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World's first Bollywood theme park opens in Dubai

DUBAI // Bollywood Parks Dubai opened on Thursday with fanfare, fireworks, dance, music and simulator 4D shows based on hit Hindi-language movies.

Visitors were greeted by ­performers dancing to thumping Bollywood music across the park with some atop a mock-up of a suburban Mumbai railway train and others outside the ­Rajmahal theatre, which will stage live musicals.

Ali Asgar, a grade seven student, enjoyed a cricket-themed simulator in a section dedicated to blockbuster Hindi move Lagaan.

“It was as if I was the cricket ball and we were being hit all around, it was really great and I will come back with my friends,” he said.

Russel D’Souza, a hospitality manager also enjoyed the experience.

“It was so realistic that it was a surprise,” he said.

“You felt you were being whacked by a bat.

“This will work for younger or older audience because of the fun factor.”

The 4D theatre experience, Ra.One: Unleashed, based on Indian actor Shah Rukh Khan’s science fiction film, met with a mixed response.

“I wanted more action and more thrashing of the villain,” said Bollywood fan Ali, 11.

Kunal Bilakhia, an auditor, said he liked the sets but Ra.One could have been better.

“The overall set up is great but now you see more futuristic and better VFX in movies, so it was a bit of a ­disappointment.”

A technical glitch temporarily shutdown a laser gun ride Sholay – The Hunt for Gabbar, the park’s nod to the classic ­action film Sholay, where visitors can shoot armed bandits led by the feared dacoit Gabbar ­Singh.

A virtual reality ride, Krrish: Hero’s Flight featuring actor Hrithik Roshan as a superhero, battling aliens attacking Mumbai city will open later.

Thomas Jellum, general manager of Bollywood Parks, promised all rides would open in a few weeks. “We are expecting to put the missing rides into action in a few days, by National Day, we will have one or two more rides,” he said.

Those who visit the park when the theatre and rides are not functional will get a free return visit.

“We have had a few glitches, which is unfortunate,” said Mr Jellum. “That is why you will get a free ticket to come back when everything is up and running. That way, people will have the possibility to come back and ­experience everything we have to offer.”

The 157,935 square metre Bollywood Parks is part of the Dh10.5 billion Dubai Parks and Resorts complex.

The theme park will have 16 cinematic rides, six themed ­restaurants and a choice of 30 live shows that are inspired by ­contemporary and classic blockbusters, including the Dabangg action movies and the epic ­historical drama ­Mughal-E-Azam.

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The National