Filming for Welcome Back, the sequel to the hit 2007 Bollywood movie Welcome, continued in Dubai this week. Shooting took place at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi at the start of the week before moving to Dubai. The cast and crew were hard at work on an outdoor shoot at the Sofitel on the Palm Jumeirah yesterday.
The current shoot for Welcome Back is the third in the UAE. The team will be heading back to Mumbai in a few days before returning for a fourth and final shoot in the UAE later this month.
Speaking to Digital Studio, the film’s director, Anees Bazmee, said that the production was progressing well. “Shooting is going fantastic except for the weather. People here are very warm and friendly, there’s a lot of equipment here and we are getting good locations, so it is not very difficult to shoot here,” he said. “I love Dubai – there are great locations and if you come at the right time, it is amazing to shoot here. It is very difficult to get such locations anywhere in the world.”
When asked about the style of the film, Bazmee said that his aim was to please fans of Welcome by combining elements of the first film with something new. “People love that picture [Welcome] and they are watching it again and again, so if you change the entire thing maybe they will not like it, but if you making the same kind of film, they will say ‘why?’. It is a very difficult situation for me as a writer and director to make this picture. When you see this picture you will see something of the first one and something very new and different also.
“I wanted to make the second one bigger, better and I think I have succeeded in that,” he added.
Fans of Welcome can expect to see plenty of action in the sequel. The film’s producer, Firoz A Nadiadwala, told Digital Studio that the production so far has included a helicopter chase in the desert and skydiving scenes.
“Some of the locations we have used here and some action sequences we have done, it’s unthinkable the way it has come out in terms of the technique employed – it has come out very good,” he said.
Nadiadwala added that he expected production to be completed this month after the cast and crew return to the UAE for the fourth and final shoot.
Jamal Al Sharif, chairman of Dubai Film and TV Commission and managing director of Dubai Studio City, added: “We are delighted that Welcome Back has chosen Dubai to film the majority of their upcoming sequel of Bollywood blockbuster ‘Welcome’, parts of which were also filmed in the Emirate. It is testament to Dubai’s connectivity, infrastructure and diversity of locations that they have chosen to return, and we have worked closely with the production team to support the entire cast and crew."
The film, the majority of which has been shot in Dubai, is due to be released in the first quarter of 2015.