Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Varun Dhawan to headline IIFA Awards 2023 in Abu Dhabi

The event will be held in February at the Etihad Arena for the second year running

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Actor Salman Khan will once again lead a contingent of Indian celebrities when the International Indian Film Academy Awards returns to Abu Dhabi in February.

Fellow actors Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon, as well as director and producer Karan Johar, will join him for the event, which will be held in the capital for the second year running.

It's usually held in a different global city every year, however, a little more than three weeks after this year's event ended, it was announced that Abu Dhabi had been chosen again by popular demand.

"Everyone truly had a wonderful time this year in Abu Dhabi and so we are pleased and excited to bring it all back again but with much more magic to come next year," said Noreen Khan, vice president of IIFA.

While dates are still to be announced for next year's ceremony, tickets will go on sale from Friday.

This year's event was held on June 3 to 4 at Etihad Arena after being postponed from its original May date, following the death of Sheikh Khalifa. It marked the second time for the event to be held in the UAE — in 2006 it took place in Dubai — and it was the event's Abu Dhabi debut.

Scroll through the gallery above for more pictures from IIFA Awards 2022 in Abu Dhabi

The IIFA Weekend & Awards featured performances by some of the biggest Indian stars across two days, with many of the top films and actors of the past year honoured on the final night.

The event began on June 3 with IIFA Rocks, featuring performances by top music stars, followed by the main awards gala on June 4, which also included performances by Bollywood stars Abhishek Bachchan, Shahid Kapoor, Sara Ali Khan and Ananya Panday. Salman Khan hosted the main event along with actors Riteish Deshmukh and Maniesh Paul.

More than 20,000 fans attended the event across two days, IIFA said.

Scroll through the gallery below for pictures from IIFA Rocks 2022 at the Etihad Arena

First held in London in 2000, the IIFA Awards were conceptualised by Mumbai event company Wizcraft International Entertainment to honour the best Hindi films and movie talents of the previous year. It is held in a different country every year and has been instrumental in boosting Bollywood's popularity globally.

“We are honoured to once more welcome the IIFA Weekend & Awards to Etihad Arena," said Saleh Mohamed Al Geziry, director general for tourism at DCT Abu Dhabi. "With the eyes of the world’s film industry upon us, we have an amazing opportunity to share with the world Abu Dhabi’s exciting nightlife, inspiring cultural experiences and restorative escapes. The Awards in February can only enhance our reputation as a global centre for top-tier leisure, entertainment and business events.”

Tickets will be available from Friday at and travel package deals are listed on

Updated: September 30, 2022, 10:27 AM