Bollywood, the most prolific cinema in the world, rewards its artists in Abu Dhabi

The 23rd edition of the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA), one of Bollywood’s most prestigious ceremonies, was held on Saturday May 27 in Abu Dhabi as the Cannes Film Festival drew to a close. It is usually held abroad and since 2022 in the capital of the United Arab Emirates. Star Salman Khan rubbed shoulders with other stars like Hrithik Roshan, Nora Fatehi, Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal, Sara Ali Khan, Kriti Sanon and Jacqueline Fernandez on the green carpet, an ecological nod to Bollywood.

The IIFA represents an opening on the world stage“, rejoiced Jacqueline Fernandez, one of the most famous actresses of Bollywood. “It’s important for me to be here to represent the community (of Bollywood),” said 63-year-old Indian actor Boman Irani. Topping the charts is the fantasy adventure film Brahmastra: Part One – Shiva, but the prize for best film went to the policeman Drishyam by Nishikant Kamat.

As every year, the ceremony was punctuated by several spectacular tableaux with dozens of dancers on stage, including one of the most famous, the Canadian-Moroccan Nora Fatehi, a rising Bollywood star who said to herself “honoredto participate in the event.

Streaming platforms deal a blow to Bollywood

India produces an average of 1,600 films a year, more than any other country in the world, an industry largely dominated by Hindi-language Bollywood cinema. The Asian giant with more than 1.4 billion inhabitants exports its productions throughout the world, particularly in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, but also in Europe and North America. The film Pathanstarring superstar Shah Rukh Khan, broke all Indian box office records when it was released in January, grossing around $30 million in its first five days on screen.

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But this success contrasts with the crisis that Bollywood has been going through since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Indian market not escaping the trend of declining attendance in dark rooms around the world. With around half of India’s population having access to the internet, streaming platforms have dealt a severe blow to Bollywood, the crisis having been further accentuated with periods of confinement.

An increasingly demanding public

For media specialist Karan Taurani, the public has more and more access to diverse content and is becoming more demanding, refusing to settle for unoriginal works with a light script, often “remakes”, as was the case. in the past. “In the post-Covid era, we have seen a big change: even if a film has a big star on the bill, if the script is bad, the public will turn away from it.“, explains this analyst to Elara Capital, an investment company.

And Indian films not produced in Bollywood are thus becoming more and more successful, he points out, such as RRR, Who “distinguished himself“because the market expects more than the”two or three stars” which dominate the posters. Produced by the Telugu language film industry – called Tollywood – of South India, RRR was successful as far as Hollywood, winning a Golden Globe and an Oscar for best soundtrack earlier this year. Bollywood is also under attack from Hindu radicals, who are increasingly active under the power of nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi, calling for a boycott of films featuring actors of the Muslim faith.

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