Ananya Panday rehearses for the IIFA Awards 2022 in Abu Dhabi
Ananya Panday rehearses for the IIFA Awards 2022 in Abu Dhabi Image Credit:

Bollywood actors Shahid Kapoor, Ananya Panday, Nora Fatehi and Sara Ali Khan were seen breaking a leg at the dance rehearsals in the run up to their on-stage performance at the International Indian Film Academy Awards on June 4.

On the big day, they will be all sporting dazzling outfits but during their round of rehearsals yesterday they were spotted wearing breathable athleisure to ensure that they could first master all their steps.

Going by the rehearsal videos that are doing the rounds, Khan will be dancing to her popular song ‘Chaka Chak’ from ‘Atrangi Re’, while Kapoor and Fatehi will hit the stage together.

Earlier, Kapoor had expressed his excitement at hitting the stage as an IIFA performer once again.

“The last time I danced on stage for an audience was for the IIFAs in New York. I am excited and nervous. In the last three days of rehearsals, I realised that I am a bit rusty … Come on Nora, make me look good. People may think I am a great dancer, but it’s still not easy,” said Kapoor. He also added that his performance this year will be a tribute to late singer and composer Bappi Lahiri.

Several videos are now doing the rounds where the actors are seen hard at work. Abu Dhabi has been transformed into a playground for Bollywood stars this weekend.

A few hours earlier, actor Arjun Rampal and his family were spotted arriving into the W Hotel from the airport. Marathi actress Sai Tamhankar was also seen arriving into Abu Dhabi from Mumbai.

Tonight on June 3, IIFA Rocks will play out at the Etihad Arena. It’s a night dedicated to music and fashion and will feature performances by the Tollywood composer Devi Sri Prasad of ‘Pushpa’ fame, Tanishk Bagchi, Guru Randhawa, Yo Yo Honey Singh, Neha Kakkar, Dhvani Bhanushali, Zahrah S Khan, and Asees Kaur.

IIFA Rocks is often dubbed as the dress rehearsals to the grand finale where awards will be presented to the best of Bollywood talents. While IIFA Rocks will be hosted by Farah Khan and Aparshakti Khurana, the finale will see Salman Khan as its star host.

“I am here for Abu Dhabi and I have found great success here,” said Khan at an earlier press conference.

This year’s awards are doubly significant since it has been two years since IIFA played out, owing to the global pandemic.

As the Ambassador of India to the UAE, Sunjay Sudhir, said: “Considering the strong historical and cultural relations between India and the UAE, Abu Dhabi is perhaps the most appropriate venue for IIFA. Mumbai, the heart of Bollywood, has also been home for generations of Emiratis and a major trading port connecting the UAE with India.”

Stars continue to pour into the UAE’s capital. Actress Jacqueline Fernandez was also spotted arriving into Abu Dhabi and took time to greet fans.

At the hotel that they are staying in, several guests turned into their cheerleaders as they clamoured for a selfie with the stars and sought their autographs.

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Tonight, the festivities will begin with IIFA Rocks followed by the awards night tomorrow at the Etihad Arena. Thousands of Bollywood fans are already gearing up for the big night.

“It’s one of the rare times that we get to see so many Bollywood stars in our home turf and my friends and I have purchased four tickets to watch them in action. This is going to be a night for us to remember. We are going to dress up like Bollywood stars too,” said Jessie Thomas to Gulf News.

She isn’t alone. Thousands of Bollywood fans are expected to throng Etihad Arena in the next two days.