Hello, Dubai for 'Welcome Back'
Anil Kapoor, John Abraham and Nana Patekar - stars of Welcome Back, the sequel to 2007's blockbuster comedy Welcome - talk about friendship and Dubai. Welcome Back releases in the UAE theatres today.
Dubai's very own Welcome Back is all set to hit UAE cinema screens today. The glitz and glamour of Dubai really are the ultimate backdrop for this comic capper. Since Welcome Back is a leave-your-brains-at-home kind of comedy. Instead of going in depth of the art of movie making, we decided to have a lighthearted conversation with the stars of Welcome Back. Made on a budget of US$ 16 million, 90% of the movie has been filmed in Dubai at locations including the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray Hotel, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, the Meydan Hotel, the Sofitel Hotel - The Palm, the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the Burj Khalifa, the Palace Hotel and the Rixos Hotel.
Tell us more about Welcome Back and your character.
ANIL: Welcome was a blockbuster and hence I was skeptical when Anees Bazmee (producer) wanted to meet me for the sequel. However, once he finished narrating the story, it was obvious we had a winner on our hands. Welcome Back is an out-and-out entertainer. Must add that when we all watched the film together, we loved it even more; in fact even Nana who is known for never sugar-coating things is excited about the film and promoting it so extensively says a lot about its potential.I reprise my role of 'Majnu Bhai' however in this installment upon the insistence of Uday Bhai we have become 'Shareef' businessmen. Uday is confused about the decision whereas my character is completely sure that we have made a huge mistake.
NANA: When I read the script, I felt I needed to do this film to unwind. It gave me the chance to open up and laugh out loud. It's written well and funny elements have been added at the right time, with the right cast delivering those dialogues and punches. I would like to say that Welcome Back is funnier than Welcome. It is a very weird story as everyone here tries to present himself or herself as a saint, which no one is in reality. There are many funny situations created in Welcome Back. Majnu and I are also trying to appear clean and decent, so that's where the entire confusion begins. You will enjoy the film when you watch it.
JOHN: In Anil Sir's words it's a Jhakaas Paisa Vasool Film. It's a fun family entertainer and the comedy is very situational and not slapstick at all. My character Ajju bhai is a lovable rowdy who gets to mouth some the of the best one liners of the film like 'Apan pe joh haath daalta hai, apan uski phaad daalta hai' ' Mobile uska , sim apun ka ... tu beech mein missed call dene wala kaun ?' And 'Bangkok wala character hoke Haridwar wala feel mat de'. I also create havoc in the lives of Uday Bhai and Majnu Bhai and even get to call them ' Aye Senior Citizen'. I feel fortunate to be making a comeback after two years post Madras Cafe, with this film. So it's truly a Welcome Back for me.
How was the experience of shooting in Dubai?
AK: For WB we have shot all over, in the most exotic locations, glamorous hotels. Dubai as a city is unstoppable.
NANA: I enjoy shooting here, it's an extremely well laid out and comfortable city.
JOHN: It's always fantastic coming back to Dubai, it is amongst my favorite cities in the world and feels like home away from home.
Which were your favourite locations in Dubai?
AK: One's spoilt for choices here. However, I must add Zabeel Saray was depicted as my house in Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol and now in Welcome Back too.
NANA: It would be wrong on my path to differentiate when I have truly enjoyed each place to the fullest.
JOHN: We shot in some of the most exotic of locations so that's a difficult one to answer.
What were the challenges that you faced during the Dubai shoot?
AK: Weather wise challenges never bother me and as far as location-related issues I think Firoz, Arjun and team have done an outstanding job.
NANA: If the team is to believe the biggest problem on set was Nana (laughs).
JOHN: I had a great time shooting for the film so honestly no challenges whatsoever.
Did long shooting schedules help made you some good friends on the sets?
AK: I have worked with all of them in the past including Nasser, Nana, John, Paresh & Dimple and share a great relationship with all of them, obviously long schedules help in strengthening the bond.
NANA: John was a newcomer when I worked with him in Taxi No 9211.I am so happy to see how he has evolved as an actor. I have known Paresh Rawal for ages. He played my father in Kranti Veer. Working with Paresh has always been a pleasure; in fact things get easy when you work with someone you know since a long time. I bonded a lot with Anil Kapoor while shooting for Welcome Back. Initially, he was a friend, after Welcome Back he is my brother. I am so happy. If you ask me one thing I got from this film, I would say I got a brother in the form of Anil Kapoor.
JOHN: Everyone in this film is lucky for me. I did Taxi No. 9211 with Nana, Shootout at Wadala and Race 2 with Anil Kapoor. I have a huge hit song Tu Mera Hero with Mika (singer). I felt great working in Welcome Back. I never felt any nervousness or pressure shooting for the film, as I'm happy that the film is a sequel, and working with talented and experienced actors like Nana, Paresh, Anil, Dimple and Naseeruddin among others was very great learning experience. I am a big fan of Anees' films and I am working on Firoz's next Hera Pheri 3 too.