Sri Lanka extended a warm welcome to the Indian movie stars arrived in the country defying the pressure from Tamil protestors in India to participate in the 11th International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) commenced in Colombo today.
Several Bollywood stars including Vivek Oberoi, Lara Datta, Sophie Chaudhary, Salman Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Ritesh Deshmukh, Dia Mizra and Hrithik Roshan arrived in the country despite a call from the Tamil groups to boycott the event.
Issuing a congratulatory message, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the event is of special significance to Sri Lanka and it was only possible to hold such an international event in Sri Lanka due to the peaceful atmosphere in the country.
Welcoming the Indian stars, Sri Lanka's cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara praised the actors' courage to attend the event in Sri Lanka.
Sangakkara is teaming up with other Sri Lankan cricketers and Indian movie stars Hrithik Roshan and Suniel Shetty to play a charity cricket match on the 4th of June for the benefit of the former child soldiers.
Sri Lanka police and armed forces have implemented special security measures to provide security to the attendees.
Special police and security personnel manned the main road from the airport to Colombo and the guests were escorted by a security vehicle.
Several roads in the vicinity of the places in the capital where the events are to be held are closed for public and public are advised to avoid those areas.
The Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) has spent Rs 75 million to give a complete facelift to the City for the awards ceremony which is to be held at the Sugathadasa Stadium.
The city's hotels are well prepared to host the celebrity guests attending the award ceremony and the other events associated with it that includes a business forum, a fashion show, and a celebrity cricket match between Bollywood stars and Sri Lankan cricketers.
IIFA 2010 in Colombo is expected to be attended by more than 600 Indian film industry guests and watched by over 600 million TV viewers in 110 nations. (ColomboPage)