Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh, Varun Dhawan and Parineeti Chopra have dropped out of their scheduled appearances at the International Indian Film Awards in Abu Dhabi owing to scheduling conflicts. The star-studded event, which was to have been held on May 20 and 21, was postponed following the death of Sheikh Khalifa.
The event will now be held on June 3 and 4 at the Etihad Arena on Yas Island.
The IIFA Awards, which celebrate the best of Hindi films and stars from the previous year, is returning to the UAE for the first time since 2006, when they were held in Dubai.
The IIFA Weekend & Awards, which are typically held over two days, will feature performances by some of the biggest Indian stars, with the main awards handed out on the second night.
Here's everything you need to know about the rescheduled event in Abu Dhabi:
Who's in and who's out?
Bollywood star Salman Khan remains as host of the gala night on June 4. He will be assisted by actors Riteish Deshmukh and Maniesh Paul in an evening that will feature performances and awards in the leading categories handed out.
Singh and Dhawan will be replaced by Tiger Shroff and Shahid Kapoor. Actress Chopra and director Karan Johar, who were meant to host IIFA Rocks on the first night, now to be held on June 3, have been replaced by director Farah Khan Kunder and actor Aparshakti Khurana.
Johar will still attend the IIFA Awards gala on June 4, organisers said.
A number of stars have also been confirmed to attend on both nights, including veteran actors Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Mithun Chakraborty. They will be joined by Lara Dutta Bhupathi, Tamannaah Bhatia, Nargis Fakhri, Bobby Deol, Arjun Rampal, Sanya Malhotra, Urvashi Rautela and film producer Boney Kapoor.
Bollywood couple Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan have also been confirmed to attend, and so has Oscar-winner A R Rahman. Actors Vicky Kaushal, Kriti Sanon, Pankaj Tripathi, Fardeen Khan, Sohail Khan and Suniel Shetty are also on the guest list.
"I am delighted to be a part of IIFA’s 22nd edition. It has always been splendid to be a part of IIFA Awards for years," Rai Bachchan said.
Aishwarya is the recipient of awards and honours including the IIFA for Best Actor at the inaugural IIFA Awards held at the Millennium Dome and in 2005 a tulip was named “Aishwarya” during the IIFA weekend in Amsterdam. IIFA also bestowed her with the honour of ACTRESS OF THE DECADE in 2009 at IIFA’s 10-year celebrations in Macau. Aishwarya also joined the IIFA celebrations in 2006, when IIFA was celebrated in the UAE for the first time.
What are the IIFA Awards?
First held in the year 2000, in London, the IIFA Awards were conceived by Mumbai event company Wizcraft International Entertainment to honour the best Hindi films and movie talents of the previous year.
The awards are held in a different country every year and have played a big part in boosting Bollywood's popularity globally.
Dubai hosted the event in 2006, and Bangkok, New York, Colombo, Amsterdam, Madrid, Florida, Kuala Lumpur and Macau have all taken turns.
While the 2020 and 2021 events were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the last IIFA event was held in Mumbai, the home of Bollywood.
“I have always enjoyed being a part of the IIFA family and travelling to some great destinations, but this year I am super happy that we are headed to one of my personal favourites, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi,” Khan said.
“IIFA is always a memorable time and this year it will be an even bigger celebration as we celebrate the 75th year of India’s independence and the UAE’s 50th anniversary Golden Jubilee.”
Scroll through the gallery below to see more from the 2019 IIFA Awards:
What to expect in Abu Dhabi
After a two-year break, the next IIFA event promises to return with a bang at Etihad Arena, the state-of-the-art indoor stadium on Yas Island.
“I am proud and excited to get ready to host the 2022 IIFA Weekend & Awards in Abu Dhabi,” Khan said. “I’m so happy to be coming back with them, especially to a place I love.”
Mohamed Abdalla Al Zaabi, chief executive of Miral, the developer of Yas Island, called it an “honour” to host the awards.
“As the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue, Etihad Arena presents an ideal setting for world-class events that attract international stars and audiences,” he said.
Who will perform at the event?
The IIFA Weekend will begin with IIFA Rocks, a night dedicated to music, on June 3, hosted by Khan Kunder and Khurana.
Performers announced so far for the night include composer and singer Devi Sri Prasad, music whizz Tanishk Bagchi and singers Neha Kakkar, Asees Kaur, Ash King, Zahrah S Khan and Dhvani Bhanushali. Punjabi pop star Guru Randhawa and rapper Honey Singh will also present their new collaboration track, Designer.
On the main night on June 4, Shroff and Kapoor, who are both known for their high-energy stage presence, will share the stage with actors Kartik Aaryan, Ananya Panday, Sara Ali Khan, Divya Khosla Kumar and Nora Fatehi. Abhishek Bachchan has also been added as one of the performers.
“IIFA is like family to me and it feels good to come back and perform. After being disconnected physically for more than two years, celebrations help us unite. I am excited for this reunion of the industry to be happening as the world gets together again. And I am looking forward to entertaining, meeting fans and connecting with them globally," Bachchan said.
Aaryan, who hosted the 2018 awards, called it a “phenomenal experience”.
“I’m elated to perform once again at the 22nd edition of the biggest celebration of Indian cinema. IIFA truly is an embodiment of a global phenomenon with its massive fan following and I’m looking forward to the IIFA Awards at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, this year, he said.
Who is nominated for an award?
Nominees for 12 of the most popular categories have been announced. War film Shershaah, starring Sidharth Malhotra and Kiara Advani, leads with 12 nominations, followed by Singh's cricket biopic 83, which has nine, and Abhishek Bachchan's Ludo which has six.
A full list of nominees is here.
Winners in nine technical categories were announced before the event, with Amazon's historical biopic, Sardar Udham, starring Vicky Kaushal, leading, winning for Cinematography, Editing and Special Effects. A full list can be found here.
How much do tickets cost?
Organisers said those who had bought tickets for the earlier dates would receive updated tickets for the new dates with the same assigned seats. Tickets to IIFA Rocks on June 3 start at Dh55, while tickets to the IIFA Awards on June 4 are close to selling out, with just Middle Tier B (Dh440) and Lower Tier B (Dh1,000) still available at etihadarena.ae.