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The bright, colourful energy of Bollywood cinema is being transported to the UAE, as part of a first-of-its-kind theme park dedicated to Mumbai’s film industry.
Bollywood Park is part of a larger vision to make the UAE a booming global tourism hub, with 20 million visitors expected by the year 2020.
That unmistakable sound can only mean one thing – the colourful opening of the latest addition to Dubai’s glittering attractions: Bollywood Park.
This first-of-its-kind theme park is aiming to transport the thrills of Bollywood cinema here to the heart of the UAE.
It’s set to host 20 live shows across five stages, including hundreds of singers, actors, dancers and acrobats.
Park general manager Thomas Jellum says opening a Bollywood-themed park made sense, particularly given the UAE’s large Indian population.
“When Dubai Parks and resort was created or the idea was kind of being born, it was firstly about the Motion Gate, the bigger park and then Lego Land,” he says.
“And then the management, they were thinking why is it always Hollywood Parks? Why is it not like a Bollywood Park? Mostly because of the proximity to India, but also because there’s so many Indians living in Dubai, probably more than a million. So in that sense, it was kind of logical.”
Bollywood is considered to be one of the largest centres of film production in the world.
According to the International Indian Film Academy, Bollywood movies are now seem by larger audiences than their Hollywood counterparts.
“Bollywood as a brand, it’s not only for Indians, it has now a big base of fans across the world,” says Dubai Parks and Resorts CEO Raed Kajour Al Nuami.
“There is two billion people living in a four-hour radius from Dubai and almost all of them are Bollywood fans.
“Dubai has the best infrastructure to basically have such international standard theme parks to be in it.
“And that’s why after lots of studies, we thought a Bollywood brand will make a big sense for us and to complete the destination that we are today.”
The opening of Dubai Parks and Resorts is part of a larger vision to make the UAE a booming global tourism hub.
According to Visit Dubai, the city is expected to welcome around 20 million tourists annually by 2020.
Despite recent global financial unrest, international visitor numbers in Dubai have continued to grow, reaching 14.2 million in 2015.
That’s a 7.5 percent increase from the previous year. And it’s led by an over 20 percent increase in visitors from markets such as India and China.
DXB Entertainments, which owns the Dubai Parks and Resorts destination, consists of three theme parks, plus one water park, all in the same location.
A fourth theme park, Six Flags Dubai, is set to open in 2019.
The large-scale 13.2 billion dirham (approx. $3.6 billion USD) development is spread across 30.6 million square feet of land.
Around 6.7 million ticketed visits are expected in 2017, its first full year of operation.
Bollywood Park is spread across 1.7 million square feet and divided into five zones, including ‘Bollywood Boulevard’, ‘Mumbai Chowk’ and ‘Rustic Ravine’
The park is set to offer 16 rides, plus various attractions related to Bollywood blockbusters, like ‘Sholay’, ‘Dabangg’, ‘Ra.One’ and ‘Lagaan’.
“It’s an amazing feeling because, I’m from India as I stated, we don’t have anything of this sort in India, but very much Bollywood from heart,” says Manu, a Dubai-based engineer from India.
“Seeing this in Dubai, it’s an amazing experience. What you see here, ‘Lagaan’, ‘Sholay’, these are the movies we have seen from our childhood and we have built with them, so.”
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