IIFA pays tribute to former UAE president Sheikh Khalifa
Dubai: Actor Abhishek Bachchan on Saturday led the Bollywood community in paying a tribute to former President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Sheikh Khalifa passed away on May 13 after battling illness for several years. He was 73.
Kicking off the IIFA awards at the Yas Arena in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, Bachchan praised the role played by Sheikh Khalifa due to which the UAE achieved the pinnacles of success.
The large gathering observed a minute of silence to commemorate him.
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Social Development, who was present on the occasion, welcomed the Bollywood community to Abu Dhabi.
"I am delighted to meet such a distinguished group of artists. Art has a universal language and the Indian film industry has mastered that language," Sheikh Nahyan said.
"You deepen the mutual appreciation and understanding. You also challenge us to make a positive difference in our communities. Events such as these highlight the excellent relations between India and the UAE," he said.
Sheikh Nahyan also congratulated the winners of the IIFA awards.
"We hope that the Indian film industry will continue to promote peace and understanding and enrich our lives," he added.
IIFA weekend and awards have attracted a large gathering of Hindi cinema artists and directors and brought Bollywood watchers in large numbers to the arena.