Deepika Grand Marshal at India Day Parade 2008 in New York City

Deepika Padukone, who stormed Bollywood with her debut film Om Shanti Om last year, is to lead the 28th India Day Parade here as Grand Marshal Aug 17 to celebrate India’s 61st Independence Day.

The parade, organised every year by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA), moves down Madison Avenue in Manhattan, culminating at a venue where cultural and entertainment programmes are held.

The parade attracts around 50,000 people, making it the biggest such event outside India.

Announcing details of the parade, FIA President Yash Paul Soi said at a kick-off meeting Tuesday at the Indian consulate here that former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has also been invited.

Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra was the Grand Marshal last year and Indian American astronaut Sunita Williams the Guest of Honour.