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IIFA 2017 LIVE updates: Who will walk away with the honours on Bollywood’s big night?

Since it launched in 2000, with its very first edition held at the Millennium Dome in London, the International Indian Film Academy Awards — known as IIFA — has been an important milestone for the Indian film industry. Over the years, it has grown to become one of the splashiest and most extravagant awards events ever, to commemorate Indian cinema. It has developed into the ‘IIFA Weekend’ — a time when every Bollywood celebrity worth his/her salt jets off to whatever international location the event is set in that year, and on the agenda is a mix of business and pleasure. Stars meet with their fans, walk the red — sorry, green — carpet, perform on stage, and also tuck in some time to kick back and unwind.

IIFA 2017 saw the scene of action move to New York (the 2016 edition had been held in Madrid). While there’s already been a plethora of glitzy events and star-sightings — including the IIFA Rocks performance by AR Rahman that brought the house down (no sign of the ingrates who attended his Wembley concert and demanded refunds because the majority of the songs were in “South Indian”, thank goodness) — the real business of the week will be the awards show held on the evening of Saturday, 15 July (the wee hours of Sunday morning for us in India).

And the evening promises to be an interesting one indeed.

On the anvil are performances that bring Bollywood’s best to the stage, with hosts Saif Ali Khan and Karan Johar providing the lively commentary for the show.

The stars at IIFA 2017

And then of course, there are the awards themselves — meant to honour the most outstanding films and performances of the previous year.

The Best Actor nominee list has heavyweights like Salman Khan (for Sultan), Shah Rukh Khan (Fan) and Amitabh Bachchan (Pink) as well as Shahid Kapoor (Udta Punjab) and Sushant Singh Rajput (MS Dhoni: The Untold Story). The Best Actress nominations include Anushka Sharma (Ae Dil Hai Mushkil), Alia Bhatt (Udta Punjab and Dear Zindagi), Sonam Kapoor (Neerja), and Taapsee Panu (Pink). We predict a two-way fight between Sonam and Alia for the top prize.

Meanwhile, vying for Best Film will be Neerja, Udta Punjab, Sultan, Pink, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil and MS Dhoni: The Untold Story.

Who will triumph at IIFA 2017? What will turn out to be the best moments from the show?

Stay tuned with Firstpost; we’re bringing you LIVE updates, as IIFA 2017 unravels in New York City.

Published Date: Jul 16, 2017 05:30 am | Updated Date: Jul 16, 2017 05:35 am

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AAP MLAs seeking appointment with LG 'ousted' by police: Somnath Bharti

AAP MLAs Somnath Bharti, S K Bagga were forced out of Anil Baijal’s house after they refused to leave following a meeting.

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AAP MLAs forced out of L-G's house

AAP MLAs Somnath Bharti, S K Bagga were forced out of Anil Baijal’s house after they refused to leave following a meeting.

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Peek raises $23M and inks partnership with Google in push to digitize travel activities

Peek, a U.S. startup aiming to digitize the travel activities industry, has pulled a $23 million Series B round of financing and uncorked a partnership with Google that will help increase its visibility.

Founded in 2012 by Ruzwana Bashir (CEO) and Oskar Bruening (CTO), the startup describes itself as “OpenTable for the activities market” in that it aims to make booking activities as seamless and straightforward as a restaurant or even a flight.

Peek raised $10 million two years ago, and this new round is led by Cathay Innovation with participation from existing backers that include ex-Yelp COO Geoff Donaker, Kayak founder Paul English, 2BF and Manta Ray. Peek has plenty of well-known angel backers, including Pete Flint — founder of Trulia and NFX — former Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. This new round takes it to $40 million from investors to date.

In addition to the money, the startup has announced a tie-up with Google that will see its inventory added to Google Search, Google Maps and Google Trips. That’s sure to help visibility and spike bookings, and it adds to other partnerships that Peek has struck with platforms that include Yelp.

Peek is taking aim at the global activities market which Bashir estimates is worth some $150 billion, with the U.S. being the most lucrative market on the planet.

“It hasn’t gone through the analog-to-digital transition like other industries,” she told TechCrunch in an interview. “So we’re building the infrastructure and software that emerged in other industries ten years ago.”

Peek’s business model is similar to two well-backed Asian companies, Klook — which has raised over $90 million from the likes of Sequoia China and Goldman Sachs — and KKDay, which was recently backed by Japanese travel giant H.I.S.. Despite that, Bashir said that the problem of digitizing the space isn’t just limited to Asia or emerging markets.

“When you look at businesses in the U.S., over 70% don’t have real-time online booking, you still have to call the business or email them,” she explained.

That’s an important point, and it underlines the approach that Peek has taken. Unlike its Asia-based rivals, the company has a dual approach which starts by offering booking software that allows travel companies to actually take bookings and sales online. It also allows them to run their businesses from mobile, which is increasingly important.

That’s the hook that gets them into Peek, and from there the company offers more services under its ‘Pro’ offering and also the consumer-facing platform that travelers (or, rather, action-seekers) can use to book activities. That distinction about ‘travelers’ is important since Bashir said that around one-third of Peek bookings come from people doing things in their own town, so not everyone is traveling.

Peek founders Oskar Bruening and Ruzwana Bashir.

Peek claims to offer 10,000 experiences in the U.S. and Mexico, while it has 500,000 reviews and ratings which are verified since users can only leave them if they have booked, paid-for and done their activity.

Bashir said, in addition, that the company’s software has scaled to handle “hundreds of millions of dollars” in booking volume. She declined to give specific financial details, including revenue and profit/loss, but did say that the company’s unit economics are “highly profitable” but it is seeking growth right now.

“Part of this round is allowing ourselves to go out and reach more businesses,” she added.

For now, Peek is keeping its focus on the U.S. but it has also expanded into Mexico since that is a well-trodden destination for U.S.-based travelers. That focus will continue following this round, with Bashir adamant that with an estimated two percent of activity spend taking place online, there’s plenty of potential growth to be had at home before tackling international markets.

She did, however, say that the decision to work with Cathay Innovation — which raised its inaugural $320 million fund last year — was partly borne out of an awareness that when it is time to overseas, the firm has experience and networks that will be helpful.

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