On Saturday, the UAE will play host to the International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Awards, a showcase for the faltering Hindi-language film industry. Some of Bollywood’s top stars will walk the characteristic green carpet. In Abu Dhabi, the capital of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, where more than a third of the 10 million residents are Indian, Salman Khan and Abhishek Bachchan are among the A-list celebrities.
After a year in which Bollywood, Mumbai’s Hindi movie industry, has underperformed post-pandemic, the stars will walk the green carpet, which was introduced in 2007 as a gesture to climate change.
The development of streaming, competition from other regions of India, and a move away from Bollywood’s frequently flimsy narratives have all helped keep theatres quiet, according to analysts.
Bollywood, however, got a boost in March when the popular dance number Naatu Naatu became the first Indian film to win an Oscar for best song.
Another encouraging development for the sector came in January, when Shah Rukh Khan’s Pathaan broke all previous records at the Indian box office.
Akshaye Rathi, director of the Aashirvad Cinemas chain and industry expert, described the Gulf as a “huge market” for Bollywood due to the region’s millions of South Asian citizens and migrant workers.
Before the 23rd IIFA, which will be held in Abu Dhabi for the second consecutive year, Rathi told AFP that “these kinds of events don’t overcome a crisis overnight.”
“But event by event, occasion by occasion the viewers keep reminding the diaspora there, the locals there about the existence of this wonderfully robust entertainment-producing fraternity.”
Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva, a fantasy-adventure movie, has been nominated in ten categories, including direction, best supporting male and female, and best original plot.
The horror-comedy Dark comedies Darlings and Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2 are both up for awards for best picture, best director, and best leading actress.
“I’m happy to know that IIFA is sold out completely, thank you all,” Khan, a doyen of Indian cinema, said in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.
“I’m sure everyone’s got four or five tickets.”
Bollywood is the most prolific movie maker in the world and is renowned for its rich musical heritage.
In 2019, the Hindi film business had a $2.5 billion market value. Additionally, India produces hundreds of films each year in its other 21 recognised languages, totaling 1,600.
Lockdowns caused by the pandemic put the industry into a spiral, with multiplex chains incurring significant losses and scores of tiny theatres going out of business.
In order to reflect Bollywood’s widespread appeal and the sizable Indian diaspora, the IIFA awards have been presented in several locations throughout the world, such as London, Madrid, Johannesburg, and Singapore.
“Bollywood is a very important window for the world to Indian cultural traditions, “In Abu Dhabi, Sunjay Sudhir, India’s ambassador to the UAE, remarked.
Sachi Patidar is currently pursuing B.A. in Journalism (Hons.). She is an enthusiastic about writing contents. Sachi is currently working at The Shining Media.