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IIFA in Abu Dhabi gets in celebratory mode with stardust all over



Kumar Shyam

A gamut of Bollywood stars descended on the Yas Island in Abu Dhabi where Etihad Arena will host the 22nd IIFA Awards and the buzzword on the eve of it was ‘celebration’.

Led by Salman Khan and organised by Wizcraft along with Watermelon as their local partners, the International Indian Film Academy Awards makes its debut in UAE. In keeping with the international feel of the event, journalists from 30 countries were present on invitation at the press conference to give out details on what to expect over the course of the next two days.

Despite the sad death of singer KK three days back, every star or singer present in the room at Etihad Arena on Thursday said they were looking forward to the event for various reasons.

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After trying to pretend he was bored with the speeches, Khan said he was “happy to be here in Abu Dhabi, one of my favourite destinations personally. And IIFA has been like a family.”

Salman also had a bit of banter on stage and off-stage. When Honey Singh and Divya Khosla Kumar tried to present their song ‘Designer’ and the emcee Sidharth Kannan just threw a random question of any future collaboration, Singh said he already had a song ready. Khan chimed in from the front row that “there will be billion views for it” and that was cue enough for Singh to voice out couple of lines for an impromptu jig.

Nerves and anxiety

When all the stars took the stage in lots, each was asked what can fans expect from Saturday’s main event – to be hosted by Khan, Ritesh Deshmukh and Manish Paul while Farah Khan and Aparshakti Khurrana will host the IIFA Rocks, for the music awards, on Friday.

Deshmukh said he was nervous and will look for support from Salman who immediately quipped in Hindi, “Mein khud Allah ke bharose hoon [I am at the mercy of Allah myself]. To which Paul said he was about to say he was a small fry and was expecting the two to lend support.

Also nervous was Shahid Kapoor, who revealed that he will be dancing to the songs of Bappi Lahiri, who died in his sleep earlier this year. “I was a big fan and I am also nervous because it has been a long, long time. People think I am a dancer … but I haven’t actually done it [dance live on stage] for six years! But it’s exciting to be back at live functions and meeting people in person.”

Every one echoed that the IIFA Abu Dhabi, being one of the first awards function to be in-person after three years of disruption due to the pandemic, has everyone looking forward to it.


Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, CEO of IIFA hosts Miral, impressed everyone by starting his address in Hindi. Wizcraft

That included Sara Ali Khan in crimson red attire, Ananya Panday in bright yellow, Tiger Shroff matching Kapoor in light shades of blue and Nora Fatehi in a greenish-brown sobering dress.

Initially Karan Johar was to host the event but the later dropped out when the IIFA had to deferred with the death of Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

Yet, Farah and Khurrana handled questions like a well-gelled unit of professionals and broke into one-liners and jokes naturally during an interaction with the media. Farah also revealed that “two years went off peacefully at home, spending time with the family, but I am getting that itch to make a film again.” Her last direction was in 2014 with Happy New Year.

Asked who was the boss among the two, given the fact that it was Khurrana who hosted the previous IIFA edition, both pointed at each other. Farah stated the obvious of IIFA being on Khurrana’s CV and the latter admitted, but added: “Yes I did conduct it with bhaiya [brother Ayushmann], but she has so many years of experience being on stage, and that matters a lot.”

Asked if the duo were nervous, both said they were well-prepared but they would be if the jokes do not land as they are hoping for.

The married couple of Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai will also be among other stars to be spotted at the Etihad Arena.

Weekend schedule

IIFA Rocks

Hosts: Farah Khan Kunder & Aparshakti Khurana
Performers: Devi Sri Prasad, Tanishk Bagchi, Guru Randhawa, Honey Singh, Neha Kakkar, Dhvani Bhanushali, Zahrah S Khan, Dhvani Bhanushali, Asees Kaur

IIFA Awards

Hosts: Salman Khan, Riteish Deshmukh & Maniesh Paul

Performers: Shahid Kapoor, Tiger Shroff, Kartik Aaryan, Sara Ali Khan, Ananya Panday, Divya Khosla Kumar and Nora Fatehi.


Journalist for 25 years with leading publications in India and UAE such as The National, Mumbai Mirror, DNA, Indian Express and former Sports Editor of Now managing editor of, part of MEMc (


‘KGF’ fame Yash’s new haircut for upcoming film ‘Toxic’ garners fans’ attention




Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], July 23 (ANI): Actor Yash, best known for headlining blockbuster ‘KGF’ franchise, has a huge fan following. The audience not only enjoys his acting skills but also adores his style.

Fans have usually seen Yash sporting a long beard and long hair. Surprisingly, the actor has now donned a new look for his upcoming film ‘Toxic’.

Celebrity hairstylist Alex Vijaykanth, who has been working with Yash for over a decade now, gave him the shorter and edgier hairstyle.

Sharing a picture with Yash on his social media, Alex in the caption wrote, “Crafting a look that’s truly explosive. A custom pompadour for Rocking Star Yash! From the iconic long hair look to the shorter, edgier and intense style for Toxic. Creating a hairstyle that perfectly complements characters played by @thenameisYash is a challenge I relish, and this pompadour is a testament to it.”In the image, Yash is seen getting a grooming session done by Alex.

Fans in no time chimed in the comment section and praised Yash’s new look.

“Woww…Yash looks so handsome,” a social media user commented.

“Yash Boss stealing hearts! With this look,” another one wrote.

‘Toxic’ was announced in December 2023.

Taking to Instagram, Yash shared a post which he captioned, “‘What you seek is seeking you’ – Rumi A Fairy Tale for Grown-ups TOXIC.”Helmed by Geetu Mohandas, the film is all set to hit the theatres on April 10, 2025. The film is touted to be an action-oriented film set against the backdrop of the drug mafia. (ANI)


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Tech Mahindra Global Chess League to Host its Second Edition in London



The Global Chess League, a joint initiative between the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and Tech Mahindra, a leading global provider of technology consulting and digital solutions to enterprises across industries, is set for a highly anticipated second edition in London. Following the success of the first edition, the league aims to unite the world’s top chess players in one of the most historic cities.

The 10-day, one-of-a-kind chess league featuring top players will take place at Friends House, located in the heart of central London, from October 3rd to 12th, 2024. Based on the feedback from fans worldwide, London was selected as the venue for this season to connect with the fast-growing fan base and enthusiasm for chess in the European region.

Arkady Dvorkovich, FIDE President, said“After a fantastic response to the inaugural season, we are excited to continue our mission of expanding the reach of chess worldwide and drawing in new experiences for chess fans. Tech Mahindra’s commitment to usher in a new era in the modern chess ecosystem is commendable, and we are confident that the second edition of the league will provide the right platform and push needed to further elevate the sport.”

Through this innovative league, FIDE and Tech Mahindra aim to revolutionize the fan experience of chess through a new format and ecosystem, providing an inclusive platform for fans to support their favourite teams and stars, similar to major global sports leagues. The second edition will feature top players from around the world, including reigning world champions and rising stars, competing in a unique team format that emphasizes strategy, collaboration, and high-stakes play.

Mohit Joshi, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tech Mahindra, said, “Chess and business share key values such as planning, speed, strategy, and risk management. The infusion of technology opens exciting new opportunities, transforming both fields. The Global Chess League’s second edition creates a unique platform for the global growth of Chess.”

Building on the success of its first season, the league aims to further broaden the viewership base through live broadcasts, interactive fan experiences, and community engagement activities like soon to be launched Global Chess League Trophy Tour. In the tournament, the players will compete in a unique joint team format consisting of six players, including two top women chess players and a prodigy player per team. Each team will play a total of 10 matches in a double round-robin format, with the winner of each match being decided in a best-of-six board scoring system.

Peeyush Dubey, Chairperson, Global Chess League Board, said, “We will continue to leverage the Global Chess League’s innovative format and next-gen technologies to captivate and engage fans worldwide. The second edition is seeing unprecedented excitement from our partners and stakeholders. Together with FIDE, our vision for the league is to bring the best from the chess world.”

The second season will see FIDE and Tech Mahindra collaborate to tap into the growing chess fan base, build a larger audience for chess viewing, and engage in exciting fan activities such as the ongoing all-inclusive hackathon. The hackathon engages with participants of all chess skill levels and technical expertise and collates ideas for improving the way chess is experienced, played, and consumed. Participants can propose ideas in various categories, including education, digital innovation, social impact, business, and arts, among others.

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Enrique Iglesias to perform at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena this September



Global superstar Enrique Iglesias is returning to Dubai for a concert at Coca-Cola Arena on Friday, September 13.

Iglesias, who is known for his infectious dance tracks and chart-topping ballads, has sold over 180 million records worldwide in a career spanning well over two decades and is one of the world’s most streamed and viewed artists with over 40 billion streams across all platforms.

He has received countless awards as a singer and songwriter, with a legacy of hits that have made him a global phenomenon.

Fans will be singing and dancing the night away to a setlist including the likes of HeroBailamos, Escape and Tonight. 

This will be Enrique Iglesias’ first concert at Coca-Cola Arena having last played in Dubai at the Jazz Festival in 2017.

Exclusive presale tickets to see Enrique Iglesias in Dubai will be available from 8am on Wednesday, 29 May for 24 hours. General tickets will then go on sale on Thursday, 30 May at 8am.

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