There are times when the red carpet call preceding a spectacular awards night is equally eventful and Filmfare Middle East Achievers Night, held at the Meydan Hotel on October 28, proved to be one of those times.
Celebrities, dressed in the fanciest gowns and tuxedos from the worlds of Bollywood, Pakistani and Arab cinema, expressed their collective excitement at traipsing down the red carpet with flashlights going off around them.
As top Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra told Gulf News, the idea of being a part of a night where talents and cinema were being celebrated had become rare in their lives.
“More than the red carpet, I have missed such occasions where we celebrate cinema with so many people coming together under one roof. I love being in my absolutely favourite city Dubai too. I have enjoyed such a long collaboration with them,” said Malhotra on the red carpet.
Actress Shruti Haasan, who was channelling her inner goth, brought her fashion A-game at the FFME Achievers Night. She poured herself into a black leather gown with metallic detailing and joked that the snug gown was comfortable too.
“It’s not as hot as I thought it would be and there’s a lot of make-up setting spray on me tonight ... But in all seriousness, I have been to music gigs after the pandemic, but I am so excited to see song and dance spectacle at a film awards function... And trust me, this gown is super comfortable,” said Haasan.
Rizwan Sajan, founder and chairman of the Danube Group, who spearheaded the FFME Achievers Night, came across as a proud patriarch for putting together an awards night of an epic scale.
“There were several challenges to make this night happen, but it has all come together beautifully. I just hope there are not many technical glitches. It wasn’t easy bringing all these stars from Bollywood, the Arab world, and Pakistani cinema together but we did it. And we are really proud at brining Bollywood and more to our UAE residents,” said Sajan.
Pakistani actress Sajal Aly, who wore a blush shimmering bustier with an embellished skirt, also expressed her excitement at being a part of a night that had actors and talents from several regions. She had made her Bollywood debut with late actress Sridevi in ‘Mom’.
“I am so excited about tonight. I am looking forward to seeing all the actors and interacting with them,” said Aly, thanking her fans for their support towards her. “I want to thank all my fans for making me who I am today. It’s because of you all that I am encouraged to do such good work.”
Bollywood actor Vivek Oberoi and Pakistani actor Jaaved Sheikh also pointed out that the FFME Achievers Night was symbolic of cultural unity.
“Art knows no language, nationalities, boundaries, or borders... This night is a great example about it. It’s great platform for artists to come together. Don’t be surprised today if a German national plays Hindustani music,” said Oberoi, dressed in a Varoin Marwah outfit. He also opened up about his obsession with the hit web series ‘Squid Game’.
“I am completely hooked and can’t wait for the second season,” said Oberoi.
Dubai-based comedian Nitinn Mirani, who was the red carpet host, was dressed up as an ageing and rotund Uncle Manmani.
“It feels great to be back on the red carpet. Tonight I am not Nitinn Mirani, but his uncle Manmaani,” said Mirani, who was on call to put celebrities at ease on the red carpet with his brand of wry humour.
Arab actress Buthaina Al Raisi also spoke about her love for Bollywood and is keen to be a part of a Hindi film too.
“This event came at the right time because we feel like we are living again ... I am full of life today ... And I love Bollywood films it was a dream of mine to be a part of it. I absolutely love Kajol and I have seen her films like ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ and ‘Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham’,” said Al Raisi, speaking a smattering of Hindi in perfect diction.
“Do you think I am ready now?” joked Al Raisi.
‘Jalebi Baby’ vocalist Shweta Subram, from Dubai, also walked the red carpet and sang a few lines for her fans from her monster viral hit.
The red carpet also saw actors such as Sunny Leone, Kajol, Nora Fatehi, and Mohamed Ramadan flashing their brightest smiles.