Everbody who is anybody in Bollywood seems to have put in an appearance in Dubai this year. With enough drama and laughter to put a Bollywood film to shame, tabloid! looks back at the top 10 glorious moments...
Most gracious celebrity of the year: Vidya Balan, Kahaani promotion, March 7, 2012 Awards glory shone on Bollywood star Vidya Balan but instead of basking in her national awards which were announced on the day of her arrival in Dubai, the actress chose to shed light on the needs of abused women, with a visit to the Dubai Foundation For Women And Children (DFWAC). In town, on the eve of International Women’s Day, Balan spent the afternoon listening to women who were recovering from abusive relationships and human trafficking at DFWAC, a Dubai government-supported shelter.
“I salute you. You are very courageous and you have shown tremendous strength and maturity far beyond your age,” said Balan in Hindi as she hugged a shy 21-year-old Pakistani girl, a victim of human trafficking.
Most frequent visitor of the year: Priyanka Chopra, Agneepath film promotion: January 19; Teri Meri Kahaani premiere: June 20; Asmi jewellery launch: July 3; Barfi! film promotion: August 29; Ahlan Bollywood concert on UAE National Day: December 2.
If tabloid! could bestow a ‘Frequent Flier To Dubai 2012’ crown, the legitimate winner will surely be Priyanka Chopra who jetted into Dubai five times this year. But such familiarity didn’t breed contempt as she managed to charm the press and her fans at every Dubai junket. tabloid! discussed everything under the sun with her, from marriage to music. Dubai was also witness to an unlikely on-stage union between Salman Khan and Priyanka Chopra. Grapevine has it that PC was always in Salman’s enemy Shah Rukh’s good books but 2012 saw her shift her allegiance.
“It is always great to work with him. He is one of my first co-stars and I admire him tremendously,” said Chopra of her new-found friend. She hit the stage the next day with Salman on UAE National Day and danced to their hits from Salaam-e-Ishq and Mujhse Shaadi Karoge.
Unpredictable star of the year: Salman Khan
Bollywood’s original bad boy treated us to his notorious mood swings this year. While shooting a song sequence for Dabangg 2 in December, he was aloof. But his earlier visit in mid-June to launch his charity fashion line Being Human saw him reveal his softer side. He was in a generous mood as he answered questions at a packed press conference. He couldn’t keep up that facade for long. Six months later, on the eve of UAE National Day, Khan seemed a bit out of it. He claimed he didn’t know who Tom Cruise was and sarcastically suggested that he was Priyanka’s most favourite actor... these days. Surprisingly, a week earlier, tabloid! went shopping with Salman Khan at Dubai Mall’s Iconic and saw him treat his Dabangg 2 crew shooting in Dubai to new Being Human T-shirts. He waited around patiently till his boys had their fill and even goaded them to take a few more on his account.
Dramatic entry of the year: Kareena Kapoor, Heroine promotion on September 3.
Trust Mrs Kareena Kapoor Khan to inject a bit of drama into an otherwise routine press junket. In Dubai, she stepped off a sea-plane and jumped onto a yacht at the Jebel Ali Resort and Spa — just like her glamorous on-screen persona Mahi Arora. She warded off some sticky questions about her personal life with aplomb and dished out some philosophy too.
“I think I was pre-destined to take on this role. Madhur and I have been wanting to work together since Page 3. Watch out for this one,” said Kapoor. Unfortunately, her promise didn’t hold good as her fans rejected the tale about a mercurial, fame-hungry actress.
Random endorsement of the year: Sushmita Sen launching French Fried Chicken in Abu Dhabi, November 29
tabloid! stopped in our tracks on receiving an email that former Miss Universe and Bollywood actress Sushmita Sen had been roped in to open the French Fried Chicken outlet in November. The restaurant may have chosen an unlikely candidate to launch their bucket of chicken, but their union was a food for thought for many.
‘Living in the fast lane’ star of the year: Saif Ali Khan, Agent Vinod promotion, February 18
He may not have a licence to kill but Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan was surely armed with a licence to thrill. As he took tabloid! for a spin, he let us in on the connection between men and machines.
“You know, men and machines have this incredible connection. Boys in general like flying, driving fast motorcycles … Also, the incredible engineering that goes into making such marvellous cars where you can go at this speed with so much comfort is amazing.”
Crowd puller of the year: Hema Malini
Thousands of Dream Girl fans thronged Bur Dubai’s Meena Bazaar as news spread about the presence of Hema Malini in their neighbourhood. In town to inaugurate the Malabar Gold & Diamonds showroom in November, Malini was greeted with a sea of faces. She may attribute her long-enduring appeal to her classical dance background and living life on her own terms. Malini proved in Dubai that she’s still got it at 64.
Cutest star of the year: Abhishek Bachchan, Bol Bachchan film promotion, June 30
He was in Dubai with the Bol Bachchan gang comprising Ajay Devgn, Asin and Prachi Desai but what interested us was his parenting views. He induced collective “aaawws” as he claimed he wanted to raise his Aaradhya in “as normal a way as possible”. His take? Just as how he didn’t know that his father Amitabh was an actor until he turned 13, Aaradhya too would do just fine under the paparazzi glare.
The uninhibited star of the year: Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Dubai World Cup, March 31
All around her, there were women clad in cute frocks and wedges, but Aishwarya Rai Bachchan held her own in a traditional red Anarkali salwar and golden flat sandals at this year’s Dubai World Cup. The new mother and former Miss World, who was in town as the brand ambassador for Longines, chose practicality over fashion. Agreed, she was swaddled with too many yards for comfort, but Rai Bachchan was the epitome of grace at the watch presentation ceremony.
“I have been to Dubai before, but this is my first time to this event and it has been an absolute pleasure... This is obviously a glamorous event where everybody has come out in their finest,” said Rai Bachchan flashing her million-dirham style.
The endearing star of the year: Ranbir Kapoor, Barfi! film promotion, August 29
He’s charming and he knows it. Fortunately, he doesn’t overdo it. In town for Barfi!, Ranbir was all about extolling the virtues of living life king-size.
“Dont worry, be Barfi!”, he said as he posed happily with his co-star Priyanka Chopra. Between the two, they were game for anything to sell their film and were happy to clown around. Within a few minutes, they had the media eating out of their well-manicured hands.
Stars’ memorable quotes during Dubai trips
“I have done more dangerous stunts than Tom Cruise has done,” said Saif Ali Khan during the promotion of his film Agent Vinod.
“Nowadays there is no sari, it’s just bikini,” said Hema Malini during her visit to launch a jewellery store in Dubai.
“From that homeless boy to Robert De Niro — it was a beautiful moment. And after seeing my performance, he said I was terrific — that was like an Oscar or the biggest acting award given to me” — Anupam Kher.
A list of Bollywood stars in the UAE in 2012
Players’ cast Bipasha Basu, Sonam Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, Neil Nitin Mukesh to premiere their gold heist flick.
Agneepath cast Hrithik Roshan, Sanjay Dutt and Priyanka Chopra talk up their latest project.
Ek Main Aur Ekk Tuu pair Imran Khan and Kareena Kapoor talk about love and marriage atop the Burj Khalifa.
Anupam Kher launches his book ‘The Best Thing About You Is … YOU!’ in Dubai.
Agent Vinod hero Saif Ali Khan takes tabloid! for a wild spin.
London Paris New York stars Ali Zafar and Aditi Rao Hydari attempts to convince everybody that their romance is “different”.
Kahaani star Vidya Balan promotes her thriller. But the highlight was her visit to the shelter, Dubai Foundation For Women And Children (DFWAC).
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan attends the Dubai World Cup as Longines brand ambassador.
Vidya Balan and Sushmita Sen win awards at Gr8! Women Awards celebrating the achievements of women.
Character actors Lilette Dubey, Suchitra Pillai and Sandhya Mridul stage their drama ‘August: Osage County’.
Director Boney Kapoor attends the launch of Sultanate, an Indo-Pak crossover television serial minus his missus Sri Devi, who was scheduled to attend. She was missing in action since she was unwell, said organisers.
John Abraham and Ayushmman Khurrana spill intimate secrets — all in an effort to sell Vicky Donor. It worked.
Jannat 2 team Emraan Hashmi, Esha Gupta and Randeep Hooda promote their drama.
Rowdy Rathore team Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha and director Prabhu Deva arrive in the Gulf News office to guest-edit tabloid!. Akshay’s work gear: Violet pants and blue shirt.
Bollywood actor Anupam Kher stages his one-man play ‘Kuch Bhi Ho Sakta Hai’ at Ductac in Dubai.
Hema Malini, brand ambassador for Malabar Gold & Diamonds, launches their expansion drive.
Teri Meri Kahaani duo Shahid Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra sell their romance.
Bol Bachchan gang Ajay Devgn, Asin, Abhishek Bachchan and Prachi Desai promote their comedy.
Salman Khan launches his charity clothing line Being Human in Dubai.
Zayed Khan shops for Ferrari at Exotic cars showroom on Shaikh Zayed Road.
South Indian International Movie Awards rolls out the red carpet for stars such as Sri Devi, Shruti Hassan and singer-actor Dhanush.
Arjun Rampal, Ranvir Singh and Arjun Kapoor attend PowerBrands Rising Stars 2012-2013 awards.
Raaz 3 gang Emraan Hashmi and Esha Gupta promote their movie.
Heroine star Kareena Kapoor hops off a sea-plane to address the media along with director Madhur Bhandarkar.
Rishi Kapoor and clan celebrate his 60th birthday in Dubai.
Student Of The Year gang Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Siddharth Malhotra jet into town with their mentor/director Karan Johar.
Aiyya stars Rani Mukherjee and Prithviraj promote their romantic comedy.
Chakravyuh actors Arjun Rampal, Abhay Deol jet into town.
Director Farah Khan scouts for locations in Abu Dhabi and Dubai for her next project Happy New Year starring Shah Rukh Khan.
Oscar winner Resul Pookutty turns producer with his film ID at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival.
Abhay Deol visits Carnival boutique in Jumeirah.
Parineeti Chopra puts her best forward at a fashion show for the Manish Malhotra collection stocked at Studio 8.
Kajol hobnobs with Hollywood hottie Gerard Butler for Roger Dubuis store opening.
Hema Malini returns to Dubai to inaugurate a new store for a jewellery brand.
Kalki Koechlin plays a clown in the adaptation of a revered Shakespearean tragedy Hamlet, titled ‘The Clown Prince’.
Salman Khan makes his stage comeback with Ahlan Bollywood in Dubai along with Priyanka Chopra, Sophie Choudry, Zarine Khan.