Glitz, glamour and all things larger than life. The fantasy that is Bollywood recently found a perfect tribute in the newly opened Bollywood Parks Dubai. With its colourful structures, adrenaline-pumping rides and elaborate interiors, you could be pardoned for thinking it is the set of the most expensive Bollywood film that is yet to be made. Except that it is real, and is now open for you to experience. We recently got a peek into the gorgeous world of Bollywood Parks Dubai and here is an overview of everything that makes it Dubai’s hottest destination.
A Thursday evening is easily the most important time in Dubai’s social calendar. It is on one such evening that Bollywood Parks opens its doors to the public. A sprawling stage at the entrance of the park sets the tone for the grandeur that awaits us inside. The initial performances have a host of dancers performing to Bollywood chartbusters, followed by the band, Magik, (that will be performing at the Rock On cafe), crooning to the hit numbers from the Farhan Akhtar film. As entertaining as these performances are, one might get an impression that the project at large may have typified Bollywood into song-and-dance routine. But when at Bollywood Parks, you cannot expect the expected!
The team behind Bollywood Parks Dubai at the launch
THE HUSTLE BUSTLE
Our journey to Bollywood Parks begins at Bollywood Boulevard. The elaborately done interiors are a reminder of the opulent sets synonymous with the Bollywood of the ‘70s. Spread across this pathway are a number of small cafes and shops. Prepare to be wowed by some amazing memorabilia and merchandise at Chalte Chalte, or just grab a quick bite at the Jumbo Café. The Crossroads stage that follows next is a hotbed for all things we call ‘filmy’. A huge crowd gathers here to watch some song-and-dance performances. My companion gleefully points out that it’s actually Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan who are performing on stage. On closer inspection, we realise they are lookalikes who seem to have emulated every inch, every muscle and every move of the celebrities.
The entrance to Sholay: The Hunt For Gabbar Singh
The excitement of being at the Parks has revolved mostly around the rides. On the day of the launch, limited rides were open to public. Being a die-hard Aamir Khan fan, my loyalties rested with Lagaan: The Thrill of Victory. The ride enables you to enter the world of Bhuwan (a wooden animation) and his teammates hitting a cricket ball. The rider essentially experiences the movements of the ball being hit, and it’s safe to say that it’s as thrilling as the last decisive scene from the iconic film. Sholay: The Hunt For Gabbar Singh, on the other hand, is a 3D shooting experience where your opponents are the virtual villain Gabbar Singh and his armed bandits. The rides are special in that sweet nostalgia about Bollywood films is carefully interwoven with a sense of adventure. Some of the other rides like Ra.One Unleashed, Krrish: Hero’s Flight and Dabangg: Stunt Spectacular Show are equally promising in their appeal and are open to the public now!
The Rajmahal Theatre
The hustle bustle of the Boulevard sets tone for what is singularly the most breathtaking aspect of Bollywood Parks – the Rajmahal theatre. Seated right at the heart of the venue, the white marbled structure evokes awe almost instantly. But once you are done marvelling at the external appeal of Rajmahal, it’s highly recommended that you watch the musical extravaganza Jaan-E-Jigar. At the outset, the Broadway style show is the classic brothers-separated-at-birth tale, but the craft shines! Peppered with a number of Bollywood chartbusters and dances, the 120-minute show soars with excellent production design and special effects. They are duly complemented with competent actors and dancers who live up to the physical as well as the performative aspect of their roles. They own every inch of the auditorium as much as they own the stage. So if you think, you can be a passive audience, then this one has some delightful surprises for you.
Bollywood Parks Dubai is a rite of passage for all fans of Indian films. For the rest, it is an adventure of a lifetime.
Tickets are priced at Dhs285 (adults) and Dhs 245 (kids and senior citizens). For details, log on to www.bollywoodparksdubai.com