Abu Dhabi (AFP) Crime thriller ‘Drishyam 2’ has been crowned Best Picture as Bollywood glossed over its recent battles with a high-octane show from the International Indian Film Academy Awards in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
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Director Abhishek Pathak’s gritty remake of a Malayalam film won the top honor at the end of a four-hour ceremony of pumping dance routines that showcased the film industry in the Hindi language.
The best director went to Ranganathan Madhavan for “Rocketry: The Nambi Effect”. Hrithik Roshan won Best Actor for his role in ‘Vikram Vedha’ and Alia Bhatt won Best Actress for ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’.
“Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva” won numerous awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Mouni Roy and Best Female Performer for star singer Shreya Ghoshal.
The IIFA awards, intended to reach an international audience, took place for the second consecutive year in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates where more than a third of the 10 million inhabitants are Indian.
The Hindi-language film industry was worth $2.5 billion in 2019. India also releases hundreds of films in its other 21 official languages, producing around 1,600 films in total each year.
But Mumbai-based Bollywood, the world’s most prolific film producer, has been mired in crisis since the pandemic, with ticket sales remaining weak since cinemas reopened.
The rise of streaming services, competition from other parts of India and the demand for heartier fare than Bollywood song and dance routines have all contributed to the crisis, experts say.
However, superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s “Pathaan” broke Indian box office records in January, a positive sign for the industry.
Shiny golden shirt
Indian cinema also received a boost in March when the viral dance hit “Naatu Naatu” won the Best Song Oscar, a first for a film from the country.
“What does IIFA mean for (Indian) cinema? actress Jacqueline Fernandez, wearing an Arab-inspired headgear.
Among the highlights, heartthrob Varun Dhawan, dressed in a shiny gold shirt, rode the stage in a mini dune buggy, and ceremony host Vicky Kaushal drew cheers from the audience when he launched into a dance number.
Actor and eco-activist Dia Mirza reminded the crowd of pressing environmental concerns months before the United Arab Emirates, one of the world’s largest oil producers, hosted the COP28 climate talks United Nations in November and December.
Veteran actor Kamal Haasan was honored for his outstanding achievements in Indian cinema and Anil Kapoor won Best Supporting Actor for his role in ‘Jugjugg Jeeyo’.
“Darlings” won Best Original Story, and Best Female Debut was Khushali Kumar in “Dhokha: Round D Corner.”
The IIFA show, one of many Indian awards ceremonies, has taken place in several countries since its debut in London in 2000. Voting is done online by fans.
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