After a spectacular show last year, expectations are sky-high as the 2023 NEXA IIFA Awards and Sobha Reality IIFA Rocks return to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, on May 26 and 27. Over the next three days, the audience packing the Etihad Arena will get to witness several live performances by some of Bollywood’s biggest names, including Salman Khan, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rakul Preet Singh and Nora Fatehi at the main awards, hosted by Abhishek Bachchan and Vicky Kaushal. Rapper Badshah, lyricist-composer Amit Trivedi, EDM producer Nucleya, and singers Sunidhi Chauhan and Sukhbir Singh will be taking centre stage at IIFA Rocks, which will be hosted by Farah Khan and Rajkummar Rao.
The winners of the nine technical award categories will also be announced, and awards in 12 popular categories will be given out in addition to the music and dance performances. There are also three additional special awards. Kamal Haasan will be felicitated for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Indian Cinema’ while the made-for-each-other couple, Riteish Deshmukh and Genelia D’Souza, for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Regional Cinema’. Designer Manish Malhotra will also be honoured for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Fashion in Cinema”.
Kamal Haasan, 68, began his career as a child artist, at the age of six, in the 1960 Tamil film Kalathur Kannamma, bagging the President’s Gold Medal. He won the first of his four National Awards for his performance as a schoolteacher whose selfless devotion to a young woman suffering from retrograde amnesia leaves him heartbroken in the 1982 Tamil film, Moondram Pirai, which was remade three years later in Hindi as Sadma.
Over the years, he has distinguished himself as an actor, filmmaker, screenplay writer, playback singer and TV host, working in not just Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam films, but also in the Hindi and Bengali industries. Recipient of the prestigious Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, Kamal Haasan is one of Indian cinema’s living legends.
The maverick genius informs that he has enjoyed a decade-long relationship with IIFA. “I am extremely honoured and grateful that I have been a part of many IIFAs and they are doing a great job promoting Indian cinema globally and this time I am being honoured at IIFA 2023 at Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Excited to be present at the event.”
Riteish Deshmukh flagged off a successful career as an actor with the 2003 romantic drama, Tujhe Meri Kasam. Genelia was his leading lady and they went on to pair up for Masti and Tere Naal Love Ho Gaya, before tying the knot on February 3, 2012. A year later, Riteish launched his own production house, Mumbai Film Company, with the comedy-drama Balak Palak, which won plenty of awards and accolades.
In 2014, Riteish made his debut in Marathi cinema as an actor, in a double role in Lai Bhaari. Genelia, who also co-produced the action-drama, made a cameo appearance. The film was a blockbuster. Three years later, the couple produced Faster Fene. With Amey Wagh playing the titular character created by Bhaskar Ramchandra Bhagwat and a favourite with children, the crime thriller enjoyed a successful run.
In 2018, Genelia produced Mauli which had Riteish in a double role again, playing twin brothers who share the same name. Two years later, he made a special appearance in Adrushya and in 2022, Genelia produced Ved, a romantic drama that reunited them on screen, with Riteish playing her husband. The film was written by Riteish and marked his directorial debut. It was the highest-grossing Marathi film of the year, and the third-highest Marathi grosser of all time, surpassing his own Lai Bhaari.
Fashion designer Manish Malhotra has been an integral part of the Hindi film industry for 33 years. He introduced the concept of styling in costume design in Ram Gopal Varma’s 1995 musical romance, Rangeela, and since then, has flagged off many new trends, both on-screen and off it.
In 2005, the stylist-entrepreneur launched his eponymous label, Manish Malhotra, and today has three flagship stores in Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad. His first international boutique is coming up at the Dubai Mall this year. Manish has also expanded into verticals, like jewellery, and even has his own beauty line. One of the key highlights this year is a fashion show at Sobha Realty IIFA Rocks with Manish showcasing an exclusive “old world charm meets the new world” collection.
Sobha IIFA Weekend and NEXA Awards is partnered by Miral and the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi. NEXA continues as the title sponsor for the seventh consecutive edition and this year they are joined for the first time by Sobha Realty as the title sponsor of the IIFA Weekend.
Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Officer, Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki India Limited said, “NEXA has always been at the forefront of innovations and Curating Impeccable Experiences that not only Impress but Inspire. By foraying into the fields of Fashion, Music and Journeys, NEXA has successfully created and inspired multiple unique experiences for its customers. It is for this very reason that NEXA has collaborated with IIFA, which is a platform to recognize India’s top creative talent in the world of cinema and celebrate the best in cinema arts. The association is in its 7th year and both NEXA and IIFA are challenging the status quo to create experiences that are unique and inspiring. With IIFA, we have a perfect association as we share a common vision of creating global experiences, which has established the premium imagery of both brands. We look forward to IIFA 2023 which will be held at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi to inspire our new-age consumers who seek global experiences in their everyday lives.”
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Echoing his sentiments, Ravi Menon, Co-Chairman of Sobha Realty, reiterates, “We are delighted to be the title sponsors of the 23rd edition of IIFA Weekend. The event will witness the presence of the who’s who of the Indian film industry with the glitz and glamour that makes Indian cinema widely popular. With a rich culture of performing arts in our nation itself, we are honoured to recognize and celebrate the long-standing allure of Indian cinema and its outstanding contributors. Indian films are watched across the world, and we are pleased to welcome the numerous actors, artists, and talents of our nation, further bringing Indian cinema to a global audience. IIFA Awards recognizes the highest quality and artistic expressions in the Indian film sector, just like we at Sobha Realty recognize the value of quality, art, and design in our work.”