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UAE’s green carpet welcomes Indian film elite to Bollywood Awards

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Indian celebrities and Bollywood stars walked the green carpet — the signature color of the International Academy of Indian Film Awards — Friday in the United Arab Emirates for the second year in a row.

The 23rd “Bollywood Oscars” will take place over two days at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Friday night kicked off with performances by Bollywood A-listers such as Badshah and Rajkummar Rao.

The spotlight will shift to the main event Saturday night, a lavish awards ceremony honoring cinematic achievements of the past year.

“Movie stars and the industry are often far away from places like India, and as we travel the world, we can bring them closer and create a bigger industry,” said Noreen Khan, IIFA Vice President.

Home to more than 3.5 million Indians, the UAE has undeniable links to India’s thriving multi-billion-dollar film industry. Bollywood continues to expand its presence in the UAE, with films produced and screened across the country and wealthy Bollywood celebrities buying prime real estate in the emirate’s federation.

“When will you get a chance to see Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and everybody up close, so I think it will be a great way to connect the world with Bollywood,” said Farah Khan, a veteran film director. He participated in every show IIFA Awards.

The annual award ceremony also provides an opportunity for Indian celebrities to showcase their fashion, and this year is no exception. Celebrities such as Urvashi Rautela, Abhishek Bachchan and Nora Fatehi showcased their dress choices on the green carpet.

“I was here last year and I met Salman Khan and he gave me three songs in his film and that’s how important it is,” said singer Sukhbir Singh, who will perform on Friday. “So this is where the connections are made.”

Salman Khan, one of the biggest names in Indian cinema and brand ambassador for IIFA 2023, will perform on Saturday night. Hindi film stars Abhishek Bachchan and Vicky Kaushal will host the event, and veteran actor Kamal Haasan will receive an award for Outstanding Achievement in Indian Cinema.

More than 18,000 local and international fans lined the streets and packed the Etihad Arena, eager to catch a glimpse of their favorite stars.

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