The Rajmahal theatre which will open in December with a Broadway-style Bollywood musical Jaan-e-Jigar. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

The colourful facades on either side of cobbled streets don’t just cover up the ugly, working parts of the Bollywood Parks Dubai but house retail and dining outlets and attractions. However, it’s the stained glass peacock that catches your eye first and then the murals of Bollywood stars in the entrance rotunda.

You don’t really need to be a Bollywood fan to enjoy the park, though. If you find yourself at a loose end to utilise half a day with the kids or visiting family and friends, then here’s where you can while away the time.

Combined with popular foods from the city of Mumbai – and then some more, at the fine dining restaurant Mughal-E-Azam – the park hopes to draw in a large footfall, mainly tourists.

“Yes, during the week it’ll really be difficult to bring in big crowds. But these parks are not [as such] built for the resident market. They are more for tourists who are either headed directly to Dubai or transiting through the city,” said Thomas Jellum, general manager of Bollywood Parks Dubai.

Spread over 158,000 square metres this is Dubai Parks and Resorts smallest property but with the maximum scope for expansion. When Gulf News tabloid! visited the site last Tuesday, final touches were being put to various areas for the Thursday opening. Retail operators and food kiosks (not the proper eateries though) had opened up for trial runs as we strolled through the five zones each categorised with iconic film attractions.

“The reason for [it being the smallest park] is that this is the first of its kind and we were not sure exactly what is going to be the most sought after – will it be the shows, the rides or something else? So we are ready for expansion and we have been looking at options, but have not decided [any] yet,” Jellum said.

It’s not just the attractions such as the Hard Rock-style café Rock On where the resident band promises to recreate the magic of the film’s band Magik or the high intensity chase ride Don Streets of Dubai or the Hunt for Gabbar Singh from the most beloved of Bollywood films, Sholay, that’s expected to draw in the crowds but also the food that will be on offer, said Jellum.

The fine dining Mughal-E-Azam would serve up royal Awadhi cuisine while you enjoy performances that will take you back in time to the Mughal courts. The Victoria Station will dish up some of the best known Indian street food that you can enjoy either sitting in the “train” or outside on the stations.

Or you can simply head off to the soon-to-open theatre Rajmahal which will showcase a homegrown Broadway-style Bollywood musical Jaan-e-Jigar. So go shooting the rogue Gabbar Singh in Ramgarh or “starring” in a movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara-style or better still flying with Hrithik Roshan – the 16 rides and attractions at the park promise to take you either back in time or on a flight of fancy with these hit films.

Rides and Attractions

Bollywood hits Don, Lagaan, Sholay, Krrish, RA.One, Dabangg, Rock On!! and Zindagi Na Milegi Na Dobara have inspired the immersive 3D and 4D experiences, as well as interactive live performances.

In Rustic Ravine hunt for Gabbar Singh at Ramgarh with 3D projection, themed show scenes and 4D effects; or head to the kid-friendly carnival in the Champaner village to ride a Ferris Wheel made in the form of cricket balls or a carousel before you play a game of cricket in the Thrill of Victory, a mostion-based simulator experience; or watch the Dabangg Stunt Spectacular, a live stunt show where you can see Chulbul Pandey fight off the bad guys through explosions and bullets to save his lady love.

Ride with RA.One and Krrish at the Bollywood Film Studios. Ra.One Unleashed is a 4D multisensory theatre experience which recreates the encounter between RA.One and G.One. Krrish Hero’s Flight will give you a virtual flying experience with panoramic views of famous Indian landmarks while Krrish fights off the bad guys. Or get backstage for a behind-the-scenes look of a Bollywood movie production based on the blockbuster Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. Experience deep sea diving, sky dive or run with bulls just like the stars in ZNMD, and take home a movie of your action.

A 3D immersive tunnel ride called Don, The Chase based on the movie Don, greets you in Mumbai Chowk. It takes you on a high speed car chase with thrills and twists as the rider’s chase Don.

Dining

The park offers food from fine-dining to Indian and international meals to fast-food options. Here are some you should not miss.

Mughal-e-Azam: Located within the Royal Plaza zone this fine dining restaurant – named after the iconic film that depicts the Mughal prince Salim’s love affair with the courtesan Anarkali – will serve Awadhi cuisine reminiscent of the royal kitchens accompanied with live performances of court dancing and classical singing. Head to the Raj Mahal (opening soon) after the meal to watch an opera-style musical Jaan-e-Jigar.

Rock On!! Restaurant and Nightclub: The music themed restaurant on Bollywood Boulevard, named after the 2008 Farhan Akhtar hit, will see a band inspired by Magik band from the film perform. Think of a Hard Rock Café but Bollywood-style. A separate entrance allows visitors to access the music lounge without entering the Park

Victoria Station: Dine in a train bogey stalled at the replica of Mumbai’s iconic Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Enjoy fast food native to the city as the roof of the bogey turns into a stage for dance performances.

Spicy Dhaba: This food outlet in the Rustic Ravine zone will remind you of highway cafes of North India that serve rustic home style dishes and tandoori (oven-cooked) and grilled meats and vegetables around communal style dining areas.

Juhu Juice Bus: Get on top of this double-decker BEST bus replica to refresh yourself with fresh juices, sliced fruit and iced concoctions with traditional flavours.

Retail therapy

Take back a bit of colourful Bollywood memorabilia from eight retail stores and stand-alone carts around the park. From park merchandise to collectibles from Bollywood hit movies.

Chalte Chalte is a convenience store at the park entrance with a selection of themed-merchandise in addition to stocking drinks, snacks and sundries.

At Bollywood Studio Store find merchandise inspired from the film Rock On!!, movie posters and souvenirs.

Desi Emporium located along Bollywood Boulevard is stocked with themed merchandise and souvenirs while Maharani Sweets is the classical Indian ‘mithai’ (sweets) shop next to it.

Shahenshah offers high-end merchandise based on the film Mugha-E-Azam.

In Mumbai Chowk you will find Mumbai Bazaar next to the Juhu Juice Centre, which is interestingly housed atop a BEST bus replica, selling merchandise, accessories and souvenirs related to the film Don.

Bollywood Haat is your “village marketplace” in the Rustic Ravine selling handicrafts and souvenirs reminiscent of Lagaan, Sholay and Dabangg.

Pick Krrish’s iconic mask or souvenirs such as photo frames, mugs, keychains and magnets with Ra.One motifs from the Heroes Vault in Bollywood Studios area.

Snapshot is your photo pickup store.

Number crunch

200 performers will be putting up 20 typical tapori style acts and yester-year and south Indian hits through out the day in different zones

Over 1000 employees will be manning the grounds on a daily basis

Dont miss it

Single day passes are for Dh285. Multi-park and annual passes also available. Log on to bollywoodparksdubai.com. Dubai Parks are situated on Shaikh Zayed Road, opposite Palm Jebel Ali.