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‘Brahmastra’ grabs gongs at Bollywood awards in UAE

Abhishek Bachchan was among the biggest Bollywood names on the green carpet
Abhishek Bachchan was among the biggest Bollywood names on the green carpet - Copyright AFP KARIM SAHIB
Abhishek Bachchan was among the biggest Bollywood names on the green carpet - Copyright AFP KARIM SAHIB

Fantasy adventure “Brahmastra: Part One — Shiva” won a series of prizes as the glitzy International Indian Film Academy Awards show started in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Star songstress Shreya Ghoshal won best female playback singer for her turn in the romance-laced epic, which also took awards for music direction and lyrics.

The show, studded with flashy dance numbers, is being held in the capital of the oil-rich United Arab Emirates, a third of whose population is Indian, for the second year running.

Earlier the green carpet — adopted in 2007 in a vote for environmentalism — bore some of Bollywood’s biggest names including Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Sara Ali Khan.

“What does IIFA mean for (Indian) cinema? I think opening up to the global stage and also bringing us to the global stage as well, so it’s exciting both ways,” said actress Jacqueline Fernandez, wearing an Arab-inspired head covering.

The Hindi-language film industry was worth $2.5 billion in 2019. India also releases hundreds of films in its 21 other official languages, churning out about 1,600 each year.

But Mumbai-based Bollywood, the world’s most prolific producer of movies, has been mired in crisis since the pandemic with ticket sales remaining low since cinemas reopened.

The rise in streaming services, competition from other parts of India and demand for meatier fare than Bollywood’s trademark song-and-dance routines have all contributed to the slump, experts say.

However, superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s “Pathaan” smashed Indian box office records in January, in a positive sign for the industry.

Indian cinema also received a boost in March when viral dance hit “Naatu Naatu” won an Oscar for best song, a first for a film from the country.

The IIFA show, one of a number of Indian awards ceremonies, is aimed at reaching international audiences and has been held in several countries since its debut in London in 2000.

AFP
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With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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