Dubai assesses benefits of Shah Rukh Khan film Happy New Year
Dubai is assessing the benefits of hosting location filming for Shah Rukh Khan’s feature Happy New Year, which recently became the first movie to shoot almost entirely in the emirate city. Figures from the Dubai Film and TV Commission suggest the production spent USD5 million locally.
“This is not just a dance scene, but about 80-90% of the whole film that was shot in Dubai,” Dubai Film and TV Commission chairman Jamal Al Sharif told The National: “We had to learn the logistics. Normally we’ve only dealt with a maximum of 40 people who come to do a dance scene in two to five days.”
Happy New Year filmed largely on location at luxury hotel Atlantis, The Palm. The production team also stayed at the hotel during the shoot, occupying 180 rooms for nearly a full month. Dubai doesn’t offer a formal filming incentive, but opts instead to negotiate specific packages on a case-by-case basis. For Happy New Year, special deals stretched to air travel and immigration issues.
“We are putting together plans for the years to come to provide soft and hard incentives and rebates,” Al Sharif added: “Dubai is a tax-free destination and we have to take advantage of that. We’re looking to improve many things. We have a project in Studio City which is part of a Tecom investment to build a 50,000-square-foot site with a water tank.”
We are putting together plans for the years to come to provide soft and hard incentives and rebates. Dubai is a tax-free destination and we have to take advantage of that.
Jamal Al Sharif, Dubai Film and TV Commission
The United Arab Emirates is keen to establish itself as a major filmmaking force and proximity to India is helping the country forge links with the Bollywood production industry.
Appealing to Hollywood is more of a long-term challenge and hinges on competitive financing. Abu Dhabi has the edge here, having launched a 30% filming incentive in 2012, which has helped secure selected scenes from both the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced Beware the Night and the upcoming Fast & Furious 7.
Producers will be keeping a close eye on incentives developments in the coming months and years.
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