The biggest celebration of Indian cinema, the International Indian Film Academy and Awards (IIFA), returns for its 23rd edition to Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, on May 26th and 27th of this year. This highly-anticipated annual event is set to be held at the Etihad Arena, the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment stage. Among the many highlights of the event are two IIFA Masterclasses – ‘Directors Cut with Kabir Khan’ and ‘A 360 Degrees of Creativity in Cinema with Omung Kumar’, which will be held at The Community Hub, part of twofour54’s media and entertainment community Yas Creative Hub.
Moderated by Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner Hans Fraikin, the IIFA ‘Directors Cut’ series will talk about the art of storytelling from behind the camera. The session will aim to educate, motivate and inspire film enthusiasts, students of cinema and other attendees interested in the Indian film industry.
Knowledge exchange with Kabir Khan
Kabir Khan, an Indian film director, screenwriter and cinematographer, has delivered large-scale cinematic projects with logistical efficiency and creative flourish. His 2012 thriller, Ek Tha Tiger, flagged off the most successful action franchise in Bollywood and YRF’s spy universe. His 2015 comedy-drama, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, is one of the highest-grossing Hindi films in UAE. More recently, his 2021 biographical sports drama,’83, has been much-feted, getting one of the widest openings in overseas centres, including UAE.
During the Masterclass at IIFA 2023, Kabir will share his thoughts on cinema and some anecdotes from his 27-year journey, starting from his early days as a cinematographer on Gautam Ghose’s Beyond the Himalayas, a documentary filmed for the Discovery Channel in 1996. He will recount how he discovered his aspiration to become a filmmaker and how his stint in news and documentary helped shape his career as a feature film director. During the conversation, Kabir will also touch on how he goes about choosing a story and refining scripts, as well as his unique style of storytelling and his views on the future of the film industry.
The session has already sparked a lot of interest. Kabir himself is excited to share interesting case studies, notes on character development and casting, and how he goes about translating his vision on screen.
“I’m really looking forward to the interaction as it will give me a chance to retrospect and introspect on my choices too. This kind of knowledge exchange not only makes for a stimulating conversation, it also works to the benefit of cinema. I will not only be celebrating box-office wins and awards, but also reflecting on the failures of projects one was passionate about and negative press which can dent your confidence as a filmmaker momentarily, but can never keep you down,” asserts Kabir, who will be sharing details about his dream projects and plans for the future, along with five tips for aspiring directors.
Interactive Session and Creation with Omung Kumar
The Masterclass with Omung Kumar promises to be just as enthralling. Often described as a “creative genius”, Omung is an award-winning artist, production designer, art director, writer and director in Indian cinema and television.
From a TV host and an aspiring actor, he went on to do the production design for many big productions, including Chameli, Black and Sawaariya. In 2014, Omung debuted as a director with the Mary Kom biopic, which bagged the National Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment. He went on to spearhead three more films, including PM Narendra Modi.
Omung will discuss how his dream of being an actor enabled him to understand and develop his creative streak. He will also reveal how long it takes to create an ‘Omung Kumar’ piece of art. “I will be sharing a case study or two from favourite projects, along with influences and inspirations that helped create these works of art. The idea is to help understand how to take their flair for painting into the world of film and television,” asserts the production designer and filmmaker Omung Kumar.
During the session, Omung could also be persuaded to pick one TV show that he would love to recreate, explaining how he would change it from its existing style.
While debating on the standout moments in his career as an art director, Omung will share what inspired him to direct a challenging genre like a sports biopic of a living person still winning laurels, his prep for Mary Kom and how much being an artist has impacted his work as a director.
“The interaction will be a journey in itself, starting from the beginning to what I am doing next, if the awards and accolades have influenced my thoughts and changed my work, along with a few words of wisdom for those who plan to follow me into the industry,” he says.
What will set this interactive session apart is that Omung will not only discuss his career in television, films and what he has created, but he will also draw or create a set design on a chosen subject while conducting the masterclass. This piece will be auctioned for charity or donated to Yas Creative Hub, where it will be displayed in a prominent show area.
Know more about Hair and Makeup
ZERO Makeup and team NABILA partnered with the acclaimed International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA’s) in 2018 and are going to be the official hair and makeup partners for the 23rd Edition OF IIFA Weekend and Awards, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi.
The fabulous partnership has led to the upcoming collaboration, where Nabila’s well-honed aesthetics and innovation will once again be seen on the IIFA stage.
With an innate genius for remaining ahead of time, Nabila has constantly fostered the upward spiral of her career with new benchmarks and unforgettable images. The brand now spearheads a network of salons recognized for their innovative techniques. The same expertise is applied on-ground with the team consistently collaborating with a wide range of awards ceremonies and fashion weeks, having won more than 100 awards and gaining global significance as a creative powerhouse.
Ahead of the masterclass, Nabila said, “I am thankful to IIFA for adding the hair and makeup segment to the creative workshop series. Here I will share insights into the pitch, process and production involved in image making.”
Abu Dhabi, a destination for global film production
The Abu Dhabi Film Commission has welcomed the chance to host these three masterclasses during IIFA 2023 in May. “These masterclasses help connect commercially successful and critically acclaimed filmmakers, like Kabir Khan and Omung Kumar, with an audience that shares the same interest in the art of filmmaking. The workshops will prove to be immensely beneficial for both creatives looking to pursue a career in film as well as established filmmakers who want to evolve their skills and understand their trade better.
“Abu Dhabi Film Commission has always focused on developing the incredible talent in this region and supporting film industries from across the globe. This is especially true for Indian cinema, which is extremely popular in the UAE and regularly supported by ADFC through the services we provide and the 30% cashback rebate we offer. We have worked closely with numerous major Indian productions and will continue to support the Indian film industry as it continues to grow, flourish and thrive,” says Hans Fraikin, Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner.
Every year since 2016, the International Indian Film Awards has been bringing together top stars and the best of technicians from Bollywood, along with dignitaries, international media, fans and film enthusiasts from across the world. It is being held in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), and Miral, Abu Dhabi’s leading curator of immersive destinations and experiences. NEXA continues its partnership as the title sponsor for the seventh consecutive edition and this year we are joined for the first time by Sobha Realty as the title sponsor of the IIFA Weekend.
The grand stage for the Awards is once again the world-class Etihad Arena, the Middle East’s largest state-of-the-art indoor entertainment venue, located on the picturesque Yas Bay Waterfront. Vicky Kaushal and Abhishek Bachchan are all set to be the hosts for Nexa IIFA Awards 2023 and they promise an evening of entertainment and excitement. The awards will be interspersed with live performances by a mega star cast - Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez, Varun Dhawan, Kriti Sanon, Nora Fatehi, Rakul Preet Singh and Ayushmann Khurana who will set the stage on fire with some very special performances.
Sobha Realty IIFA Rocks 2023 is set to be hosted by Farah Khan and actor Rajkummar Rao bringing together the very best in the camaraderie of cinema. Sobha Realty IIFA Rocks will also see some of the biggest music performances by the much-feted music director and singer Amit Trivedi, along with several popular singers, Badshah, Sunidhi Chauhan, Nucleya, Mika, Sukhbir Singh, Raftaar, Shreya Ghoshal, Anusha Mani and Goldie Sohel.
The most highly awaited special addition this year to the Sobha IIFA Rocks is the premiere edition of an exclusive showcase by leading celebrity designer, Manish Malhotra.
Enjoy a weekend full of glitz, glamour, fun and fashion, see the stars hit the green carpet, and celebrate together as the Indian film fraternity, at the 2023 N