Bollywood’s Arabian Nights
AIBA, the newest entrant in a line of awards shows in Dubai, has big plans for the future
Suhail Abdul Latif Galadari, Director of Galadari Brothers, gives away the award for Best Supporting Actor to Inaamulhaq for Filmistaan
Indian ‘soft power’. For long, that’s what Bollywood — coined specifically so it could have the sway ‘Hollywood’ has worldwide — has been identified with. With global &releases — in theatres (Bollywood films now have synchronised releases in key markets the world over), satellite television channels and the home entertainment sector — the best of Indian showbiz is being lapped up by an international audience. One may argue that comprises mostly of the substantial NRI (non-resident Indian) population scattered all over the world, but you cannot deny more and more &non-Indians are being held in thraldom (did you watch the YouTube video that went viral: the German ambassador to India re-enacting a Kal Ho Na Ho chartbuster along with his wife? It could well have have been SRK and Preity Zinta, that’s how convincing they were!).
Jacqueline Fernandez shakes a leg
The UAE, with its 2.6 million (and growing) Indian critical mass, has always been a huge overseas market for Bollywood. Stars are here regularly for big-ticket shows and promotional tours. The most colourful feather in the film industry’s cap is perhaps organising Bollywood awards nights right here. The International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA) were held in Dubai in 2006, the Global Indian Film Awards in 2005. And last month, on May 31, there was the first chapter of the Indo-Arab Bollywood Awards (AIBA), an awards ceremony that will be an annual affair in Dubai for the foreseeable future.
FRONT ROW SEATS: Suhail Galadari with wife Zoella
AIBA was held at the Meydan Racecourse, and you’d have been forgiven for thinking you were in Mumbai, the home of Bollywood: stars with top billing, razzle-dazzle, larger-than-life play-outs and ever-swelling crowds. Priyanka Chopra descended in a hot air balloon; Salman Khan set the dance floor on fire; Karan Johar was at his wittiest best. Fans scrambled to get an up-close view of their favourite stars. The brightest talents and the best films went back with trophies as badges of honour. It was a night to remember.
The cast of Dil Dhadakne Do step it up on stage
The best bit is that this is just the beginning. AIBA will be back next year, and organisers — like event management company Cineyug that handled AIBA’s creative and production aspects — are thrilled with the thumping endorsement it has received. Lucky Morani, Cineyug’s creative adviser, summarised: “The response was massive and we want to make AIBA a very big event in the future.” The best is yet to be.
Photos by Shihab/ Khaleej Times