x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Bollywood stars arrive in UAE for Italian Job

Players, the Bollywood remake of the 1969 film The Italian Job, opens in UAE cinemas today.

Bollywood actors Bobby Deol, Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachan, Sonam Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh in Dubai to promote their new movie 'Players'.
Bollywood actors Bobby Deol, Bipasha Basu, Abhishek Bachan, Sonam Kapoor and Neil Nitin Mukesh in Dubai to promote their new movie 'Players'.

DUBAI // As the motorcade slowly approached, a throng of bodyguards fit for a president ran into position to protect their subjects.

A few minutes earlier, a series of spins and sharp turns in two Mini Coopers signalled that the cast of the first Bollywood movie of 2012 had arrived. Behind the wheel of one of the cars was one of India's top celebrities, Abhishek Bachchan, the star of Players.

The Bollywood remake of the 1969 British heist movie The Italian Job starring Michael Caine is in cinemas today.

Bachchan, son of the Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan and husband of former Miss World and Indian movie star Aishwarya Rai - with whom he now has a baby - joined Neil Nitin Mukesh and Sonam Kapoor, daughter of the Bollywood star and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol actor Anil Kapoor, at a press conference yesterday before the world premiere. With them was fellow cast member Bipasha Basu, who has appeared in Raaz and Dhoom2.

Players, directed by the twins Abbas and Mustan Burmawalla, is the second remake of the original movie, following a Hollywood version in 2003 that starred Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Edward Norton.

The latest version was shot mainly in New Zealand and Mumbai, and involves Mr Bachchan playing the main character of Charlie, who devises a carefully planned, multi-million-dollar robbery. Asked about the car-stunt experience, Mr Bachchan said: "Don't try it, we are all trained professionals."

He added: "We are very excited to be in Dubai because it's a very important destination for Hindi films. It's always a pleasure to connect with the Indian film viewing audience here."

The cast and directors fly off to Mumbai today and then to London to continue promoting the movie. For Bachchan, finding time for his family has proved a challenge.

"It's very difficult but you have to make time. This is our job and we have to also remain professional," he said. "We've been on the road for the past two weeks, so it's demanding but if you balance, you can make time for both."

Mustan Burmawalla said that although the movie is a remake, the film promises originality.

"We feel the movie is a great entertainer. Even if you have watched The Italian Job, you'll feel something different because we kept in mind sensibilities for the Asian audience," he said. "It will be a two-and-a-half-hour roller-coaster ride."

Sonam Kapoor, who dressed in black and gold in keeping with the theme of the movie, joked that it was thanks to her stylist sister that she looks like a "rock star" in the film.

"It was amazing working on this film because it's great to work with the best," she said.

The veteran actor Bobby Deol said after he found out who the directors were, he did not even have to read the script before deciding to be a part of the project.

"The directors are like my family. Anyone who works with them wants to continue to and I have so much faith in them. The movie is full of action, romance and lots of thrills," Deol said.

Mukesh, who plays a computer hacker, said he felt "privileged" to have been involved with the film.

"Every twist from The Italian Job has been twisted so you will see something original - so enjoy the film," he said.

Basu, who celebrates her birthday today, said her head was still spinning from her stunt performance earlier in the day.

"It's a stylish and slick thriller. It's amazing and the directors always know how to entertain. They launched my career and I love the characters I play," she said. "We made the film with a lot of love and we travelled the globe to places like the North Pole. The movie is a visual delight that will keep you on the edge of your seat."

melshoush@thenational.ae