Dubai [UAE]: Dubai is fast gaining a competitive edge over popular destinations like London, New York and Inter laken as one of Bollywood’s most preferred destinations.
The Emirate has demonstrated in the past few years its prominence as a premium global production hub, able to successfully support the production needs of films of all sizes. Recent big-budget movies filmed in the Emirate include: ‘MI4’, ‘Bourne Legacy’, ‘Star Trek Beyond’ and Jackie Chan’s ‘Kung Fu Yoga’.
It is estimated that over 10 Bollywood feature films will be filmed in Dubai in 2017, alone.
Bollywood, in particular, represents the largest proportion of Dubai’s film and production industry growth – and the appeal of Dubai for Bollywood productions continues to grow, thanks to its close proximity to India, excellent connectivity, and unique locations, including grand hotels, and iconic landmarks.
There are more than 1,700 flights per month between Dubai and India, making them two of the most connected places in the world.
The UAE is also a huge source of box office revenue for the Bollywood film industry, such as 2014’s ‘Happy New Year’ movie starring Shah Rukh Khan, for which 31 per cent of overseas revenues stemmed from the UAE, making it the largest overseas market for the film. SRK has also recently been in the Emirate promoting his latest film, ‘Raees’.
Bollywood still continues to influence the travel decisions of middle-class Indians who are travelling abroad in growing numbers, with 50million forecast to do so by 2020.
Dubai’s popularity as a production destination will likely have an even greater impact on inbound tourism from India, which was up to 1.8 million arrivals in 2016, making it the top source market.
Commenting, Jamal Al Sharif, Chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission (DFTC) said:
“A few years ago, we predominantly facilitated small Bollywood productions – perhaps a song, or a sequence for a film. Today,we host entire A-list Bollywood films shoots in Dubai, and often screening or premiering here too, even in cases where only parts of the film were shot here. This is testament to the Emirate’s role as a key part of the Bollywood production value chain.”
DFTC is the leading voice of Dubai’s production industry, and serves as a one-stop shop for producers, film crews and filmmakers to ensure a seamless filming experience in the Emirate.
The Commission proactively engages with the entire media value chain to facilitate production, from arranging entry and exit for international crews, to procedural support.
Dubai’s landscapes and landmarks have proven to be extremely popular locations for Bollywood films to shoot in, including the desert for action scenes; Sheikh Zayed Road, the Dubai Creek area, and parks and beaches for song sequences; in addition to the iconic locations such as Burj Khalifa, the world’s busiest airport (Dubai International Airport), and the Palm Jumeirah.
Jamal Al Sharif added: “Dubai’s connectivity, world-class infrastructure and diverse locations have set it apart as a leading filming destination. Production companies enjoy a wealth of unique and iconic sets that suit all storylines, and also benefit from the cost-reducing soft incentives, such as special arrangements with key industry partners, licensing, or repatriations with services providers, as well as ease of issuance of permit approvals for productions provided by DFTC.”
Home to many professional and world class production houses, Dubai played a key role in many Bollywood films such as ‘Welcome Back’ and ‘Hamari Adhuri Kahani’, whether as a prime filming location or by participating in the production of these films.
Zakir Hussain, Director at Icon Productions said: “Dubai has inspired the Bollywood film industry which has created the trend of producing complete films in the UAE. I have been working with over 32 feature films, 100+ Music videos and 200+ TVC Productions, with so many producers and directors of the film Industry. Dubai is any filmmaker dream destination for filming for various reasons like,the iconic locations, locations which fit in the creative requirements, available technical Infrastructure like cameras, lights, grips, crew, local talents, security for celebrities, hotel, visas, transport and any special requirements.”
Zakir continued: “The legal structure in Dubai has made related approvals very fast and most importantly DFTC active support with all the other government entities like DFTC, Civil Aviation, Ministry of Defense, RTA and Dubai Police makes any kind of film production possible at any given time.”
Icon Productions in Dubai have participated in the production of Bollywood blockbusters including: ‘ Happy New Year’, ‘Welcome Back’, ‘Ki and Ka’, and ‘Raees’. (ANI)