Two Khans from Bollywood are shooting in the UAE this month: Salman Khan is in Abu Dhabi working on his spy thriller, Tiger Zinda Hai, and Shah Rukh Khan is busy filming the sequel of the #BeMyGuest promotional campaign.
Over the years, the UAE has proved to be a lucrative filming destination for Bollywood filmmakers and they don’t limit themselves to songs or climax scenes. Salman Khan and Katrina, for instance, set aside 65 days to shoot in Abu Dhabi for their latest film, Tiger Zinda Hai, which indicates that a substantial portion of his film would be set here. Perhaps it’s the variety in landscapes — urbane metropolis and untouched deserts — that lends itself as a plum filming destination.
But it’s not the first time that the UAE is playing host to these big projects and stars. Gulf News tabloid! takes a look at some of the films that have left their footprints here ...
1. Happy New Year (2014)
One of the biggest Hindi film releases in 2014, featuring A-listers including Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan and Boman Irani, Happy New Year was filmed extensively in Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm. The hotel had become a playground for these actors as they worked on the tale of six underdogs who participate in a dance competition in the UAE. According to reports, director Farah Khan said that she wrote the film with Dubai in mind. More than 1,600 extras from the UAE featured in the comedy. The film also enjoyed its premiere here at the fantasy-themed hotel.
2. Welcome (2007)
One of the highest grossers in 2007, Welcome includes a number of scenes and a song filmed in Dubai. The comic moments include a scene in which Uday (Nana Patekar) throws a lavish bash at the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The expansive shopping mall, Dragon Mart, provides the setting for Majnu’s (Anil Kapoor) confrontation with Dr. Ghungroo (Paresh Rawal).
3. Welcome Back (2015)
The sequel to the 2007 blockbuster has the distinction of being the first Indian film to be shot at the iconic Burj Khalifa. The story was also set in Dubai and the cast spent several weeks filming around the UAE in locations including the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, the Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah, the Meydan Hotel and the Sofitel Dubai — the Palm Resort and Spa.
4. Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya (2005)
It is a 2005 Bollywood romantic-comedy, starring Katrina Kaif, Sushmita Sen and Salman Khan in the lead roles. The film explores the relationship of a doctor who gets stuck between his nurse and his patient, who has suicidal tendencies. The movie includes a scene shot at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, and the song Teri Meri Love Story was also filmed here.
5. Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015)
The team of Hamari Adhuri Kahani came to the UAE twice for this romance. The locations for filming include Qasr Al Sarab desert resort in Abu Dhabi, the Emirates terminal at the Dubai International Airport, Shaikh Zayed Road, Business Bay, Hatta Heritage Village, Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai and the Creek. The filming included three song sequences and a scene in the Dubai Miracle Garden to show the ‘softer side’ of the country.
6. Bang Bang! (2014)
Starring Bollywood actors Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, this action thriller saw this pair execute deadly stunts in the sea and the desert. The cast and crew stationed themselves in locations including the Liwa Oasis, the Corniche, Yas Island, Emirates palace, Hyatt Capital Gate hotel and Qasr Al Sarab. The bike chase sequence with crazy stunts and speeding in a F1 race-car were shot on the highways of Abu Dhabi.
7. Race (2008)
The characters in this action-packed thriller were the rich and the fabulous, and what better region than the UAE to reflect that? The film’s climax car chase scene featuring Kaif, Akshaye Khanna and Saif Ali Khan was filmed in the winding roads of the Jebel Hafeet mountains.
8. Deewane Huye Paagal (2005)
The 2005 Bollywood romantic comedy starring Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty, Shahid Kapoor, Rimi Sen and Paresh Rawal was filmed in Dubai and Ras Al Khaimah. While the climax, a stunt-filled fight scene, was captured at the Awafi desert in Ras Al Khaimah, there were a few other scenes shot at a villa in Barsha, Dubai.
9. Ramaiya Vastavaiya (2013)
With Shruti Haasan and Girish Kumar in lead roles, this romance was filmed in Wadi Adventure at Al Ain, as well as various locations across Dubai, including the Sheikh Zayed road and malls around the city, Sunset beach and Dubai International Airport. The opening scene of the movie was set against the backdrop of the Sunset beach and saw a few local surfers on their boards in the water, and another scene required about a hundred women to dress up as brides and run after the hero.
10. Airlift (2016)
This award-winning film follows the story of a wealthy businessman, who leads an evacuation drive of Indians based in Kuwait during the Gulf War. Ras Al Khaimah was dressed up as 1990 Kuwait and there were several scenes that were filmed at the Al Hamra Palace Beach Resort there. Nimrat Kaur, who played the hero Akshay Kumar’s wife, even celebrated her birthday on the sets. She cut a cake and was made to feel special by the cast and crew of Airlift who were seen shooting intense aftermath of war scenes in Ras Al Khaimah. Roads were cordoned off to facilitate the filming.