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Published on: June 16, 2022, 5:28 p.m.
The IIFA magic returns
  • The stars hold centre stage in Yas Island Abu Dhabi

By Lancelot Joseph. Executive Editor, Business India

The world over, Covid-19 has taken a toll on all award functions. Now, two years after the pandemic hiatus, the International Indian Film Academy and Awards (IIFA), which celebrates achievements of Indian cinema, has held a star-studded awards ceremony at the Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, in the first week of June 2022, giving Indian cinema a global platform. The ceremony was held at the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue, Etihad Arena, which is part of the Yas Bay Waterfront.

This was in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading creator of immersive destinations and experiences. The extravagant awards night, which was the 22nd edition of the IIFA, was hosted by the Bollywood star Salman Khan, with Riteish Deshmukh, Maniesh Paul, Abhishek Bachchan, Shahid Kapoor, Tiger Shroff, Sara Ali Khan, Ananya Panday, Divya Khosla Kumar and Nora Fatehi, also on the stage, amongst others. Shahid Kapoor presented the finale with a spectacular performance designed as a tribute to Bollywood ‘Disco King’ Bappi Lahiri.

“Considering the strong historical and cultural relations between India and the UAE, Abu Dhabi is perhaps the most appropriate venue for IIFA,” said Sunjay Sudhir, India’s ambassador to the UAE. “Mumbai, which is the heart of Bollywood, has also been home for generations of Emiratis and a major trading port connecting the UAE with India. Today, our cultural connect has become even more vibrant in addition to our trade and investment ties. IIFA is contributing to this cultural connect and people to people relations”.

“It is exciting to finally see the IIFA Awards 2022 here on Yas Island,” observed Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO, Miral. “The event has brought some of the biggest movie stars under the roof of Etihad Arena, Yas Bay’s world-class event venue, which is set to reinforce the island’s position as a top global destination for leisure and entertainment, while further re-energising the capital’s tourism landscape.” Miral, Abu Dhabi’s creator of destinations, unites people and places through unique, immersive and exciting experiences. Responsible for the development and management of Yas Island, Miral’s assets encompass entertainment, hospitality, leisure, sport, dining and retail destinations. 

Today, Yas Island is home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros World, Abu Dhabi, Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Mall, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Marina and eight hotels, including Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, located on Yas Bay, the soon to be Abu Dhabi’s premier waterfront destination.

“The return of IIFA awards in Abu Dhabi is an incredible milestone for our exciting entertainment calendar. Our bond with India, founded on cultural and economic ties, has been further strengthened with Abu Dhabi serving as the backdrop to numerous Bollywood blockbusters, enabling the sharing of our beautiful destination with audiences around the world”, said E. Saleh Mohamed Saleh Al Geziry, Director General of Tourism, DCT Abu Dhabi, which drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors and its creative industries, fuelling economic progress and helping to achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions.

By working in partnership with the organisations that define the DCT Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of the DCT Abu Dhabi’s potential, co-ordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture, tourism and creative industries. DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. 

IIFA’s cause partner, Woosh Washing expert for the fourth consecutive edition, partners IIFA to share the message, ‘Equality begins at home’, holding a firm banner for gender equality. Joining as the official travel partner is Ease My Trip, one of India’s leading online travel aggregators; FnP, the world’s gifting platform, which has recently launched in the UAE, along with partners Sarwa Corporation, D’décor and Krisumi Corporation. 

Meanwhile, Nexa from Maruti Suzuki India stood committed to IIFA continuing its partnership for the sixth consecutive edition as the title sponsor of the IIFA Awards. “Nexa has always celebrated the relentless spirit of creators who continuously explore, innovate and experiment to inspire the world. It is for this very reason that Nexa, for six consecutive years, has collaborated with IIFA, which is a platform to recognise India’s top creative talent in the world of Cinema and celebrate the best in Cinema Arts.

With IIFA, we have a perfect association as we share a common vision of creating global experiences, which has established the premium imagery of both the brands” observed Shashank Srivastava, senior executive director, marketing & sales, Maruti Suzuki India.

“Here at Sportsbuzz.com we aim to cater to each and every of your sporting needs,” remarked Sportsbuzz.com spokesperson, commenting on the IIFA collaboration. “We aim to give you the latest worldwide updates of the sporting world in the blink of an eye. With a team of creative minds with sports flowing through their veins, we are dedicated to serving you content that keeps you on top of your favourite sport. Be it cricket, football, tennis, or any sport you can think of! Get the latest news, opinions, controversies, and updates at your fingertips. All at Sportsbuzz, the home of all sports news. The best in the field for upcoming matches, latest score updates, controversies, and viral news first amongst all. Sports are not just a pastime for their followers, they are a passion, a commitment.” 

This year, IIFA will be broadcast exclusively on India’s No.1 premium Hindi entertainment channel, Colors, with a stunning line-up of star-studded programming. For the digital-savvy viewers, the same will be available on India’s leading content platform, Josh and Daily Hunt, from the house of VerSe group. “IIFA is one of the most revered awards that celebrates Indian Cinema and its diverse talent on a global stage,” commented Nina Elavia Jaipuria, head, Hindi Mass Entertainment and Kids TV Network, Viacom18, speaking about the partnership. “We bring to our viewers across the globe unlimited entertainment featuring Bollywood’s biggest stars, spectacular performances and unforgettable moments.” 

“IIFA is dedicated to building bridges across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations, creating everyone’s dream: One People. One World. IIFA is the most appreciated South Asian film academy and a global platform that gives the Indian film fraternity an opportunity to reach audiences in international territories. The alliances made via the platform of IIFA provide huge benefits and gain to India and an equally important objective is to create similar benefits in the host country. The aim is to establish a system of mutual benefit to both India as well as the host destinations by boosting tourism, economic development, trade, culture, cross-border investments and film co-productions. The IIFA Weekend & Awards each year travels to new, exciting and beautiful destinations, taking the film fraternity to unite and celebrate the best of Indian film and culture, thereby taking Indian Cinema and India to a wider audience”, said Noreen Khan, VP, IIFA.

With its growing popularity across the world, IIFA today is recognised as a global institution in its own right, and a platform that is recognised as the most engaging celebration of Indian cinema.

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