Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 November 2019

Why the stars of 'Saaho' love Abu Dhabi: 'It's the only place I wanted to shoot abroad'

In May 2018, the cast and crew spent 40 days filming in the emirate, making it the second longest Indian movie production to take place in Abu Dhabi

Prabhas talks about why he loved filming in Abu Dhabi for 'Saaho'. Courtesy twofour54
Prabhas talks about why he loved filming in Abu Dhabi for 'Saaho'. Courtesy twofour54

Trilingual Indian movie Saaho hits cinemas today, and it's fair to say the excitement surrounding it has reached fever pitch.

Mounted on a jaw-dropping budget of Rs 350 crore (Dh178 million) – Prabhas’s Hindi film debut has led to ticket prices in India for the opening weekend being hiked to match Bollywood blockbusters and Salman Khan-starrers. It’s a bold move, but already southern Indian states are reporting unprecedented advance bookings, with most shows already being sold out.

But if you're watching from the UAE this weekend, there's another star cameo you should be looking out for: Abu Dhabi.

In May 2018, the cast and crew spent 40 days filming in the emirate, making it the second longest Indian movie production to take place in Abu Dhabi (after 2017's Tiger Zinda Hai). The large-scale action scenes alone took 20 days to shoot.

But movie crews from India may soon beat that record, because Saaho's stars seemed to loved it here.

Prabhas himself heaped praise on the emirate, and the UAE, saying: "We wanted to do one of the best action scenes in India. The DOP (Director of Photography) and director came to Abu Dhabi and they liked the locations, so they thought they wanted to do it here.

“If you go to some other place in the world you definitely won’t find wide roads and skyscrapers always developing. To do action scenes like this you need a lot of preparation.”

It's not the first time Prabhas has spoken glowingly of his time here. He spoke to us about his time in Abu Dhabi after shooting wrapped in May last year.

While his hectic schedule hadn’t allowed him to see too much of the city and surrounding emirate, he had managed to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

However, he did love the UAE beaches. “I have a home theatre so I like to watch films on that, and I like to play volleyball on the beautiful white sands too," he said at the time.

With around 250 crew and 37 vehicles used on the shoot, the film is also one of the grandest yet to shoot in the emirate.

For the film's director Sujeeth, the first time he came to Abu Dhabi was when he was considering it as a location to shoot for Saaho. He says the city won him over instantly.

“When I was thinking about shooting abroad, I didn’t think of any other options as a city, I had it clearly that I wanted to go to Abu Dhabi,” he said.

"The reason behind that is that in Abu Dhabi you have all the tall skyscrapers and it's developing so fast and it's the best planned city [from] all over the world. It's so planned that I know if we shoot here things will go smoothly."

The film was produced by UV Creations and T-Series, with help from Abu Dhabi's Twofour54.

Neil Nitin Mukesh, who plays the villainous Jai, certainly got out and about during his time here.

“Abu Dhabi is gorgeous, I’ve been to the Louvre, I’ve been to the [Sheikh Zayed Grand] Mosque, I’ve been to the Emirates Palace and a couple of beaches; beautiful places. And to top it all, I think the people are great.”

Updated: August 29, 2019 01:54 PM

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