Varun Dhawan performing at the 23rd IIFA Awards ceremony.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
Sobha Realty IIFA Rocks (May 26 – 27) witnessed a breath-taking celebration comprising fun, glamour, delightful performances and surprises, with mesmerising acts, all under one roof at one of the grandest celebrations of Indian Cinema. The International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) was held in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and Miral, Abu Dhabi’s creator of immersive destinations and experiences.
Performances by Amit Trivedi, Badshah, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhbir Singh, Palak Muchhal and Iulia Vantur, were presented by Farah Khan and Rajkummar Rao. IIFA Rocks turned out to be a venue for displaying musical ability, with music maestros of the business pitching in with their talent. Rocks was also a musical spectacle befitting the biggest film industry in the world.
The musical spectacular began with a dance performance by Palak Muchhal, followed by Farah Khan’s dance act. Rajkummar Rao took the stage while playing the song Main Hoon Na, and the two recreated a scene from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, where they greeted the crowd, engaging in witty conversation about friendship.
Sunidhi Chauhan, Badshah starring Jacqueline Fernandez, Rakul Preet Singh and Nora Fatehi, offered enthralling performances. Amit Trivedi captivated the audience with his voice while performing with Arun Kamat, Devendra Palse, Meghna Mishra, and Yashita Sharma. The dhols set everyone tapping, thanks to Sukhbir Singh and Iulia Vantur. The event came to a conclusion with none other than Nucleya.
One of the highlights of IIFA Rocks was a special collection showcased by Bollywood’s favourite designer Manish Malhotra. It reflected an occasion where ‘old world charm met new world glam’. Salman Khan and Nora Fatehi were hailed as the showstoppers on the closing evening.
Sobha Realty presented the star-studded IIFA Weekend as the Title Sponsor of the Sobha IIFA Weekend, and Co-Presenter of the Nexa IIFA Awards. Commenting on the IIFA collaboration, Ravi Menon, Co-chairman of Sobha Realty, said: “We are delighted to be the title sponsors of the 23rd edition of IIFA Weekend. With a rich culture of performing arts in our nation itself, we are honoured to recognise and celebrate the long-standing allure of Indian cinema and its outstanding contributors.
“Indian films are watched across the world, and we are pleased to welcome the numerous actors, artists, and talents of our nation, further bringing Indian cinema to a global audience. IIFA recognises the highest quality and artistic expressions in the Indian film sector, just like we at Sobha Realty recognise the value of quality, art, and design in our work.”
The event was held at the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue, Etihad Arena, part of Yas Bay Waterfront on Yas Island. The Island is one of the world’s fastest-growing leisure and entertainment destinations, located on the shores of Abu Dhabi. It is home to magical adventures besides inspiring entertainment, with three globally renowned theme parks, notable motorsports, an award-winning golf venue and world-class hospitality services.
IIFA is dedicated to building bridges across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations, aiming to realise the dream One People, One World. It is perhaps the most appreciated South Asian film academy and a global platform that gives the Indian film fraternity an opportunity to reach audiences internationally.
The alliances made via the platform of IIFA provide major benefits and gain to India’s cultural sector. An equally important objective is to create similar benefits for the host country. The aim is to establish a system of mutual benefit to both India as well as host destinations by boosting tourism, economic development, trade, culture, cross-border investments and film co-productions.
The IIFA Weekend & Awards each year travel to new destinations, allowing the film fraternity to unite and celebrate the best of Indian film and culture. Miral is Abu Dhabi’s creator of destinations, uniting people and places through immersive and noteworthy experiences. Responsible for the development and management of Yas Island, Miral’s assets encompass entertainment, hospitality, leisure, sport, dining and retail destinations.
The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors and its creative industries, fuelling economic progress and helping achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage and landscape.
Saleh Mohamed Saleh Al Geziry, Director General of Tourism, DCT Abu Dhabi said that “our relationship with India, which is based on shared cultural and economic interests, has been boosted even further by the fact that Abu Dhabi has served as the setting for a number of Bollywood blockbusters, allowing people all over the world to learn about our stunning country.”
The Nexa IIFA Awards was won by Hrithik Roshan (best actor in a leading male role for Vikram Vedha); Alia Bhatt (best actor in a leading female role for Gangubai Kathiawadi); R Madhavan (best direction category for Rocketry: The Nambi Effect) and Riteish and Genelia (special award for outstanding achievement in regional cinema).
Drishyam 2 won the best picture category; performance in a supporting role (female) went to Mouni Roy; performance in a supporting role (male) was for Anil Kapoor; Pritam won for music direction; Shreya Ghoshal won playback singer (female) award and Arijit Singh won playback singer (male). Kamal Haasan was presented the award for his outstanding achievement in Indian Cinema and designer Manish Malhotra was honoured for outstanding achievement in fashion in cinema.
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"Alankrita Anvita, Ankur Mukherjee, Amrit Mahajan and I shared and carried that sentiment with us. It really was like finding a community. Meetings were held, not in production houses but in homes over food and music, jokes, and poetry.”