04/05/2013 01:55 EDT | Updated 06/04/2013 05:12 EDT

Bollywood's biggest stars descend on Vancouver for Hindi cinema film awards

VANCOUVER - Some of Bollywood's biggest stars are descending on Vancouver for this weekend's Hindi cinema equivalent of the Academy Awards.

Hundreds of sari- and suit-clad fans are kicking off the inaugural Times of India Film Awards at a concert Thursday night featuring the music and dance of Bollywood films.

The concert is the first of numerous events over the weekend, which will culminate in a star-studded awards show on Saturday.

Twenty-one-year-old Manila Subedi says she bought tickets to the events as soon as they went on sale in February.

She says even though her non-South Asian friends don't know what all the fuss is about, in India some of the stars are as famous as actors like Brad Pitt.

The B.C. government has spent $11 million to host and promote the awards, according to a Tourism Ministry release, and coverage is estimated to attract 400 million viewers from India and around the world.