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Dubai: Bollywood movies and its stars have fascinated and enthralled millions cutting across geographies over the decades. But its magic and its seamless connect with audiences have been built within the confines of movie halls or multiplexes.
Can the essence of Bollywood then be transplanted into the brick-and-mortar of a themed destination?
Raed Al Nuaimi, CEO of Dubai Parks and Resorts, believes the formula exists to make such a transition work. (Dubai did make an earlier attempt at introducing such a concept, but never came to fruition after the financial crisis.)
“There are an estimated three billion Bollywood fans who live within a four-hour flight’s radius from Dubai,” said Al Nuaimi, who is himself quite a follower of Bollywood, having watched the biggest blockbuster ‘Sholay’ quite a few times. “If a Bollywood themed destination has not been attempted before, it does not mean it cannot be. Studios in the West have had themes from their movies translated into physical attractions, and successfully too. We intend to do the same with Bollywood.
“We have confirmed working relationships with some of the biggest names in the trade such as Shahrukh (Khan), Aamir (Khan), Salman (Khan), Hrithik (Roshan) and Farhan Akthar, and the businesses they are associated with. There will be superhero attractions (Ra One) and live entertainment at a stand-alone theatre in Dubai.
“There will be special rides featuring ‘virtual reality immersion’ that allows visitors to be a character in a movie — we are planning to do that with Shahrukh’s Don — and along the lines of the King Kong version at Universal.
“We will not stop with having just a few concepts to bring out what people expect from a Bollywood theme park. The possibilities are endless, more so because we are building from scratch.”