It was lights, camera and action for IIFA as the curtains lifted for its 2022 edition in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. It marked the end of a three-year wait for fans for a new edition of IIFA and the end of a four-year wait for a return of a global edition of IIFA. The awards weekend has become synonymous with taking India cinema and the biggest Bollywood stars to a new part of the world every year, projecting the role played our films as the country’s soft power. Through IIFA, a new country’s citizens get to learn about Indian cinema, culture, food & languages. Along with this, the fans get to come up, close & personal with their favorite cinema idols. This year was no different with Bollywood aficionados making a beeline for Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
UAE has always had a special connection with India and the Indian film industry due to good relations & the proximity. Several successful films have been shot in the UAE & several film-stars are often spotted in the UAE for work and holiday. Therefore, an IIFA in the UAE was bound to be successful and it sure was.
Despite two postponements due to Covid and the UAE President’s demise, the enthusiasm did not come down and the event saw a packed arena. Actor Salman Khan was certainly the star attraction this year, taking on the mantle of the host for the ceremony with much élan. His one-liners through the IIFA weekend regaled his industry colleagues & the fans. His camaraderie with co-hosts Riteish Deshmukh & Maniesh Paul stood out at the main ceremony. Salman spoke through the weekend of how special Abu Dhabi is for him with him, having shot blockbuster films like Ek Tha Tiger and Race 3 there.
IIFA 2022 also marked the return of the Bachchans to the IIFA stage after a hiatus. Abhishek’s performance was full of energy. However, the highlight was his wife Aishwarya and daughter Aaradhya applauding him throughout and dancing on their seats. Abhishek and Aishwarya spoke on the green carpet about the love showered on their family by fans globally at IIFA and at the recently concluded Cannes Film Festival.
Shahid Kapoor was also back as a performer on the IIFA stage this year paying a special tribute to singer Bappi Lahiri, whom we lost earlier this year. Shahid is one of Bollywood’s most energetic live performers and was joined in his act by actors Nora Fatehi and Ananya Panday. Nora and Ananya also performed separately as did Tiger Shroff, Sara Ali Khan & Divya Khosla Kumar. While Nora got a lucky young fan to give her company on stage, Ananya conquered her nervousness and gave a confident debut performance on the IIFA stage.
Kriti Sanon and Vicky Kaushal were the big acting trophy winners of the night while the film ‘Shershaah’ won Best Film & Best Director. A special moment of the night was Suniel Shetty proudly handing the Best Debut trophy to his son Ahan Shetty.