IIFA Awards 2022 highlights: Salman Khan's tribute and Abhishek Bachchan's dance-off

The two-day event in Abu Dhabi had all the hallmarks of a true Bollywood extravaganza

Powered by automated translation

The International Indian Film Academy Awards were held in Abu Dhabi on June 3 and 4 last year, ending with a bang — quite literally — as fireworks went off over Yas Waterfront.

The gala evening on June 4, hosted by actors Riteish Deshmukh, Maniesh Paul and superstar Salman Khan, had all the ingredients you might expect from a Bollywood extravaganza: stellar performances, world-renowned talents, some good-natured ribbing and a celebration worthy of one of the largest film industries in the world. Here are some of our favourite moments from awards night.

1. Salman Khan gets emotional

Bollywood megastar Khan got teary-eyed on stage when he recounted his early struggles and all the people who supported him when he was starting out in the industry and had limited means. He credited "Anna" Suneil Shetty — who back then owned a small apparel shop in Mumbai — film producer Ramesh Taurani and actor Chunky Panday for helping him to become the superstar he is now.

2. Pankaj Tripathi gets the recognition he deserves

Actor Pankaj Tripathi, who won the award for Best Performance In a Supporting Role (Male) for his turn in the Netflix film Ludo, got an extended round of applause from the audience when he came on stage to accept his prize. Tripathi was nominated for two films (83 and Ludo) and even joked that he wasn't sure which he had won for when he was presented with the IIFA trophy. The actor, who makes his mark in even the smallest of roles, has garnered plenty of respect over the past few years for playing characters that are real, relatable and incredibly entertaining.

3. A wedding is re-enacted

Actor Vicky Kaushal married actress Katrina Kaif in an intimate ceremony in December 2021, with few Bollywood guests in attendance. So Riteish Deshmukh and Maniesh Paul decided to recreate the baraat (when the groom rides into the wedding venue on horseback, with his friends and family dancing around him). The re-enactment included actors playing the groom's parents, a makeshift horse and a cardboard cut-out of Kaif.

IIFA Awards 2022: Bollywood stars glam up the green carpet in Abu Dhabi

IIFA Awards 2022: Bollywood stars glam up the green carpet in Abu Dhabi

4. Simon Fuller sings Bollywood's praises

British entrepreneur Simon Fuller, who is the creator of the Idols television series, walked the IIFA Awards green carpet, saying that he "loves the singing and dancing of Bollywood". He also said he has watched many Bollywood films over the years, and that he thinks they are "visually strong and the music is fantastic". Fuller revealed that he was in Abu Dhabi working on a new television show "to take Bollywood to the world".

"With this region being close and a gateway to the rest of the world, I think it opens up lots of opportunities."

5. Some local touches

No IIFA Awards ceremony is complete without some big performances, but the special Abu Dhabi touches added to last year's event set it apart from previous years. Tanoura dancers made an appearance on the stage during the finale of Sara Ali Khan's performance to Chaka Chak from the film Atrangi Re.

Despite the background being bright and colourful, the tanoura dancers, with their brightly lit skirts, stood out. For actor Abhishek Bachchan's performance to Macha Macha Re from the film Dasvi, Emirati Ayala dancers joined the actor on stage. The best part? None of these additions seemed forced in any way — the choreography seamlessly blended the two styles of dance appearing on stage together.

6. A tribute is paid to Bappi Lahiri

A befitting and high-energy grand finale to last year's awards ceremony was actor Shahid Kapoor's tribute to Indian composer and singer Bappi Lahiri, who died in February. Kapoor emerged on a small platform above the audience, to one of Lahiri's most popular tracks, Yaad Aa Raha Hai, wearing a white outfit inspired by 1970s disco.

The audience showed a lot of love to Kapoor all evening, but this performance had them dancing and cheering particularly loudly. He also performed to Lahiri's Tamma Tamma, Disco Dancer, Dance Dance — with dancer Nora Fatehi — and Raat Baaki Baat Baaki, with actress Ananya Panday.

7. Rakhi Sawant will nurture new talent

As she walked down the green carpet, during a quick chat, dancer and actress Rakhi Sawant revealed that she would open her own dance academy, in a bid to give a "chance to new talent". While she did not give many details, she said the academy would have outposts in the UAE, the UK, Canada and India.

8. A young dancer is introduced

Speaking of nurturing new talents, one of the most popular dancers in Bollywood, Nora Fatehi, brought a young dancer from Abu Dhabi on to the stage to perform with her. Kashni discovered Fatehi on social media, through her #dancewithNora hashtag. The girl impressed with her moves to Fatehi's song Dance Meri Rani.

9. A family affair with Abhishek Bachchan

Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan's performance was one of the most anticipated of the night, and he did not disappoint. He danced his way to the stage from the aisles of the venue, making his way through the crowd, but the highlight was an impromptu dance he did offstage with his wife Aishwarya Rai and daughter Aaradhya. Abhishek revealed it was the first time he has performed at an event in front of his daughter.

Updated: May 26, 2023, 11:53 AM