during this trip, instead it was more like sleep through the alarm and then wake up when you want to.  I woke up at 9 am (don't blame myself, we slept around 5 am, so at least need few hours sleep to recover) and got ready.  The day was planned with some activities but apparently it changed completely in the morning itself before we could even execute what was planned.  My friend and I got ready around 11:30 am and headed for the Hilton hotel.  At the media room in Hilton, we happen to run into Mr. Anupam Kher!  He was kind enough to let us take individual pics with him and very humble to talk to.

Govinda @ IIFA Awards 2014 - Press conference
My friend tried to get us in to the press conference with Govinda.  He was running late and when he finally came, we had to wait another 30-40 minutes since he had 2 private interviews scheduled before they could open it up for the rest of the media.  Once they opened it up for the general media to enter, it was complete chaos! Everyone wanted to get a glimpse of him.  Before the press conference started, he showed the trailer of his new movie, Abhinaychakra, which is going to release in August.  It looked interesting and seemed like a good comeback for Govinda, especially it has some great dance moves that he does!!  This press conference went on forever!!  Hats off to Govinda for his patience and even more, hats off to his wife, Sunita, for being patient with him.  She was in the same room, sitting in a corner, while the interviews were going on.  She was patiently waiting, very nice, and interacting with whoever wanted to talk to her.  After the flood of interviews, I was able to quickly take a picture with him and then he left.

Ranveer Singh @ IIFA Awards 2014 - Hilton Lobby
Next, we headed to the Hilton lobby since it was time for Ranveer Singh and Aditya Roy Kapoor to come.  We were right on time! As we got there, they both entered.  Aditya didn't really stop and interact much with fans but Ranveer Singh was taking his time and signing autographs, giving selfies, and totally fan friendly!!  It was good to see them up close!!  While in the lobby, Ritesh Deshmukh also came right behind them but he didn't stop for a second and headed straight to the elevator.  We also spotted Gauhar Khan in the lobby when she was coming from outside.  After that, we knew that Farhan's flight had already landed and he had to be the next one to arrive.  We waited 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, but no sign of him!  Then after checking his flight, we realized that he landed in Orlando :-o....that was big bummer!! Being disappointed, we headed for our hotel to get ready for the evening show, IIFA Magic of the Movies Awards.

Once I got to the hotel, I met up with my friend, V, and her fiance.  We were meeting almost after 6 months since we took the Bahamas cruise.  It was great to meet her and her fiance.  We didn't get a chance to talk much but decided to catch up later since I needed to get ready for the evening and so did she.

I am going to stop right here in terms of updating this post of Day 3 and will continue on from Part 2 since I have more to cover for the IIFA Magic of the Movies Awards and don't want to make this post any longer.  Until then, take care!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

IIFA Awards 2014 - Day 2 - April 24, 2014, Thursday - Part 2

.....Continuing from IIFA awards 2014 - Day 2 - Part 1

After the IIFA press conference, we relaxed for a bit in the lobby, and my friend talked to one of the media crew to see if they can set up a backstage interview with any of the actors.  Luckily, the media crew set up a backstage interview with Vivek Oberoi at Tampa Convention Center where he was rehearsing for the IIFA Rocks show.  He was going to be the host for IIFA Rocks along with Gauhar Khan.  We headed for the Tampa Convention Center and after waiting for about an hour, we were allowed to go backstage and there he was, coming down the stage, looking very handsome!!  It was amazing to see him up close!! I was completely taken back with his down-to-earth nature and simplicity!  He was talking to everyone patiently and didn't mind repeating the stories for all the interviewers about his flight from India to US, how his son was having fun on the flight and was a complete rock star for not giving him or his wife hard time on the flight, etc. etc.  He was veeeery nice!!

While other people were interviewing Vivek, I was able to spot Vishal Malhotra who was on stage waiting to get backstage interview with Vivek for official IIFA awards.  I went up to him and told him how I have seen him since he was in the show called Hip Hip Hurray!  Since that show he has been in so many movies such as Ishq Vishq, Kismat Konnection, Ek Vivaah...aisa bhi, etc.  He is also working on movies like Happy New Year and Don 3 with Shah Rukh Khan and it's amazing how far he has come!!  I got a picture with him and then went back to the place where Vivek was being interviewed.

After the interviewers had chance to interview Vivek , I squeezed in for a bit to get a picture with him and wished him best for the upcoming IIFA awards.  He was nominated for the Best Villain award and I told him "I really hope you win the best villain award!!", unfortunately he didn't win :(.

Once the interviews were done, we were debating whether to just stay there or go back to the hotel, change, and come back for the show.  I was leaning towards going back to the hotel and changing and my friends agreed with me, so we headed for the Hilton first to pick up the car.  While we were waiting for our car to come, we found Boman Irani standing just 2 feet away from us.  He had just arrived from the airport, so he was getting his bags out of the car, but it was just funny that we didn't recognize him at first :P.  When we did recognize him, I said hi, how his flight was, and asked him if we could get a picture with him and he was very friendly about it!  Our car came and we headed for our hotel to change.  It was all rush since we were already late for the IIFA Rocks show...but managed to get there in time and might have just missed maybe 5-10 minutes or so.
Gauhar Khan & Vivek Oberoi (IIFA Rocks)

First of all, the IIFA Rocks was hosted by Vivek Oberoi and Gauhar Khan.  Gauhar was looking stunning and Vivek was looking handsome!!  They both did a great job of hosting the show.  The show had music and dance performances by Ankit Tiwari (Aashiqui 2 - Sun raha hai na tu singer & composer), Bhoomi Trivedi (Ram chahe leela singer), and Monali Thakur (singer & actress).  It was fun and entertaining!
Nina Davulur, Miss America 2014

The show also had 3 packed fashion shows by the 3 top designers of Bollywood.  First fashion show showcased the collection of designer Manish Malhotra who had show stoppers like Sonakshi Sinha, Siddharth Malhotra, and Anil Kapoor.  The 2nd fashion show showcased the designs of Amita Bal who had Nina Davuluri, Miss America 2014, as her showstopper.  Nina Davuluri looked gorgeous as she walked down the ramp!

The last, but not the least, was Vikram Phadnis who showcased his collection with help of 2 gorgeous showstoppers, Yami Gautam and Malaika Aurora Khan.  His collection was beautiful.  Not that I didn't like Manish Malhotra's collection, but I felt Vikram Phadnis had very colorful collection with Red, Pink, and Orange colour combination clothes!! 
Vikram Phadnis Fashion Show
Malaika Aurora Khan
Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
Now, for the finale, they saved the best for the last!!  It was the live performance of Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan!  He has such soulful voice that truly touches your heart!!  He was mesmerizing that you couldn't think of anything else other than focusing on the songs he was singing and completely melt yourself into music (Am I making any sense?) :).  Lucky for us that a lot of people had left when his performance was going on, so we were able to move to the 1st row seats to enjoy the performance.

After his performance, it was a wrap and everyone started leaving.  There were not that many people and there wasn't really any security towards the entrance of back stage, so my friend decided to check it out and see if she can catch someone for a quick interview.  There weren't that many people left backstage either but, lucky for us, we were able to meet Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and get a picture with him as well as an autograph.  He was very nice person, very humble, and talked to us with a smile on his face.  It was an honour to meet him.  I also got an autograph from Ankit Tiwari who was backstage as well.

Phew...that was IIFA Rocks show! Amazing, surprising, beautiful, and entertaining!!  The show had an after party which started right around 12:30 am or so and unfortunately for us, my friend had the passes for us but he wasn't reachable after the show :(.  We tried hard to go pass the security but the security guard was adamant and didn't let us in (well, he was doing his job).  After sitting around for a while, hoping that someone would pity on us and let us in, someone walked up to us and handed us 3 after party passes!! How convenient!!  We went in, and due to starvation, we grabbed whatever we could and fed ourselves!!

We danced for some time and then headed back to the Hilton hotel to pick up our car.  I ran into my friend, K, and we hung out in the lobby of the Hilton until it was 3:30 am.  By the time we got to the hotel it was 3:45/50 am....we changed and by the time I went to bed, it was already 5 am :-o!! Time really flies and I set my alarm, again, for 7:45 am and went to bed.

Well, that was one looooong day but a lot of fun!!  It's not over yet...more to come for IIFA in next 2 days!!  Stay tuned!

IIFA Awards 2014 - Day 2 - April 24, 2014, Thursday - Part 1

Hi Friends,

Here I am, back with the day 2 activities of IIFA awards in Tampa! From my previous post of Day 1 activities, I had said that I went to bed around 4:15 am setting an alarm for 7:45 am, but that didn't go down as planned :-|.  It turns out that I slept through my alarm and woke up after my friend realized that it was close to 9 am! We both woke up with a jerk and made a run for the breakfast room since the breakfast was going to close at 9!  We made it in time..no worries!! Grabbed some things to eat and headed back to the room.  While my friend, Ka, and I slept through the alarm, one of Ka's friend landed in Tampa who was also going to join us for the IIFA weekend.  Once she arrived, we all got ready and headed for the downtown Hilton hotel around 11 am which was the main headquarters for all the stars for IIFA weekend!

Govinda @ Hilton Downtown Tampa (IIFA 2014)
We got our media accreditation from the hotel and relaxed in the media room for a bit before heading for the  lobby.  The original plan was to go to the airport for stars' airport arrivals, but there was not enough time to get to the airport, so the best choice was to stay at the hotel where the stars were going to arrive after the airport arrivals!  And surely, soon after, the actors started arriving.  First one to come was Govinda with wife Sunita.  He surely seems to have lost weight.
Shabana Aazmi

After that, there was a flood of actors who came one after another.  I saw Rajkumar Hirani near the elevator, saw Sameera Reddy and Shabana Azmi as she was heading out.  Next, Arshad Warsi came to the Hilton and my friend interviewed him which was interesting!  Next, was Mr. Milkha Singh with his family.  After that was Vivek Oberoi (didn't see his wife or son with him at that time).  He stopped for a second to also talk to the media for a bit and then headed to the elevator.

Vivek Oberoi
Next, it was the dhak dhak actress Madhuri Dixit who arrived with husband Ram.  She was looking great...unfortunately, she didn't stop to talk to anyone.  And then, the moment that took my breath away had come...the arrival of the heartthrob Hrithik Roshan!! He was looking handsome, dashing, and amaaaazing!! I couldn't take my eyes off him!! It was like people woke up all of a sudden when he came and crowded the place like crazy carnival!!  Here are some snaps of their arrival.

Madhuri Dixit with Husband Ram
Hrithik Roshan :) :)
As far as airport arrivals were considered, Hrithik was the last one to arrive in the afternoon and there was no one else coming until late evening.  We headed straight to a conference room where the IIFA press conference was going to be held.  The conference had speeches from Dr. Kiran Patel, the Mayor and Commissioner of the Tampa Bay, and of course, the actors, Priyanka Chopra, Anil Kapoor, and Sonakshi Sinha!  The press conference also unveiled the new album Back2love from singer Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.  At the end of the press conference, all the actors came on stage along with the mayor of Tampa Bay and the CEO of Visit Tampa Bay and they all danced together on the Do Da Tampa (IIFA theme song).  In fact, Anil Kapoor showed some of his moves to the mayor and he tried those as well :)  Overall, the day was going pretty good, but it was far from being over.

For the rest of the day updates, I will continue in the next post giving you details of the backstage interview with Vivek Oberoi, running into Vishal Malhotra, and the main event of the evening, IIFA Rocks, which included fabulous fashion shows, dance and music performances, and finally the grand finale with Rahat Fateh Ali Khan's live performance (that I will never forget)!!

Till then, have fun!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

IIFA Awards 2014 - Day 1 - April 23, 2014, Wednesday - Part 2

....Continuing from Part 1

After almost 3 and half hours of flight, I landed in Tampa Bay, FL at around 10 pm.  I got to the terminal and the first thing I see is this IIFA welcome!!

IIFA Welcome banner at Tampa Bay, FL airport
I was sleepy, tired, but as soon as I saw the sign, I was wide awake :).  I called my friend and she asked me to come to the 9th floor.  Well, let me give you little background about this 9th floor.  The 9th floor of the airport is actually a short term parking floor but that had been converted to a green carpet welcome floor for all the stars arriving for IIFA!  The media and local audience sections were separate on the green carpet where the actors can first go to the fans' side and then give little speech on the stage (more like mini-stage) and then come towards the media side.  I headed to the 9th floor and I must say even at 10:30 pm, the welcome area was crowded with fans.  Luckily, my friend was already on the media side since she had already gotten in with her credentials (with an email as proof of media accreditation).  She got me in from the media side and as soon as I entered, just minutes later entered Randhir Kapoor and Rajeev Kapoor.  This was the first time I had ever seen any actors up so close.  Here is the pic of Randhir Kapoor on the mini-stage.

Randhir Kapoor @ IIFA airport welcome
After they were escorted to their cars, the next one to arrive was none other the rock star Priyanka Chopra!! She had long flight (just like all the other actors), she looked tired, but she still looked great! Luckily I got an autograph from her, couldn't get a pic with her though :(.  But when she was over on the fans' side, she was very friendly, taking her time to give selfies, giving autographs, and even talking to some of the fans.  Here is her snap while she was giving a small welcome speech.

Priyanka Chopra @ IIFA airport welcome
She was the last one to come for that day and after she was taken to her car, everyone headed for their homes.  I met up with my friend, K, who was on the green carpet with Priyanka, helping the IIFA crew.  My friend, Ka, and I headed to get the rental car.  The process was pretty quick and we got a nice 2014 Nissan car (don't remember the model).  It was late and we were both tired and maybe that might have been the reason that we got on the wrong Hwy which made a 5 mile journey into a 15 miles drive :-(.  Finally, got to the hotel, checked in, and I crashed on the bed for few minutes.  Both of us weren't sleepy, so we just chatted and caught up on things!!

In short time, my friend, K, came to the hotel room to hang out for a while after he wrapped up airport arrivals and meetings.  We all hung out until 4 am in the morning and soon after he took off.  Ka and I slept around 4:15 am, setting an alarm for 7:45 am!!  Well, that was the first day of IIFA for me, hectic, crazy, exciting, and tiring, but I am not complaining!! This is just the beginning of an exciting and amazing IIFA weekend!!  Next day is packed with lots of great activities...stay tuned!