Filming in Abu Dhabi: beyond beaches & bays

Abu Dhabi as a film destination
/ New Delhi
/ Film
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Eager to attract filmmakers to pick Abu Dhabi as a shooting location, the Emirate is adding hefty tax rebates to its scenic diversity of locations. 

A short hop of fewer than three hours by air, vast scenic desert locations that reflect the golden sunlight, deep azure bays and the dark green canopy of date palms that line the entire location. These and a large variety of modern architecture are increasingly turning the attention of Indian filmmakers to selecting Abu Dhabi as their film location.

Now, they have an even bigger incentive. The capital and the largest Emirate of the United Arab Emirates has announced a hefty 30 pc incentive on the money spent there for production and post-production of films. Abu Dhabi has a sizeable expatriate Indian community, fine weather and a combination of characteristic scenery including deserts and seaside along with ultra-modern architecture. No wonder, Abu Dhabi attracts numerous Indian filmmakers that aim at cinematically portraying the spirit of the city within their plot.

With about two- thirds of the global population within 8 hours of flying time, Abu Dhabi has become one of the favourite overseas destinations for film shoots that not only adds exotic elements to the film’s appeal but also significantly contributes towards maximising the tourism opportunities of the region.

Emirates Palace

Destinations like Liwa oasis, Hyatt Capital Gate Hotel, Qasr al Saraband Emirates Palace which were shot for the Hindi film Bang Bang(2014), starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif, vividly sketch the vibe of the city. “Everything about the Abu Dhabi shoot was pure luxury. I have always loved this city, where you even have the comfort do your own thing without anyone troubling you,” Kaif was quoted by media.

Another prominent destination, the Abu Dhabi Corniche, renowned for its abundant cycle paths, fountains and cafés was the location for a fight sequence in the film Dishoom (2016). Other films like Saaho (2019), a tri-lingual thriller film starring Prabhas, the leading man of India’s biggest blockbuster the Baahubali series was shot over a period of 50 days at many destinations, the second-longest time period after Salman Khan starrer Tiger Zinda Hai in 2017.

Yas Waterworld Theme Park

Yas Island, best known for its three acclaimed theme parks that includes the renowned world’s first Ferrari-based theme park, also hosts massive luxury malls, spotless beaches and Yas Marina Circuit –venue for the annual F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which are increasingly becoming popular among the tourists after being shot in multiple Bollywood and Hollywood films.

Some tourists like to rent luxury cars on their day out to enjoy the lively environment of the city, shopping for the finest gold, diamond and pearl jewellery at affordable prices and the make the best out the nightlife in Abu Dhabi by sipping on a cocktail or smoking a Shisha pipe. While others opt for buses which run on a fairly regular schedule and accept payments through the Hafilat smart card, Nol card and Sayer card, quietly visiting the key religious, cultural and historical destinations like Sheikh Zayed Grand mosque, the Louvre museum and UAE heritage village among many other awe-inspiring locations of the city.


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