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, Ayushmann Khurrana, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rakul Preet Singh and Nora Fatehi at the main awards, hosted by Abhishek Bachchan and Vicky Kaushal. Rappers Badshaah and Raftaar, lyricist-composer Amit Trivedi, EDM producer Nucleya and singers Sunidhi Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, Anusha Mani, Mika, Sukhbir Singh and Goldie Sohel 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.


Taghrid AlSaeed, Executive Director of Group Communications and Destination Marketing, Miral, also believes that the partnership with IIFA will strengthen the bonds between India, Abu Dhabi and the United Arab Emirates (UAE): “It will give a boost to trade, tourism and film production opportunities with Yas Island reinforcing its claim as the fast-growing global entertainment and leisure destination, as well as an international events hub.


His Excellency Saleh Mohamed Al-Geziry, Director General for Tourism at DCT, Abu Dhabi, points out that, “With an annual gala that is talked about in amazement and wonders for the rest of the year, IIFA has established its mark on the international arena. A galaxy of Bollywood stars will make a beeline for Yas Island next weekend because of IIFA's ability to promote the Indian film industry around the world. This provides us the chance, for the


second year in a row, to honour the greatest in talent, glamour, and glamour while showcasing Abu Dhabi's thrilling nightlife, incredible cultural experiences, and restorative getaways to the world.



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 school teacher 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.


Reacting to the honour, the maverick genius informs that he has enjoyed a decade-long relationship with IIFA. “I made my debut appearance in Singapore in 2012 when I unveiled the first look of my film, Vishwaroopam. That was pretty special. So, at this one, I will be walking the Green Carpet at Abu Dhabi, humbled by an honour that speaks of the overwhelming love of my audience which urges me to keep making films.”


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.


Elated with the IIFA special award, Riteish says, “Since I am a Maharashtrian and my roots run deep, I have always wanted to not just act, produce and direct Marathi films, but also push the envelope with respect to content and technical virtuosity. This honour proves that I’ve been successful in my experiments and endeavours to extend the boundaries, as far as Marathi cinema is concerned. I’m grateful to my baiko, Genelia, without whose support this journey would not have been possible.”


An upbeat Genelia adds, “Riteish has been a part of my film journey since day one. So, it feels great to go up on stage and receive an award that is both a validation and a celebration for us. IIFA, here we come again!” 


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.


Recalling his first appearance at IIFA in 2001, when he received the Best Costume Award for Mohabbatein, Manish says, “The special honour this year shows just how far I have come. A lot has changed since, what hasn’t is the love of the audience which even after three decades continues to drive me to revolutionize and redefine fashion in films.” 


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." 


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.”




IIFA is dedicated to building bridges across cinemas, businesses, communities and nations, creating everyone’s dream: “One People. One World”. IIFA is the most appreciated South Asian film academy and a global platform that gives the Indian film fraternity an opportunity to reach audiences in international territories. The alliances made via the platform of IIFA provide huge benefits and gain to India and an equally important objective is to create similar benefits in the host country. The aim is to establish a system of mutual benefit to both India as well as the host destinations by boosting tourism, economic development, trade, culture, cross-border investments and film co-productions. The IIFA Weekend & Awards each year travel to new, exciting and beautiful destinations, taking the film fraternity to unite and celebrate the best of Indian film and culture, thereby taking Indian Cinema and India to a wider audience.



Miral is Abu Dhabi’s creator of destinations, uniting people and places through unique, immersive and exciting experiences. Responsible for the development and management of Yas Island, Miral’s assets encompass entertainment, hospitality, leisure, sport, dining and retail destinations. Today, Yas Island is home to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, CLYMB™ Abu Dhabi, Yas Links Golf Course, Yas Mall, Yas Marina Circuit, Yas Marina and eight hotels, including Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island located on Yas Bay, the soon to be Abu Dhabi’s premier waterfront destination. For more information, visit





The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) drives the sustainable growth of Abu Dhabi’s culture and tourism sectors and its creative industries, fueling economic progress and helping to achieve Abu Dhabi’s wider global ambitions. By working in partnership with the organizations that define DCT Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading international destination, DCT Abu Dhabi strives to unite the ecosystem around a shared vision of DCT Abu Dhabi’s potential, coordinate effort and investment, deliver innovative solutions, and use the best tools, policies and systems to support the culture, tourism and creative industries. DCT Abu Dhabi’s vision is defined by the emirate’s people, heritage and landscape. We work to enhance Abu Dhabi’s status as a place of authenticity, innovation, and unparalleled experiences, represented by its living traditions of hospitality, pioneering initiatives and creative thought.

For more information about DCT Abu Dhabi and the destination, please visit and



Yas Island is one of the world’s fastest-growing leisure and entertainment destinations, located on the golden shores of Abu Dhabi - just 20 minutes from downtown Abu Dhabi and 50 minutes from Dubai. Yas Island offers holiday makers a diverse mix of award-winning leisure and entertainment experiences, from one-of-a-kind theme parks, world-class shopping and superb dining, to a links golf course, exciting water and motor sports, and spectacular musical, entertainment and family events all within the 25 sq km Island. Today, Yas Island is home to the award-winning theme parks Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, the record-breaking CLYMB™ Abu Dhabi, Yas Marina Circuit (home to the FORMULA 1 ETIHAD AIRWAYS ABU DHABI GRAND PRIX™), Yas Marina, the award-winning Yas Links golf course, as well as Abu Dhabi’s largest mall, Yas Mall. With hotels, including W Abu Dhabi - Yas Island, Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Crowne Plaza Yas Island Abu Dhabi, Yas Island Rotana, Centro Yas Island by Rotana, Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island, Park Inn by Radisson Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island and Staybridge Suites Abu Dhabi Yas Island, plus more than 165 dining experiences, the destination also features indoor and outdoor concert venues including WHITE and Etihad Arena - all of which are complemented by a range of visitor services that connect all attractions to one another.



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