Arab-Bollywood awards in Dubai: Salman, SRK … expect bevy of stars

Vishal–Shekhar will not compose for SRK's next with director Rohit Shetty. (AFP/Getty)

Actor Javed Jaffery kicked off the proceedings with a line that could have been lifted right from a Bollywood potboiler, saying: “In India, there are only two great passions that people share; one is the love for Ma and the other, cine-ma.”

The actor, along with a few pedigree members of the Indian film fraternity, were in Dubai to bring that very passion to these shores with the announcement of the first Arab Indo Bollywood Awards (Aiba), which will be held in Dubai on April 10.

Now before critics roll their eyes with uncontained cynicism and hold their tongue firmly in cheek, the idea behind Aiba is not to host yet another Bollywood awards show to add to the multitude of marketed song and dance shows that India produces annually, said Aiba jury chairperson and noted filmmaker, Tigmanshu Dhulia.

The actor/director/writer and a winner of the Indian National Award for Best Film Director for his cult creation, ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, Dhulia said: “The idea behind this awards show was two-fold. One, was to create a collaboration between Arab and Indian audiences, which has historically shared a common love for cinema, but most importantly, it was also imperative that as filmmakers, we had an awards platform that did away with the politicking of trophies to allow the emergence of small-budget but good quality cinema.”

Dhulia stated that over the next two weeks, Aiba jury members, that includes Arbaaz Khan, Goldie Behl, Sreedhar Raghavan, Javed Jaffery, Shyam Shroll and Bollywood trade analyst Komal Nahta, will shortlist films that released between January-December 2014 across three categories and 25 awards.

He further explained: “The 25 trophies will be split across the categories of Main, Technical and Special Awards, which will be chosen 50 per cent by the jury members, while the remaining half will be voted by residents of the UAE, either online or via 100 ballot boxes that will be placed around the country.”

Public voting will commence on February 25 across 100 UAE Exchange outlets, with Dhulia laughing and saying that ultimately though, the jury will have the final say in the winners to ensure credibility is retained.

The event, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre is expected to draw in all the A-listers from Indian cinema, with organisers saying that residents should expect all the “Khans of Bollywood to attend.”

If both Salman and Shah Rukh Khan attend, it would certainly create fan frenzy in Dubai, Aiba chairperson Abdullatif Al Sayegh further added: “We want to show the world that we are not confined to only getting in the Guinness Book of World Records, but also have the potential to showcase an event such as this.

“We feel so proud as a nation that we will create a space for ourselves in the world of entertainment.”

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