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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 (


Here are some glimpses of Anant-Radhka’s pre-wedding



Jamnagar (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): Bollywood celebrities, sports personalities, and other guests are having a gala time in the pre-wedding festivities of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant in Jamnagar.

Several videos and pictures from the event went viral on social media.

Mega superstar Amitabh Bachchan can be seen having a conversation with Mukesh Ambani.

Actors Aditya Roy Kapoor can be seen happily posing with Ananya Panday and Ranbir Kapoor.

Superstar Shah Rukh Khan and Rihana can be seen dancing with each other.

The Kapoor fam including Ranbir Kapoor, Alia Bhatt and Kareena Kapoor are all smiles and pose for shutterbugs.

Soon parents-to-be Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone could be seen exuding major couple goals with their stylish looks.

The ‘Gully Boy’ actor looked dapper as he wore an all-white suit. He opted for a heavy beard and accessorized his look with black and red shades.

Deepika, on the other hand, looked gorgeous in an all-black cut-sleeve dress. She tied her hair with a black ribbon and accessorized her look with statement jewelry.

Actor Disha Patani looks gorgeous in a black dress.

Star couple Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia Deshmukh exude royal couple vibes.

Riteish wore a white tuxedo while Genelia opted for a black gown with a chic necklace and a bun.

Actor Suniel Shetty with his wife Mana Shetty can be seen posing happily for the cameras.

SRK looks handsome and can be seen posing for a picture with his wife Gauri Khan and children Suhana Khan and AbRam Khan.

Alia and Janhvi look stunning in their outfits. Alia turned heads in a blue embellished shimmery off-shoulder bodycon gown and Janhvi wore a shimmery silver dress with minimal makeup.

In another pic, Bebo is seen posing with actors Sonam Kapoor and Alia Bhatt at the gala event.

Several videos and pictures from the gala night went viral on social media.

Day 1 of the festivities witnessed a special drone show followed by a splendid performance by pop sensation Rihanna.

Day 2 was filled with electrifying performances of celebrities and other cute moments from the event.Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Saif Ali Khan, Varun Dhawan, Anil Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Ibrahim Ali Khan, Ananya Panday and Aditya Roy Kapur. Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt are also attending the mega bash.

Founder and chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani spoke about the pre-wedding function of her son, Anant Ambani, with Radhika Merchant.

She shared the relevance of art and culture and how she is “passionate” about it, saying, “Throughout my life I have been inspired by arts and culture. It has deeply moved me and I am very passionate about it.”While talking about her son’s wedding she mentioned, “When it came to my youngest son Anant’s wedding with Radhika, I had two important wishes – first, I wanted to celebrate our roots…Jamnagar holds a special place in our hearts and has a profound significance. Gujarat is where we come from, it’s where Mukesh and his father built the refinery and I started my career by converting this arid and desert-like area into a lush green township and a vibrant community.”(ANI)

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Experts at Xposure 2024 showcase next era of technical screen marvels on how we make, see films



SHARJAH, 3rd March, 2024 (WAM) — This weekend, the Xposure International Photography Festival hosted an exciting panel discussion themed “The Unreal Future of Film”, where leading film industry figures delved into the realm of virtual production, Extended Reality (XR), and the innovative Unreal Engine, the world’s most open and advanced real-time 3D creation tool for photoreal visuals and immersive experiences.

The session offered a unique glimpse into the cutting-edge technologies shaping the future of storytelling and content creation. The filmmakers and industry executives on the panel, each with a wealth of experience and insights, included Olivier Geyhsen, a filmmaker and XR artist known for his pioneering work integrating technology into storytelling; Siraj Jhaveri, a director with over three decades of experience, known for his dynamic visual style; Bartosz Jankowski, an experienced producer and screenwriter specialising in audiovisual event production and Virtual Production technology; and Bora Batur, a production designer with nearly two decades of experience in visual storytelling and set design.

The session kicked off with an exploration of virtual production, with Jhaveri providing insights into merging the physical and digital worlds. Discussing the process, he highlighted the ability to create immersive environments where the physical meets the digital seamlessly. “Virtual elements are added to existing footage, allowing for changes in not only specific objects, but settings, backgrounds and locations,” Jhaveri said.

Geyhsen highlighted the opportunities presented by virtual production, letting filmmakers transport audiences to previously unimaginable worlds. “Virtual production enables ‘shooting’ in locations that don’t exist in real life. Places that are difficult to access can be reconstructed in 3D. This opens possibilities for ‘shooting’ in multiple venues within a short timeframe,” he said.

Jankowski shed light on the technical aspects of virtual production, particularly the importance of meticulous planning and efficient execution. Virtual production can be cost-effective but needs thorough pre-production, he said. “Pre-production is crucial in determining the feasibility of shooting in virtual production. While it is possible to shoot most things using VP, the level of pre-production planning varies depending on the project’s requirements,” he noted.

Batur highlighted how virtual production is redefining the traditional filmmaking pipeline. The art department must be involved early in the process – rather than at the post-production stage – to ensure seamless integration between the physical and virtual elements. “Decisions that used to be made at the end of production are now happening earlier, requiring changes in workflow and personnel. Seamless collaboration between departments is crucial for success,” Batur said.

Jhaveri pointed out that “many shots involve computer-generated (CG) elements, requiring extensive pre-production to ensure everything runs smoothly during the shoot. This additional pre-production time is essential for successful virtual production. There is also a latency period as new technologies emerge, so we are playing a catch-up game here – as soon as we have one technology we are using on stage, there is another one being released.”

All four filmmakers agreed on collaboration and communication in virtual production, particularly the need for a standardised pre-visualisation process and the growing potential of AI technology in streamlining production workflows. “AI could become a standard tool in virtual production workflows, streamlining processes and enhancing efficiency,” Jankowski said.

But despite technological advancements, storytelling remains the focus, Batur pointed out.

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Kiara, Diljit, Kareena shake leg at Anant-Radhika’s pre-wedding festivities



Jamnagar (Gujarat) [India], March 3 (ANI): The pre-wedding festivities of Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant have already presented many star-studded reunions and gatherings in Jamnagar.

On Day 2 of the festivities on Saturday, actors Kiara Advani and Kareena Kapoor were joined by Diljit Dosanjh at the dance stage in what created a ‘reunion’ of their 2019 movie ‘Good Newwz’.

Kiara took to Instagram stories and shared a video of the three shaking legs together.

“The Good News Reunion”, Kiara captioned her story, accompanied with a hug and heart emoji.

The ‘Shershah’ actor tagged Kareena Kapoor and Diljit Dosanjh. She also mentioned Akshay Kumar, who was not present at the event on Saturday.

“Missing Akshay sir”, she added.

Several videos and pictures from the Saturday gala night went viral on social media.

Day 2 was filled with electrifying performances of celebrities and other cute moments from the event.

Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Sidharth Malhotra, Kiara Advani, Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Varun Dhawan, Anil Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan, Ibrahim Ali Khan, Ananya Panday and Aditya Roy Kapur, Rani Mukerji are also attending the mega bash.

Famous sports personalities like MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, and Sachin Tendulkar arrived to attend the celebrations.

Day 1 of the festivities witnessed a special drone show followed by a splendid performance by pop sensation Rihanna.

‘Good Newwz’ movie, directed by Raj Mehta released in 2019. The movie performed well at the box office and garnered over Rs 200 crores.

Meanwhile, on the work front, Kiara Advani has joined the cast of famous ‘Don’ franchise, which is being rebooted with Ranveer Singh in the lead. The movie is expected to hit the big screens in 2025.

Kareena Kapoor on the other hand, will be seen in the movie ‘Crew’ where she is starring with Tabu, and Kriti Sanon as the roles of “bada” air hostesses. It will release on March 29.

Diljit Dosanjh will be starring as the titular lead in Imtiaz Ali directorial ‘Amar Singh Chamkila’. The movie will release on Netflix on April 12. (ANI)

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