Consider UAE as one of the most favourite locations for Bollywood filmmakers to make a blockbuster movie. UAE’s allure lies not just in its proximity to the Indian subcontinent but also in its diverse array of stunning attractions, architectural marvels, and breathtaking desert landscapes. Its opulent cityscape, striking desert panoramas, and pristine beaches make the UAE a quintessential filming destination and a cinematic haven. It’s not just the best place for filming but also our B-town celebs love celebrating almost every occasion in UAE or it’s their best place for a mini getaway.
Let’s have a look at the 7 movies where UAE served as the backdrop!
1) Pathaan (2023)
The world was left in awe when Shah Rukh Khan’s latest blockbuster ‘Pathan’ hit the screens, taking the box office by storm. Featuring an ensemble cast of Deepika Padukone and John Abraham, the film has been lauded for its explosive action sequences that have set a new benchmark for Hindi cinema, giving Hollywood a run for its money. However, what truly sets ‘Pathaan’ apart is the spine-tingling face-off between SRK (in the titular role of Pathaan) and Abraham (as Jim) amidst the dazzling skyline of Dubai. The team behind the film went all out to create this unforgettable moment, even shutting down the iconic Burj Khalifa boulevard for the first time ever for a movie, making it a truly remarkable feat.
2) Bunty Aur Babli 2 (2021)
The crime comedy sequel, ‘Bunty Aur Babli 2’, brings back the iconic duo of Rani Mukerji and Saif Ali Khan, alongside the fresh faces of Siddhant Chaturvedi and Sharvari Wagh. The film has captured the locations of Abu Dhabi, with its stunning Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and Emirates Palace serving as the perfect backdrops for the film’s thrilling scenes.
3) Race 3 (2018)
The action-packed film, ‘Race 3’, features some of the most unique and stunning locations in the UAE. With an eye for detail, the production team chose five distinct filming locations in Abu Dhabi, including the grand Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, the opulent Emirates Palace, the luxurious Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, the industrial Emirates Steel, and the prestigious St Regis Abu Dhabi. But that’s not all – the stunning Liwa Desert, located at the edge of the UAE’s most breathtaking desert region, Rub Al Khali, also served as one of the film sets. The movie’s plot focuses on the wealthy class and politics, which is why Dubai was chosen as the backdrop. The movie’s climax scene, where the cars chase each other to the finish line, was shot entirely in Dubai. This scene provides an incredible aerial view of the city, showcasing the highway junction and other offbeat settings of Dubai.
4) Happy New Year (2017)
The blockbuster hit ‘Happy New Year’ was a laugh-riot action-comedy heist film. With an all-star cast featuring Shah Rukh Khan, Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Bachchan, Boman Irani, Jackie Shroff, and Sonu Sood, Dubai was the perfect location for the film’s shooting, serving not just as a backdrop but also as a crucial plot point. Most of the shooting took place at Atlantis, The Palm, a luxurious five-star hotel located on Palm Jumeirah, which has an iconic appearance and offers a larger-than-life experience. The Dubai Mall also served as a backdrop for the song ‘Satakli’, featuring the stunning grandeur of one of the largest malls in the world. The film’s title itself references the magnificent New Year celebrations that Dubai is famous for.
5) Dishoom (2016)
The adrenaline-packed Bollywood flick ‘Dishoom’, featuring the dynamic duo of John Abraham and Varun Dhawan, took Abu Dhabi by storm with its action-packed scenes shot in some of the most stunning locations. From the thrills of Ferrari World to the picturesque Reem Island and Yas Waterworld, the production team left no stone unturned in showcasing the beauty of Abu Dhabi. With a high-speed boat chase scene shot in the sea off the Abu Dhabi Corniche, the movie had a perfect blend of adventure and drama. The film’s plot revolves around two detectives, played by John and Varun, in search of a missing person in an unknown Arab country. The 45-day filming spree across 30 locations in Abu Dhabi gave the film a captivating edge and a stunning visual appeal.
6) Airlift (2016)
‘Airlift’ is a cinematic masterpiece that captures the harrowing events of the first Gulf War in 1990. The film was shot in the stunning location of Ras Al Khaimah. The film’s protagonist, played by Akshay Kumar, is a wealthy and powerful Indian businessman who takes on the daunting task of evacuating 170,000 people from Kuwait to India during the Gulf War. To recreate the setting of Kuwait in 1990, the first schedule of the film was shot in Ras Al Khaimah’s Al-Hamra Palace Beach Resort and RAK airport. The production team meticulously chose the locations to ensure that the film accurately captured the essence of the story and history.
7) Welcome (2007) & Welcome Back (2015)
Dubai has served as a perfect location for some of the most hilarious Bollywood movies, including the hit comedy films ‘Welcome’ (2007) and ‘Welcome’ Back (2015). The films feature an ensemble cast of Bollywood stars, with Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar leading the way as the notorious dons in both films. The luxurious locations in Dubai capture the opulent lifestyle portrayed in the movie, including lavish yacht parties and stunning hotels. In one memorable scene, Nana Patekar’s character throws a party at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai. The Dragon Mart also makes an appearance in the movie. The sequel, ‘Welcome Back’, also features some of the most beautiful locations in the UAE, including the famous Burj Khalifa.