Tampa Bay (Florida): It is still a few months before Tampa Bay hosts the 15th International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards, but the city seems to have already opened its doors to Indian filmmakers. Rhea Kapoor is scouting for locations here for her next production venture.
Rhea was here last week with her father, actor-producer Anil Kapoor and their team to look for locations suitable for their upcoming project "Saat Hindustanis", a youth-based drama.
Reporters caught up with Anil at the Hilton hotel here when he discussed his banner`s plans to shoot in the city, which has welcomed him and his team with open arms.
"We are planning to shoot a film over here. It`s our next production and it is called `Saat Hindustanis`," said the suave actor, who calls himself a "Friend of IIFA" and who has been promoting the Weekend whole-heartedly for quite a while.
He was here earlier in January for a three-city US tour to spread awareness about IIFA and Hindi cinema.
"When I came here, I felt this city has a soul. There is an innocence and warmth in the people, who have a combination of professionalism, hospitality and warmth.
"I came here earlier in January, but I got back here again because, thanks to IIFA, I got that kind of encouragement and support for my making a film here. Such events open more doors for filmmakers to shoot at new locations," said the 57-year-old, whose banner, Anil Kapoor Film Company, has churned out movies like "Gandhi, My Father", "No Problem" and "Aisha".
Anil, who has had a taste of American showbiz with a role in the eighth season of TV show "24" and a part in the movie "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol", truly believes in the power of cinema in driving tourism for a place.
"Look at what `Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara` did for Spain and how everybody suddenly knew about the Burj Khalifa with `Mission: Impossible`. I think cities and countries are gradually getting more aware of the impact that cinema can have on tourism, and it can do wonders," he said.
Back home, he is gearing up for two back-to-back sequels - "Welcome Back" and "No Entry Mein Entry". He also hopes to begin work on the second season of his popular show "24", the Indian version of the American television series.
Anil is also upbeat about returning to Tampa Bay again in April for the main IIFA Weekend and Awards, which is scheduled for April 23-26.