Bollywood star Salman Khan is one of the latest recipients of the UAE golden visa, with the actor receiving the honour as a ‘reflection of the strong bond between the Indian and UAE creative industries’.
The news was announced by the Abu Dhabi Film Commission, which also bestowed the same honour on actors Riteish and Genelia Deshmukh, along with film producer Bhushan Kumar and his actress-wife, Divya Khosla Kumar.
Khan, who was in Abu Dhabi earlier this month to host the International Indian Film Academy or IIFA Awards that were held on Yas Island, is a regular visitor to the UAE capital, having shot a number of movies there over the years.
“I am honoured to receive a golden visa from Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi has always been a second home for me, and I have enjoyed shooting some of my favourite projects here. It was great to celebrate our film industry during the IIFA weekend in a place that has shown us so much support over the past few years. Now with my golden visa, I look forward to returning to work here in the very near future,” the 56-year-old Khan said in a statement.
In the past, Khan has filmed ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’, ‘Bharat’ and ‘Race 3’ in the UAE capital, with the Bollywood star even reflecting in a past interview shared by Abu Dhabi-based twofour54 how the city has been lucky for him and his movies.
Khan, along with the above-mentioned Bollywood insiders, were granted the golden visa during the IIFA Weekend itself that was held on June 3 and 4 on Yas Island, according to the Abu Dhabi Film Commission.
Others who received the 10-year visas alongside Khan included filmmaker Anees Bazmee and Andre Timmins, Director at Wizcraft International Entertainment Pvt Ltd that was the brainchild behind the IIFA Weekend.
The recipients were nominated by the Department of Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) — which oversees applications from professionals in visual arts, publishing, performing arts, design and crafts, heritage, gaming and e-sports and media — and the Abu Dhabi Film Commission (ADFC), with the visas processed by twofour54 Abu Dhabi.
“The film and TV sector is one of the cornerstones of Abu Dhabi’s Culture and Creative Industries, which are key drivers of social and economic growth and diversification for the Emirate. The golden visa forms a key part of Abu Dhabi’s Dh30+ billion CCI investment strategy and we are delighted to be able to offer these long-term visas to our colleagues in the Indian film industry — especially Salman Khan who shares a deep bond with the Emirate. It is a reflection of the long and strong relationship between the thriving film and TV sectors in Abu Dhabi and India as well as our dedication to strengthen that relationship even more,” Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Undersecretary of DCT Abu Dhabi, said in a statement.
Abu Dhabi Film Commissioner Hans Fraikin added: “Abu Dhabi is an exciting location for filmmakers with a robust ecosystem that allows local and international projects to flourish. The golden visa allows talented individuals like Salman Khan and his fellow actors, directors and producers, to realise their creative visions here by harnessing the array of locations and facilities, as well as the incredible local talent.”
Abu Dhabi Film Commission has worked with more than 130 productions since 2013, with Hollywood and Bollywood industries benefiting from the 30 per cent cashback rebate on production spend in the emirate.
In recent years, some of the projects filmed in Abu Dhabi include ‘Dune’, ‘Mission: Impossible — Fallout’, ‘Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens’, ‘Furious 7 (2015)’ and the upcoming Tom Cruise films, ‘Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One’ and ‘Part Two’.