UAE filmmakers prefer old Indian movies 'that had stories to narrate'

Alwiya Thani says she grew up watching Bollywood movies.
Alwiya Thani says she grew up watching Bollywood movies.

Abdulrazak said that Bollywood movies today are not like how they used to be.

By Sherouk Zakaria, Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 25 Jan 2017, 7:41 PM

Emirati filmmakers have long expressed their interest in Indian cinema. Local filmmaker Nayla Al Khaja, for example, shot her first Emirati-Indian short film back in 2010. The film Mallal (means boredom) revolves around a young Emirati couple who travel to south India on honeymoon and was largely shot in Munnar.
Majid Abdulrazak has also expressed that he grew to love Indian movies. However, there seemed to be a preference to old Bollywood movies as compared to modern ones.
Abdulrazak said that Bollywood movies today are not like how they used to be. "When I watch Indian movies nowadays, I walk out after the first 10 minutes," said Abulrazak. "I grew up watching Hindi movies made in the 40s and 50s. At that time, those were the only movies we had access to. I am still a very big fan of veteran actor Dilip Kumar."
Echoing similar thoughts was 34-year-old Emirati filmmaker Alwiya Thani, who said Indian films were the only thing she grew up watching. "We used to gather with the family every Thursday at 10pm and wait to start our Indian movie night.
"They were real films and stories that we felt we connected to. Movies also played a big role in teaching us the Hindi language."
Thani, however, said modern Indian movies are more commercialised and heavily dependent on entertainment, as compared to old movies that aimed at telling stories. "Movies nowadays are more uplifting, but I preferred old films that had a social message."
She named recent films like the Lunchbox, directed by Ritesh Batra, as one of her favourites. Irrfan Khan, Naseeruddin Shah and Om Puri - who died earlier this month - remain some of her favourite names.
Music producer and film enthusiast Ahmed Al Yafei said it is important to learn the experience that Indians have had on the Emirati film scene. "Most of the industry here is affected by the glow of Bollywood and passion in their work. Almost every Emirati singer has produced a song that has an Indian touch."
Bollywood Parks celebrates movies
Celebrating the Indian movie culture, Dubai witnessed the opening of Bollywood Parks Dubai last November as part of Dubai Parks and Resorts.
Bollywood Parks Dubai showcases rides and attractions based on some of Bollywood's biggest blockbusters. It recreates the Bollywood experience through themed attractions and rides spread across five zones: Bollywood Boulevard, Mumbai Chowk, Rustic Ravine, Royal Plaza and Bollywood Film Studios.
Visitors experience bold action, colourful story-telling and captivating dance sequences inspired by nine popular films: Rock On, Don, Lagaan, Sholay, Dabangg, Mughal-e-Azam, Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara, RA.One and Krrish.
An 850-seater Rajmahal Theatre is home to a separately ticketed Broadway-style, Bollywood-themed show.
The park has had its hype already as Shah Rukh Khan visited earlier this week to exclusively preview the video of a new Arabic version of his Hindi song, Zaalima, alongside Arabic singers Grini and Jamila. 

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