x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Stars to add Bollywood spice to ball

Several stars from the glamorous Indian film scene are in town for a charity event and to take in the excitement of Formula One racing.

ABU DHABI // Formula One race fans from the glamorous universe of Bollywood are descending on the capital.

Several stars will attend a charity ball today at the Yas Hotel. Proceeds from the event and auction will raise funds for the model Natalia Vodianova's Naked Heart charity, which builds playgrounds for Russian children.

Sophie Choudhry, a former MTV India video jockey turned pop singer and actress, will be in attendance. Other Indian actors attending the Naked Heart Ball include Sonal Chauhan, Abhishek Kapoor and Sohail Khan.

"I am a huge F1 fan," Ms Choudhry said. "It's been a wonderful season. I follow it quite closely. It will be a cracker of a race in Abu Dhabi."

Ms Choudhry has travelled the world following her favourite racers, including trips to Melbourne, Monaco and Bahrain.

She will show her support for Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi from Force India, but was really looking forward to watching Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren team.

"Force India has come a long way this season," she said. "But I will be rooting for Lewis Hamilton and I am definitely a McLaren fan. They stand a good chance this year."

Ms Choudhry, who sings in several languages, including French, Urdu and Arabic, said she plans to explore Abu Dhabi and is eager to report back to her mother, who lived in Abu Dhabi for a few years.

"I have only passed through Abu Dhabi, but this time I am looking forward to seeing the changes," Ms Choudhry said.

Varun Kapur, the business development manager for Gem Global Event Management, is the man charged with bringing the Bollywood glamour to the party.

"This is to introduce Bollywood and Hollywood," he said. "It is to facilitate the integration and for each other to learn about the other's culture. Besides, there is a lot going on between the two industries."

Several deals have been inked between two of the largest film-producing industries in the world, including the formation of a joint film council that will aim to increase Indian film production in Los Angeles.

"This sort of glamour is really good for Abu Dhabi," Mr Kapur said. "It brings the city even more prominence in the world map."