Updated: January 22, 2013 1:50 PM | By The Canadian Press, thecanadianpress.com

B.C. to host Oscars of India in April

VANCOUVER - Vancouver will be in the spotlight this April when it hosts the Hindi film industry's annual Times of India Film Awards.


B.C. to host Oscars of India in April

British Columbia Premier Christy Clark, centre, stands with Indian film director Karan Johar, left, and Indian dance choreographer Shiamak Davar in Vancouver, B.C., on Tuesday January 22, 2013, during an announcement that The Times of India Film Awards will be held in the city in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER - Vancouver will be in the spotlight this April when it hosts the Hindi film industry's annual Times of India Film Awards.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced her government would spend $11 million to help pay for production and hosting the event, which organizers call the Oscars of India.

Clark said the awards ceremony will be watched by hundreds of millions of people around the world and hosting the event will put Vancouver on centre stage.

"This is one piece of our government's outreach efforts in India, opening up new opportunities for trade and investment that will create jobs here at home," she said in a news release.

The provincial government will provide $9.5 million in matching finds to the Times Group to help produce the event and another $1.5 million for other activities, including hosting a B.C.-India business forum.

"This is a tremendous economic opportunity for British Columbia to reach new markets, one that we will take advantage of," Clark said.

Jobs and Tourism Minister Pat Bell said B.C. has already had great success building high-level relationships in India for business and travel, but this opportunity is unparalleled exposure for the province.

"The Times of India Film Awards is a catalyst for building awareness of B.C. to Indian businesses, deepening relationships and kick-starting enhanced trade activities," he said.

The province estimates the economic benefit of hosting the awards is between $13 and $18 million in direct spending.

The three-day celebration will bring some of Bollywood's biggest stars to a special concert, showcase some of the most popular Hindi movies in screenings and wrap up with the awards ceremony on April 6.

The awards are based on a global voting system involving fans who are invited to vote for their favourite stars across 14 categories.

The Times of India Group is the largest media conglomerate in India with newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations and Internet websites.

The group reaches an estimated 90 million people per day.

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