01/22/2013 02:47 EST | Updated 01/22/2013 11:40 EST

Times Of India Film Awards: Vancouver Hosts Bollywood Stars

Vancouver will see Bollywood's most glamorous stars as it hosts the inaugural Times of India Film Awards in April, announced B.C. Premier Christy Clark on Tuesday.

The province will spend $9.5 million on the three-day event to be held across Metro Vancouver April 4-6, as well as another $1.5 million on a business forum and other trade events at the same time. Clark touted it as an opportunity to strengthen ties between British Columbia and India.

She said hundreds of millions of people are expected to tune in on TV.

Clark estimates the events to bring $13 million to $18 million to the province.

The Times of India Film Awards were not the province's first choice. British Columbia's bid to host the Indian equivalent of the Oscars, the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA), was rejected, reported The Globe and Mail.

The IIFA were held in Toronto in 2011, at a cost of $12 million to the Ontario government.

The Times of India Film Awards are based on global fan voting for their favourite stars across 14 categories.

Critics are questioning the timing for the awards ceremony, which is weeks before the May provincial election, said CBC.

The province's film industry has also been slamming the Clark government for not providing enough tax breaks to boost local productions.

"The local film industry isn't getting much help from the B.C. government, so what kind of message the government is trying to convey by inviting Bollywood stars over here?" Gurpreet Singh, a talk show host with Surrey-based Radio India, told CBC.

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