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Tuesday, July 23, 2013


(Four of the South Africa judges: Leleti Khumalo, Caroline Smart; Welcome Msomi and Peter Rorvik. Missing: Saira Essa and Linda Bukhosini. Pic by Frances Park-Ross)

The inaugural South Africa India Film and Television Awards (SAIFTA) will be held at the Durban ICC Arena on September 6.

Several Bollywood A-listers have been confirmed, including Saif Ali Khan as host for the evening. Other celebrity guests include actor, producer and former model, John Abraham and TV stars Apurva and Shilpa Agnihotri.

At a SAIFTA press conference held in Mumbai yesterday, the creative director of the Awards, Kedhar Gawde, announced some of the big Bollywood names confirmed for the glittering gala awards ceremony in Durban in two months time.

The SAIFTA conference strengthened the relationship between India and South Africa and was attended by Sadha Naidoo, chairman of Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and Neliswa Dlamini, project manager for The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

Gawde, fondly known as ‘KD’, said; “We are honoured to announce that renowned actor and producer, Saif Ali Khan, will be the SAIFTA host at the gala Awards. Adding to the glitz and glamour of the event will be the presence of popular Indian film actor, producer and former model, John Abraham as well as glamorous television actor and actress, Apurva and Shilpa Agnihotri. I am sure that these stars will be well-appreciated by our South African audience! Our aim was to secure stars for the event who would help us make these awards a household name in both South Africa and India.”

he continued: “ Saif Ali Khan is the ‘perfect name’ for SAIFTA in more ways than one! He filmed extensively in Durban for the film Race and his suave manner and incredible wit will ensure an entertaining evening! He has starred in blockbuster movies like Dil Chahta Hai and Salaam Namaste. He is highly respected in the international film industry and is married to beautiful actress, Kareena Kapoor. He is considered ‘Indian royalty’. The 42-year old son of actress, Sharmila Tagore and cricket player Mansoor Ali Khan, recently took his late father’s title as the tenth Nawab of Pataudi, Gurgoan.”

John Abraham’s good looks and acting ability have made him one of India’s most popular contemporary actors. As SAIFTA has both film and television categories, it is fitting that award-winning TV stars Apurva and his wife, Shilpa Lakhia, are attending the Awards.

Apurva has won several awards himself, including Indian Telly Best Actor Award for Jaissi Jaissi Koi Nahin. Shilpa plays Ganga in the popular soap Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and hosts a children’s talent show Rin Mera Star Superstar.

The centenary year of Bollywood will also be represented by the legendary actress and SAIFTA jury member, Waheeda Rehman, who will attend the awards show in September.

The press conference audience was treated to distinguished and respected personalities from both nations, who are jury members for the awards. The star-studded Indian panelists consist of actor Waheeda Rehman, producer Mukesh Bhatt, actor Boman Irani, director and screenwriter Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, along with director Farah Khan.

The South African panel comprises luminaries such as renowned actor and writer Welcome Msomi, theatre and television personality Saira Essa, film industry veteran Peter Rorvik, performing artist Linda Bukhosini, theatre personality Caroline Smart and actress Leleti Khumalo.

Celebrity Locker, the Mumbai-based events company joined hands with the Province of KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism of Durban to make the award ceremony possible.

The curtain raiser showcased the coveted Wall of Fame to the audience which will be taking hand prints of eminent personalities from the Indian and South African film and television industry and will be showcased at a prominent location in Durban. Actress Waheeda Rehman unveiled the SAIFTA Trophy with John Abraham. The trophy has been tastefully designed keeping in mind the cross culture association between South Africa and India. The trophy has been brought to life by The Award Gallery.

The September event will unfold to an audience of 6,000 people and aimS to deliver a programme of entertainment comparable with the best in the world. Tickets will be available from Computicket from the first week of August.