Dubai unlimited

Written by Screen Correspondent | Screen correspondent | Mumbai | Updated: Sep 20 2013, 20:06pm hrs
DubaiBoman Irani, Deepika Padukone, Vivaan Shah, Shah Rukh Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Farah Khan address a press conference in Dubai. They are attired in the local Kandura (for men) and Abbaya (for women)
Dubai is a character in the movie as opposed to being a mere backdrop; it is the city that the characters (in the film) come to for New Year Farah Khan, director

A special premiere of the film will be held at Hotel Atlantis the Palm, where extensive portions of the film have been shot.

Director Farah Khans Happy New Year got off to a good start in Dubai with scenes being shot at the airport, the famed hotel Atlantis the Palm and the famous Snow Penguins at Ski Dubai among others. The excitement within the city limits about a big ticket film shoot was palpable with locals talking excitedly about it.

Jamal Al Sharif, Chairman of Dubai Film & TV Commission and Managing Director of Tecom Investments, admitted that Happy New Year was a happy addition to the list of Bollywood films, besides South Indian films being shot in Dubai. He was hopeful that the film would encourage even more Bollywood producers they are in talks with a big shot Hindi film producer whom he refused to name to visit Dubai. In fact, according to the Chairman, the impact of Happy New Year could have an even bigger impact than Mission Impossible 4 as superstar Shah Rukh Khan has an even bigger following in the region than Hollywood actor Tom Cruise. And Bollywood films are fast catching up with Hollywood films in terms of viewership too.

The city has supplemented numerous shooting facilities like two huge 25,000 sq.ft. state-of-the-art studios that can even be used as a single space, besides a huge green screen, VFX studios and water tanks (for underwater shooting) to bring in crews from India, China, and Hollywood. The department of Location Approval Services, DSC also provides a single clearance window for obtaining shooting and filming permits.

Mission Impossible 4 was shot at some strategic locations of Dubai including the Dubai creek and hotel Burj Khalifa among others and they hope to go even bigger with Happy New Year. Director Farah Khan said that Dubai is a character in the movie as opposed to being a mere backdrop; it is the city that the characters (in the film) come to, for the New Year though she refused to divulge more details. However, we did learn that dance plays an important role in the film starring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Sonu Sood and Vivaan Shah. A special premiere of the film will be held at Atlantis The Palm where a large part of the film has been shot.

Other Hindi films that have been shot in the city recently include Mental, Race 2, Dabangg besides Ladies and Gentleman (Malayalam). Switch, a Chinese action film, has also been shot in Dubai. The entire crew of the film reiterated that filming in Dubai was rendered very easy due to the co-operation of the authorities and locals alike, some of them even volunteering for odd jobs like traffic control.

When Shah Rukh Khan was asked whether Dubai would be the new London, he said that comparisons such as these oversimplified matters,. Each city, be it London, Dubai, Mumbai or Delhi, has a unique charm of its own.

Incidentally Dubai, besides a filming destination, is also the haven for a whole lot of A-list actors from Hollywood and Bollywood, including Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya and Abhishek Bachchan, Madonna, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt.