It was a moment of collective pride as eight icons from across the globe including Emirati singer Balqees Fathi, Egyptian actor-couple Mona Zaki and Ahmad Helmi, Bollywood talent Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Pakistani pop idol Atif Aslam were officially inducted into The Dubai Stars walkway on Sunday amid much fanfare.
The Dubai Stars is a walkway set along the Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Boulevard in Downtown Dubai recognising celebrities from various fields including music, film, art, sports and literature, and is now open to the public. It’s essentially the UAE’s answer to the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“The energy I feel today is about appreciation, peace and love … It is wonderful that there are stars from the Middle East and abroad who are now a part of Dubai Stars,” said Zaki on the sidelines of the press conference.
Her actor husband Helmi is also being honoured on the Dubai walkway of fame.
“It’s such wonderful news. We understand and appreciate each other’s works. When he’s shooting, I give him all the love, the care and the privacy he needs. He does the same with me and I am happy for us,” said Zaki.
Kapoor Ahuja, who featured in the recent Bollywood film ‘The Zoya Factor’, dubbed her induction into Dubai Stars as the “cherry on top” in her fabulous life.
“As an artist and as actor-filmmaker, you want your work to reach as many people. You want it to cross borders and that’s what every actor or artist wishes for. I am so glad that my work is relevant to this part of the world. To get recognition is amazing,” said Kapoor Ahuja. She also said that being a role model for millions isn’t an easy job.
“It brings in a lot of pressure. You are like a diamond in the rough and good work polishes that stone and makes it shinier and better … But it’s a kind of pressure,” said Kapoor Ahuja. Her father Anil Kapoor is also one of the many stars who will be featured on the Dubai Stars walkway.
“I have always been proud of my dad and his work. So to be in the same field as him and get recognition today is a dream come true,” said Kapoor Ahuja.
Internet sensation Khalid Al Ameri was at his modest best at the press meet as he described his inclusion as a nod to the “little guy” and called Dubai Stars as a great initiative.
“I am just happy that I am here today. I am like the little guy, so it’s an honour to represent my country and share the work that we do across the world. It brings communities together. I want to thank everyone who recognised the little guy and the impact we have had,” said Al Ameri.
Emirati singer Fathi felt a rush of pride as she remembered her childhood where she looked up to Hollywood stars being honoured in a similar tradition.
“It’s a great initiative … Dubai is a multicultural city which recognises talents and achievements of different people from across the globe. To be here today is such a great honour for me,” said Fathi, who celebrated her birthday on Sunday.
The star-studded fellow honorees along with the media joined in to sing her a 'Happy Birthday' at the event.
Aslam expressed his happiness and felt that his induction proved that music cuts across borders and barriers.
“Music has always connected people and I am now keen to know about the culture here. Thank you Emaar for having me here. It feels great to be appreciated,” said Aslam.
The event was the first in the series of unveiling at least 400 celebrities that will featured in the latest tourist attraction.