Come May 7 Australia would have witnessed some memorable evenings with Indian and Pakistani stars on foreign shores Down Under, at the Indian Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA).
This included appearances by Arjun Rampal, Sonu Sood, Hariharan, Dharmendra, Javed Akhtar, Jeetendra, Ileana D Cruz, Shekhar Suman and Sophie Chaudry apart from Pakistani and Nepalese artistes.
But a series of threats have now forced the organizers to cancel the event. Vvikas Paul the moving spirit behind the event is heartbroken and has issued the following statement:
“We have been working on organizing the Indian Film Festival and Awards of Australia (IFFAA) over the past two years. The event was to be organized between 7-13 May and we had scheduled a long list of celebrities who would attend the event and do performances that would highlight the cinema from the Indian subcontinent.
It pains us to inform you that the event has been deferred in view of the following reasons:
1: We had and have been receiving a lot of threats from vested interests who are not keen to see this talent come to Australia and for this event to go ahead
2: We were to also see some artists from Indian Sub-Continent, who was to perform and attend the event, to promote harmony and peace among two countries. But fundamentalist groups here, turned it into a political agenda and in view of the current political situation prevailing between both countries, we decided to drop the Pakistani team and do the event with Indian actors only.
3: Even after withdrawing the Pakistani actors and with heightened pressure over our event from anti groups, we have decided not to go ahead with the event in view of the safety of not just the celebrities, my personal and family’s well being, but also for the thousands of people who will be present to view the cultural extravaganza.
4: With a very heavy heart we have differed IFFAA till further notice and we wish the political situation improves by time, to re launch it.”