Abu Dhabi is fast becoming a prime destination for shooting Bollywood movies as the support given is not a "one-size-fits-all" one but tailored according to the needs of every production, says CEO of the UAE capital's Media Zone Authority Maryam Eid AlMheiri.
"And of course, the 30 per cent rebate on production and post-production spend in the Emirates is a huge incentive for Indian filmmakers. Among those that have taken advantage of it are five Bollywood hits - 'Baby' (2014), 'Bang Bang' (2014), 'Dishoom' (2016), 'Tiger Zinda Hai' (2017) and 'Race 3' (2018) - which together spent USD 31 million on production and post-production in Abu Dhabi," AlMheiri told PTI.
Access to government entities is also offered to facilitate filming.
"The support offered by the UAE Armed Forces is unparalleled, and benefited numerous productions, such as 'Tiger Zinda Hai', 'Race 3', 'War Machine', and 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout'. Not only do the Armed Forces supply hardware, such as Blackhawk helicopters, Oshkosh trucks, NIMR military vehicles, and Humvees, but also the expertise for productions to get the most out of them," she says.
twofour54 also has a dedicated government and travel services department that takes the headache out of the logistics of shooting, such as arranging road closures, and getting visas and filming permits, she says.
"But it is not just about facilities. Production companies benefit from having access to talented local crews, including our pool of 580-plus freelancers, who have experience of working on productions of all sizes and genres."
On the support extended according to the needs of every production, AlMheiri says, "The recent HALO skydive by Tom Cruise for 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' was a very specific requirement. There aren't many places in the world where a C17 military aircraft is available to a producer for three weeks, but we managed to cater for it."
Abu Dhabi authorities provide support in not just production and post-production but even before the cameras roll with location scouting, pre-production office space, storage and logistics.
"We handle all their needs, whether it's flights, drone permits, catering, vehicles, road closures or location agreements, seamlessly and streamlined. Nowhere else in the world offers such comprehensive support and it is why filmmakers choose Abu Dhabi - they can focus on creating the content while we focus on delivery," says AlMheiri.
According to her, there is a huge appetite for Bollywood content in the UAE, with broadcaster MBC dedicating channels to Bollywood films.
"I'm particularly pleased to see that people like Salman Khan keep coming back to Abu Dhabi to make their productions," she says.
In the past five years, more than 60 productions from around the world have availed the incentives offered by Abu Dhabi.
"Only a couple of months ago, Tom Cruise and the crew of 'Mission: Impossible - Fallout' were in Abu Dhabi shooting one of the key scenes for the latest installment of Paramount Pictures' action franchise.
"Other international productions include 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (Disney), 'Furious 7' (Universal), and 'War Machine' (Plan B Entertainment). We've also seen popular TV shows such as 'The Bold and the Beautiful', 'The Today Show', and 'Top Gear' shoot here," says AlMheiri.
On the shooting of "Race 3", she says it was shot at nine locations in the Emirates across 23 days in March and April. The locations included Emirates Palace, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, The St Regis Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Emirates Steel, and the Liwa Desert.
"Race 3" also marked the return of leading Hollywood stunt director Tom Struthers who enlisted the help of the UAE Armed Forces for the movie's action scenes, she says, adding Struthers also worked on "Tiger Zinda Hai".
"Tiger Zinda Hai" is the longest film ever to shoot in Abu Dhabi at 65 days.
The film required the construction of a 20,000 sqm set at Abu Dhabi's backlot in Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), with more than 150 people helping to build it over 102 days, says AlMheiri.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)