Bollywood’s Oscars return with an all-singing, all-dancing awards event in Abu Dhabi.
The lavishly planned stage production was crowded with Indian A-listers.
With an all-singing, all-dancing awards event in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Bollywood’s Oscars returned for the first time since the plague began.
The International Indian Film Academy Awards celebration, which featured a belly-dancing piece during the lavishly planned stage production, was crowded with Indian A-listers. The Hindi-language film business, which is noted for its strong musical legacy, is the world’s most prolific filmmaker.
Vicky Kaushal won Best Leading Male for “Sardar Udham,” a film about Indian revolutionary seeking vengeance on the British officer responsible for the 1919 Amritsar slaughter.
Kriti Sanon took home the award for a best female lead for her role in “Mimi,” a comedy-drama about the burgeoning surrogacy industry and attitudes toward lone mothers. For the same film, Sai Tamhankar won best supporting female.
Salman Khan, one of Bollywood’s heavyweights, kicked off the show by riding into the auditorium on a motorcycle, a gold IIFA trophy slung over his shoulder.
“We saw that in the last two years the world closed down. Many of us lost our loved ones. Many lost their jobs as well. We faced many difficulties. All of us together overcame the difficulty,” he told the packed venue.
“When the world slowly opened, cinema halls were the last to open. But it got filled up first. You saved the film industry and everyone who worked in the industry,” said Khan.
Tiger Shroff, the son of 1980s superstar Jacky Shroff and one of the new school of stars, pulled off his jacket and danced bare-chested in shades and glittery slacks in the first routine.
Outside, famous celebs like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Urvashi Rautela, as well as Emirati nobility like Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the minister of state for tolerance, walked the green carpet, which was switched from red in 2007 to boost climate awareness.
Musical direction was shared by a group of nominees that included A.R. Rahman, B. Praak, Jaani, and Pritam; Sharvari Wagh was voted best debut female, and Ahan Shetty was chosen best debut male.
Pankaj Tripathi won best supporting male actor for “Ludo”. Jubin Nautiyal won best male playback singer — whose voice is dubbed over the actor’s — for his work on “Shershaah”.
In 2019, the Hindi film business was worth $2.5 billion and produced more films than any other. Every year, India releases hundreds of films in its 21 official languages.
However, pandemic lockdowns put the business into a tailspin, with multiplex chains losing millions of dollars and scores of local theatres closing their doors. According to accounting company EY, India’s media and entertainment earnings fell by a quarter to $18.7 billion in 2020.
The shutdown of movie theatres triggered a boom in streaming platform subscriptions, with American services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney’s Hotstar capitalizing on a surge in online audiences.