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Durban - The launch of the South Africa India Film and Television Awards (Saifta) at the ICC on Friday was an occasion of glitz and glamour.
Indian celebrities who had come for the event included Bollywood actresses Raveena Tandon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Dia Mirza, Riccha Chadda and Shipla Shirodka, TV actress Anusha Dandekar, dance choreographers Farah Khan and Geeta Kapur, and the first Indian female rapper, Hard Kaur.
Local guests were Leleti Khumalo, Isidingo actor Maurice Paige, fashion designers Haroun Hansrot, David Tlale, Calypso Group owner Sadha Naidoo, eThekwini speaker Logie Naidoo, Mr South Africa Andrew Govender, as well as Avalon’s A B Moosa.
The aim of Saifta is to reward creative excellence in the entertainment industry in South Africa and India, and to strengthen bonds between the two countries.
The awards, expected to become an annual event, will take place on September 6 at the ICC in Durban, to coincide with Heritage Month.
The initiative is the brainchild of prominent Indian fashion designer and the director of Mumbai-based marketing company Celebrity Locker Kedhar Gawde, in conjunction with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development and Tourism and East Coast Radio.
Gawde said: “Saifta will highlight the wealth of talent in both industries and help bring about an exchange of cultures.
“The awards ceremony will have 20 categories – 10 for Indian cinema and 10 for the local industry.
“Because both industries are special in their own different ways, we could not judge the artists together.
“We are looking forward to September. Some big names have been roped in.”
In her speech on Friday, Farah Khan said that the awards would give exposure to Indian film-makers and help Durban to become a prime film location.
“Durban should get ready to be inundated with Bollywood movies as it will soon be the next big location.”