Tag Archives: Florida

India's 'Bollywood Oscars' in Florida for U.S. debut

TAMPA, Florida Fri Apr 25, 2014 2:36pm EDT

Bollywood Actress Priyanka Chopra (C) and Actress Sonakshi Sinha and Anil Kapoor (R) entertain the crowd ahead of the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards in Tampa, Florida April 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia

1 of 3. Bollywood Actress Priyanka Chopra (C) and Actress Sonakshi Sinha and Anil Kapoor (R) entertain the crowd ahead of the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards in Tampa, Florida April 24, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mohammed Jaffer-SnapsIndia

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) – Celebrities and dignitaries from India and the United States descended on Florida this week for the “Bollywood Oscars,” an awards event making its first-ever U.S. stop with the aim of creating deeper ties between the two countries.

The International Indian Film Academy’s awards show set for Saturday has been compared to the Super Bowl in terms of its security needs, traffic management and planning. But its expected worldwide viewership of 800 million far surpasses the championship American football game’s 111.5 million viewers on average in 2014.

The film academy’s choice of Tampa, home to Florida’s third-largest South Asian community, to host its first U.S.-based awards show in the event’s 15-year history came as a happy surprise to some fans.

“I jumped out of my seat,” said Rubia Qureshi, 22, a local resident who grew up watching Bollywood films, known for their distinctive and elaborate song-and-dance performances. “I’m the biggest fan.”

Qureshi and her mother, who is of Pakistani heritage, joined hundreds of others eager to snap photos of movie stars as they arrived at the Tampa airport and walked the industry’s signature green carpet. Fans were so excited at the arrival of actress Deepika Padukone on Wednesday that they knocked over a security barrier.

Other celebrities taking part in the event include American actors John Travolta and Kevin Spacey as well as India’s Anil Kapoor, best known to U.S. audiences for his 2008 role in “Slumdog Millionaire,” and Shah Rukh Khan, an actor who has more than 7.4 million followers on Twitter.

STAR SIGHTINGS

The star sightings have created a buzz, but perhaps more exciting to local officials is the potential economic impact of hosting the awards as well as the prospect of building stronger business, cultural and tourism ties with India.

This week’s event is expected to bring 30,000 visitors and $11 million in revenue, organizers said. It also will lay the groundwork for longer-term opportunities with business owners who attend, said Tampa cardiologist Kiran Patel, the event’s biggest private backer.

“Ultimately this is not a four-day event,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “This is a multi-decade relationship.”

The $2 billion Indian film industry has a wide global reach and produces more movies each year than Hollywood, though the U.S. film industry generates five times more revenue, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The film academy’s decision to come to the United States, and particularly Tampa, is credited in part to the strength of the city’s Indian-American community, which numbers more than 23,500 people.

The effects of the community’s organization and growth can be seen throughout the Tampa Bay area where several large movie houses show Bollywood films. Indian restaurants and grocery stores are common, weekly cricket games are held at county parks and nearly a dozen Indian temples dot the area.

The film academy’s kickoff event on Wednesday night drew as many as 8,000 people to a downtown park, 40 percent of whom were not of Indian heritage, the mayor said. There they got a taste of the rich culture as deejays spun Indian music and local Bollywood-style dance troupes performed.

Kapoor said connections have grown wherever he has traveled for the Indian awards show, and he predicted the same result for the countries with the world’s two biggest film industries.

“It bridges the gap which has been between Hollywood and Bollywood,” he said.

(Editing by Colleen Jenkins and G Crosse)

Justin Bieber charged with drunk driving after drag racing in Florida

MIAMI BEACH, Florida Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:27am EST

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage during the ''I Believe Tour'' in Helsinki April 26, 2013. REUTERS/Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva

Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs on stage during the ”I Believe Tour” in Helsinki April 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Mikko Stig/Lehtikuva

The 50-year-old Depp has proposed to the 27-year-old actress, People magazine reports.  Slideshow 

MIAMI BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Teen pop star Justin Bieber was arrested in South Florida early on Thursday on charges of drunk driving and drag racing in a Lamborghini, the Miami Herald reported.

Full details of his arrest were not immediately available, but a Miami Beach police official told reporters the 19-year-old singer showed signs of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Police did not immediately return calls for comment.

The Miami Herald said the “Boyfriend” singer also made news earlier in his trip to South Florida, where he was reported to have spent tens of thousands of dollars at a strip club.

The police department in the Florida city of Opa-locka said it was investigating the actions of officers who gave Bieber and his entourage an unauthorized escort through traffic after they landed at a local airport.

The headlines about Bieber’s personal life are the latest in a string of incidents that have overshadowed his music career in the last year as the Canadian star who shot to fame at age 15 transitions to adulthood.

Earlier this month, detectives in California raided Bieber’s home after he was accused of pelting a neighbor’s house with eggs.

(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Writing by Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Scott Malone and Stephen Powell)

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'Breaking Bad' contest winner arrested in Florida on drug charges

MIAMI Thu Jan 2, 2014 4:29pm EST

MIAMI (Reuters) – A Florida man who won a contest to watch the finale of the drug-themed TV show “Breaking Bad” with its cast has been arrested on charges he ran an underground synthetic marijuana distribution operation, police said on Thursday.

In a possible case of life imitating art, Ryan Lee Carroll, 28, was arrested on New Year’s Eve and charged with manufacturing and shipping a synthetic marijuana known as “Spice” to distribution points across the country from his home in Fort Myers, in southwest Florida.

Two other suspects were arrested and their homes served as additional manufacturing and storage facilities for the illicit drug operation, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

“Ironically, Ryan Lee Carroll was a contest winner for the hit TV series ‘Breaking Bad'; a show about a chemistry teacher turned drug dealer,” the statement said.

It said more than 700 pounds (315 kg) of 79,000 individually packaged packets of synthetic marijuana were seized with an estimated street value of $1.25 million.

“The investigation has put a large dent in the availability of ‘Spice’ nationally,” the sheriff’s office said.

In addition to the synthetic marijuana and by-products of the substance seized at Carroll’s home, deputies said they had confiscated a souvenir Hazmat suit signed by “Breaking Bad” cast members.

A lawyer for Carroll could not immediately be reached for comment.

The suit was similar to the one worn by Walter White, the fictitious former high school teacher in the TV show who amasses a fortune by manufacturing a potent variety of meth or methamphetamine.

(Reporting by Tom Brown; Editing by Grant McCool)