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Bollywood comes to Brampton to celebrate Indian diva

Bollywood star Bipasha Basu uncovers a commemorating plaque to celebrate IIFA in Toronto and her contribution to the film industry during the Walk of Fame at The Rose Theatre, Brampton Ontario June 17, 2011.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail/Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

The Bollywood Oscars are still a week away, but Bollywood stars have already descended on the GTA and are ready to dazzle.

Bollywood diva Bipasha Basu was honoured on Friday with a legacy plaque on Brampton's Walk of Fame, one of the city's events capitalizing on the buzz created by the Indian International Film Academy awards.

Scores of South Asian fans gathered outside the Rose Theatre to catch a glimpse of the 32-year-old Indian actress, who has starred in hit Bollywood flicks like Jism and Race. The former model has won accolades for her serious roles in films like Corporate, but is also a fan favourite for her Bollywood dance "items." She named Canadian band Nickelback as a favourite and said she is excited to be in Brampton for the first time.

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"This is a big step for IIFA and the Hindi film industry to be in Canada," Ms. Basu said. "So I'm hoping we can put on a great show and we're expecting a lot of support and love [from fans]too."

Also on hand was RDB (Rhythm, Dhol, Bass), a British-South Asian band that has worked with many Bollywood A-list celebrities, such as Akshay Kumar, the Canadian Tourism Commission's ambassador to India.

The band and Mr. Kumar collaborated for the 2008 Bollywood blockbuster Singh is Kinng, bringing their distinctive Punjabi bhangra flavour to the film's soundtrack.

RDB's leads, Manj Singh and Nindy Kaur, relocated to Canada about 10 years ago. The group has now been named the brand ambassadors for Brampton and received a plaque commemorating IIFA as well.

"Music is such a big part of Bollywood, and if a film's soundtrack isn't good, the film maybe won't do well," RDB member Surjit Singh said. "So we really try to have as an international sound as possible and appeal to audiences all over the world, including Canada."

IIFA will make its North American premiere in Toronto for a three-day celebration starting June 23. Both RDB and Ms. Basu will perform at the awards ceremony.

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