ABU DHABI - Crime thriller "Drishyam 2" was crowned best picture as Bollywood glossed over its recent struggles with a high-octane International Indian Film Academy Awards show in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Director Abhishek Pathak's gritty remake of a Malayalam film took the top honour at the end of a four-hour ceremony of pumping dance routines that showcased the Hindi-language movie industry.
Best director went to Ranganathan Madhavan for "Rocketry: The Nambi Effect". Hrithik Roshan won best actor for his role in "Vikram Vedha" and Alia Bhatt took best actress for "Gangubai Kathiawadi".
"Brahmastra: Part One - Shiva" picked up a number of prizes including best supporting actress for Mouni Roy and best female playback singer for star vocalist Shreya Ghoshal.
The IIFA awards, intended to reach an international audience, were held for the second year running in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates where more than a third of the 10 million population is Indian.
The Hindi-language film industry was worth $2.5-billion in 2019. India also releases hundreds of films in its 21 other official languages, churning out about 1,600 each year total.
But Mumbai-based Bollywood, the world's most prolific producer of movies, has been mired in crisis since the pandemic with ticket sales remaining low since cinemas reopened.
The rise in streaming services, competition from other parts of India and demand for meatier fare than Bollywood's trademark song-and-dance routines have all contributed to the slump, experts say.
However, superstar Shah Rukh Khan's "Pathaan" smashed Indian box office records in January, in a positive sign for the industry.
Indian cinema also received a boost in March when viral dance hit "Naatu Naatu" won an Oscar for best song, a first for a film from the country.