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Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif shooting Tiger Zinda Hai in Abu Dhabi

Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif are currently shooting their latest movie Tiger Zinda Hai in Abu Dhabi’s Liwa Desert.

The spy thriller follows on from the blockbuster film Ek Tha Tiger and is being directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, and produced by Yash Raj Films.

Word has it that a 20,000 square metre backlot has been constructed in the capital especially for the movie, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Film Commission and twofour54.

"I have shot in Dubai, lots of times, but never in Abu Dhabi before," Khan told The National last week. "We were filming (last week) at the Arkan cement factory in Al Ain, and making it look like an oil refinery."

Arkan shut down its cement factory in Al Ain in March, providing the perfect base for the Tiger Zinda Hai production crew to film their industrial scenes without interruptions.

The shoot has been showcasing the more luxurious side of life in the Emirates, too. One scene was shot in what appears to be a palace ballroom, with Khan and Kaif are dressed to the nines and chandeliers and paintings in the background.

Last week Salman Khan took time out from his busy filming schedule to attend the launch of the song Radio from his movie Tubelight which will hit cinemas during Eid.

A crowd of 20,000 fans watched him launch the song from Dubai’s Arabian Centre. Khan fans might also catch a glimpse of the star in Abu Dhabi later this summer, too.

Filming for the Tiger Zinda Hai role opposite Kaif began rolling on Thursday, after which he goes on to New York.

"And from there we’re filming in Morocco. As soon as we’re done with Morocco, we come back and film here — in 50-degree summer heat! We’re back in the desert for that."

Tiger Zinda Hai will have its longest shoot schedule in Abu Dhabi — 65 days — and it will be the longest a Hindi film has ever filmed in the capital.

Before the Abu Dhabi shoot, the crew were in Austria shooting on the snow-peaked mountains, where temperatures plunged to minus-20.

The desert heat must have come as a shock to Khan and his co-stars. "Burnt and cooked. I love Indian film units, they can take extreme weather conditions with beautiful smiles on the faces @TigerZindaHai," tweeted Zafar over the weekend.

There’s a crew of 300 working on the production, made up of Abu Dhabi-based freelancers and crew members from India, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Demonstrating the government’s support for Abu Dhabi’s growing production industry, the UAE military is providing military equipment, including choppers during the shoot. The crew appear to have been staying at the Tilal Liwa Hotel — Khan was snapped at the Munir Sidu restaurant there on May 19 with staff members, captioned — "We’re Very Pleased to Host A Very Humble Superstar here."


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