Bollywood Celebrities Attend Dubai Film Festival

Tue Dec 07,2004

Leading lights from the Indian film industry have arrived in Dubai for the city’s first International Film Festival, adding to the abundant diversity already present in the Festival’s delegate list.

Among the arrivals are celebrated director Subhash Ghai, who will be honored in the Festival’s “Directors in the Spotlight” segment, Bend It Like Beckham director Gurinder Chadha, Hari Om director Bharatbala, Bollywood/Hollywood director Deepa Mehta, acclaimed Tamil director Rajiv Menon, actors Anil Kapoor, Feroz Khan, Fardeen Khan, Rahul Khanna, Devyani Mehta, Kiron Kher and Vijay Raaz.

Many of the Indian celebrities will be making appearances at their English-subtitled films – Subhash Ghai, for example, will attend the screening of the record-breaking Hindi blockbuster Taal at 5.45 pm on Wednesday, December 8, at the Madinat Theatre and will participate in the post-film discussion with members of the audience. In many ways, Taal was a ground-breaker for the Indian film industry, becoming the first Indian movie to break into the US Box Office Top 20.

Ghai’s hit film Pardes, a film beloved by Indian expatriates around the world, will also be showing during the Festival, at 2 pm on Friday, December 10, at the Madinat Theatre.

Leading Indian actor Anil Kapoor and producer Boney Kapoor will also attend the “Screen on the Green” screening of the cult classic Mr. India at the Dubai Media City open-air amphitheater at 8 pm on Wednesday, and director Rajiv Menon will be at the screening of the Aishwarya Rai-Mammooty hit Tamil drama Kandukondain, Kandukondain at 7.30 pm on Thursday, December 10, at the Mercato 2 cinema.

Hari Om, an Indo-French cross-cultural comedy that takes a romantic caper through Rajasthan, will be making its international premiere at the Dubai International Film Festival at 6.15 pm on Thursday, December 9 at Cinema 3 of the Mercato Mall. The film tells the story of a happy-go-lucky rickshaw driver who is content with his life until the rickshaw-mafia forces him to go on the run. Into the mix comes a beautiful French tourist, who takes the driver on a road trip around India, closely pursued by her fiancee and complete with hair-raising rickshaw chases. Director Bharatbala and lead star Vijay Raaz will be at the screening, and will participate in the Q&A session immediately after.

More than 75 films will be shown across the six Festival venues for the six days of the Festival. Crowning the first five days will be the gala screenings – Le Grand Voyage, Bollywood/Hollywood, Finding Neverland, The Grudge and Red Dust - selected from the key segments of the Festival.

Four DIFF box offices are currently open for business: at the CNN Building Lobby in Dubai Media City from 11 am to 8 pm; at the Madinat Theatre in the Souk at Madinat Jumeirah from 11 am to 10.30 pm; at the Mercato mall from 10 am to 10.30 pm, and at the Madinat Arena from 6 pm to 8 pm on Wednesday, and from 11 am to 8 pm on Thursday and Friday. An additional box office will open at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel Auditorium today, and remain open from 11 am to 10.30 pm.

Prices range from Dh. 10 for the four open-air “Screen on the Green” films (Lawrence of Arabia, Gagamboy (Spiderman), Mr. India and Five Children And It) at the Dubai Media City amphitheater to Dh. 20 for regular screenings at DIFF main venues and Dh. 50 for the red-carpet gala screenings at the Madinat Arena, Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort-Dubai. Two special offers – student discounts and a Five-Flick deal that offers a set of five regular screening tickets for the price of four – have also been created to make the Festival accessible to all UAE residents and visitors.

Telephone bookings and orders can be made with the Box Office on (04) 367 6701 / (04) 367 6707 for advance bookings and directions to box office venues.

The Dubai International Film Festival will be held between December 6 and 11, 2004, and will feature approximately 75 films including features, retrospectives and short films. The Festival is divided into 10 distinct programs, each focusing on a particular Festival theme. DIFF is presented by Dubai Media City and its presenting sponsors are Dubai Duty Free, Emirates, Madinat Jumeirah Arabian Resort-Dubai, and Nakheel.  DIFF Gold Sponsors are DOM International, The Kanoo Group and National Bank of Dubai, and Silver Sponsors are Arabian Radio Network, Atlas Telecom, Dubai Radio Network, E-Vision and Motivate Publishing.

Media Note: A special Web site has been created exclusively for members of the press at The site contains an archive of press releases and clippings in Arabic and English, in addition to high-resolution images available for download. Stills downloaded from the site are for promotional purposes only and any usage must include a credit as being courtesy of the rights holder.

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