ABU DHABI // Pre-production of the first Indian movie to be fully filmed in Abu Dhabi has begun, with the arrival in the capital this week of the veteran Indian film director Priyadarshan.
The Malayalam-language film, named The Arabian, the Camel and Madhavan Nair, stars Mohanlal, Laxmi Rai and Bhavana according to WAM, the state news agency, which added that the film "will shine light on the Indian Diaspora living in the Gulf in a human approach that is special to Priyadarshan".
The Emirati-Indian joint project under Jancos Entertainment, a film company based in Abu Dhabi, is being produced by Ashok Kumar, Jamal al Nuaimi, and Naveen Shashidharan, a group of businessmen with ties to the UAE.
"Abu Dhabi is untouched by the global film industry," Priyadarshan said. "I want to show the world its magnificence and richness."
His career, which began in the 1980s, includes titles such as Dhol, Bhagam Bhagand Satyaghath: Crime Never Pays.
He has directed more than 80 films in various Indian dialects, and is credited with being one of the first directors in India to provide clear sound and high-quality dubbing. His 2009 Tamil-language Kanchivaramearned the National Film Award in India for best film.
Thomas Varghese, the president of the India Social and Cultural Centre in Abu Dhabi, said Priyadarshan's new film will be shot in different locations in Abu Dhabi from the middle of March for about 40 to 50 days.
"We have about 800,000 Indian expatriates in Abu Dhabi," he said. "It is a positive sign that a film will be shot here in the capital, with the Formula One Yas Marina Circuit, Saadiyat Island and many other developments."
The Abu Dhabi Film Commission, launched by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage to promote the capital as a new filming location for the global film industry, is supporting Priyadarshan's new venture.
Parts of several Indian Bollywood films have been shot in Abu Dhabi and Dubai before, including recent hits such as Dabaang, starring Salman Khan, that was shot at Emirates Palace, and Dubai Metro, and Race, in which cars raced on Sheikh Zayed Road.