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  • Feb06

    Watch: Bollywood stars party at Armaan's reception

      published   16 days   11 hours   51 minutes   ago.

    Mumbai : Actor Armaan Jain recently got hitched to Anissa Malhotra, and their wedding festivities were no less than what we see in Bollywood films -- especially the couple's reception, which was attended by who's who of the industry. Tara and Aadar, the rumoured couple can be seen dancing to the track Gallan Kardi from Saif Ali Khan's latest film Jawaani Jaaneman in the viral video, shared by several fan clubs. Take a look: Making their presence in stylish outfits were Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan, and Mukesh and Nita Ambani. Armaan's cousin Ranbir Kapoor was there too and so was Alia Bhatt. His cousin sisters Karisma and Kareena Kapoor were spotted as was aunt Neetu Kapoor. Rekha, Rani Mukerji, Kiara Advani, Shilpa Shetty, Malaika Arora and Arjun Kapoor were also on the guest list at the post-wedding function. The guests broke into impromptu dance moves. From Shah Rukh Khan and wife Gauri, to Karan Johar to Armaan's cousins Kareena and Karisma Kapoor, a slew of celebrities set the dance floor on fire. A lot of videos are doing the rounds on the Internet show SRK in a complete fun mood. He grooved to 'Kajra re' along with Gauri and Karan. In one video, Shah Rukh and Gauri are seen dancing to 'Sadi gali'. SRK even narrated the love story of Armaan's parents Rima, the youngest daughter of late Raj Kapoor, and Manoj Jain. While dancing, SRK sported a fake moustache to play Manoj. The Kapoor sisters danced to Kareena's hit song "Bole chooriyan" from Karan Johar's 2001 film "Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham". Of course, Karan too shook a leg with Kareena and Karisma, and performed the famous "Le jaa le jaa" hook step. Kiara Advani was also spotted at the reception. She danced to the song "Sauda khara khara" from her film "Good Newwz".

  • Jan28

    9 reasons why ‘Mughal-E-Azam — The Musical’ is essential viewing in the UAE

      published   25 days   12 hours   49 minutes   ago.

    It’s a brave and potentially risky move to recreate a classic that has set a benchmark in cinematic excellence. History hasn’t been kind to such feeble regenerations, with ‘Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag’ — the director’s antagonising spin on the western classic ‘Sholay’ — often landing the top spot on a list of worst films in Bollywood. Remind Feroz Abbas Khan of this little known fact and the theatre director and playwright doesn’t deny the responsibility one must shoulder when undertaking such a project. In fact, in an attempt to bring filmmaker K Asif’s iconic ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ to the stage in 2016, Khan found himself unable to handle the pressure. “I still haven’t been able to get over the fact that three days before the first show, I almost had a nervous breakdown; and I am not saying this for effect,” Khan told Gulf News tabloid! from Mumbai. The theatre veteran, who will bring the stage adaptation of ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ to Dubai this week, continued: “It was the first time it had happened to me on stage. I kept thinking I am doing such a great disservice to a great piece of work.” Little did Khan know at the time that ‘Mughal-E-Azam — The Musical’ would go on to win seven Broadway World Awards the following year, including ones for Best Indian Play and Best Director. As Dubai sets the stage for a three-day performance of the doomed romance, we breakdown why the musical should be on your watch list this month. ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ was originally a play Few know that K Asif’s cinematic masterpiece, which released in 1960 after 15 years of struggle, was in fact based on a play. “If you look at the original ‘Mughal-E-Azam’, you realise it resembled a theatrical production. So, I looked into the roots and realised the film had originated from a play called ‘Anarkali’,” revealed Khan. ‘Anarkali’ was first written by Imtiaz Ali Taj in 1922, which took readers into the Mughal Empire, narrating a love affair between servant girl Anarkali and the crown prince Salim. So incensed was Emperor Akbar when he learnt of the affair that he ordered Anarkali to buried alive behind a wall. “K Asif sahib [sir] had been very impressed by a stage production of the original story and he decided he wanted to make it into a movie, especially when he realised that a theatrical scale would be very small and simply could not capture the imagination the way cinema could,” said Khan. A second ‘Mughal-E-Azam’? In his research to unearth details about the story, Khan also discovered that even before K Asif’s masterpiece released, another film on the subject had already released during the former’s decade-long struggle to bring the film to screen. “K Asif sahib [sir] had struggled for years to mount the production. And interestingly, during this time, another film had already been released called ‘Anarkali’. But even with this setback, K Asif did not give up. He decided to give a whole new experience to his film and the rest is for all to see,” said Khan. Recreating a masterpiece “It was never my idea to make a film into a play,” stressed Khan. “I was dreaming about doing an Indian musical and when I was watching this movie, at a slightly more mature age, I could connect with the way the film was made. “It struck me that it is clearly a theatre piece, written in a style of theatre writing which was prevalent before cinema came to India — a style we called Parsi theatre. It used decorative language, focused on a larger than life conflict and dared to affect with the audience’s mood.” However, to envision is one thing, but Khan’s journey to create his own masterpiece would be as long as Asif’s own struggle to bring the theatrical piece to cinema. “When I saw the film, I knew I wanted to make it into a play but I didn’t think India had the wherewithal or the kind of money to mount such a production. Plus, we weren’t sure if the audience was willing to spend the money to watch this kind of theatre production,” Khan said. How Shabhana Azmi and Farooq Sheikh played a part It was in November 2004 when ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ released once again in cinemas, this time, in full colour as part of a restoration project undertaken by the Shapoorji Pallonji Group, spearheaded by Shapoorji Mistry, who was the grandson of the original producer of the film, Shapoorji Pallonji Mistry. During this time, Khan was in Hyderabad touring his award-winning play ‘Tumhari Amrita’ with the late Farooq Sheikh, who died in Dubai of a heart attack in 2013, along with the veteran actress Shabhana Azmi. Khan admitted that all three of them weren’t keen on the new version of the film at the time. “All three of us had our reservations at the time because we thought the beauty of ‘Mughal-E-Azam’ was wrapped up in the black and white imagery of the film. We thought colour was going to destroy its essence but it worked,” recalled Khan. “We were deeply roused by watching it at that time and that got me thinking.” Khan said that when he finally approached Shapoorji Pallonji with his idea, the only brief they had was to make a production as big as the film. Tale about female empowerment Set in a time when the Mughal Empire reigned across India, the story not only essays the tragic love affair between a courtesan and a prince, but gives voice to the common man, according to Khan. “At its core, the story is truly about women empowerment. Here was an ordinary woman who took on the might of an empire and dared to defy the most powerful man in the country.” Khan also stressed how important a role the story’s message played in celebrating the spirit of a woman. “People focus on the love story or the father and son conflict, but it is Anarkali’s defiance that forms the spine of the story. At the time the film released [13 years after India’s partition in 1947], it also paid tribute to the role of women in India’s freedom struggle and the power they wielded in the world’s largest democracy. Here is a story about everyday people for who believed gender and class divides needed to be challenged. For that alone, the story was quite ahead of its time.” Bollywood favourite Manish Malhotra roped in Mughal E Azam Image Credit: Supplied Khan recalled his brief to his set and costume designers was very specific. “It had to be very big. The imagination had to be big. The production designer, the projection designer and the lighting had to support that vision,” he said. But it was Manish Malhotra, the designer of choice to Bollywood’s biggest stars, who tied the whole project together by creating the final look of the stage production. “If you remember the original movie, all the costumes were in black and white. The only time we saw it in colour was during the song ‘Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’ and the climax. So, when I spoke to Manish Malhotra, I told him one thing: transport yourself to the Mughal era and into Akbar’s court. If you were the court designer, what would you do for these costumes? And that was it,” said Khan. Malhotra went on to design the 575 costumes used in the stage production. Reimagining the choreography Mughal E Azam Image Credit: Supplied As the first chords of ‘Pyar Kiya Toh Darna Kya’ play out, few may resist imagining a young Madhubala staring defiantly at Emperor Akbar in the Sheesh Mahal or the Palace of Mirrors. When it was time recreate this for stage, Khan employed the ‘extraordinary talent’ of young choreographer Mayuri Upadhya to reimagine those magical moments for stage. “I told Mayuri it needs to be authentic Kathak [Indian dance form] but within your interpretation. One of the finest pieces in the musical is the ‘Pyar Kiya…’ sequence and that’s a highly interpretative piece by Mayuri. She simply brings it alive on stage,” said Khan. Introducing a new Salim and Anarkali Mughal E Azam Image Credit: Supplied “To find my Salim and Anarkali was the toughest job,” stated Khan. “Anyone who closes their eyes even today is reminded of Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Prithviraj Kapoor in those iconic roles. They are ingrained in us.” Khan admitted that finding his Salim was slightly easy because all he was looking for was “an actor with a personality.” He continued: “But the problem with Anarkali was that she needed to be a singer. And someone who could sing live and was a classically trained one at that. She also needed a personality, was of fine beauty and a fine actor. Bringing all that together was a tough call.” Khan finally found them in Neha Sargam and Priyanka Barve, who alternated in playing Anarkali. Shaad Ali became his Salim, theatre actor Nissar Khan his Akbar and Sonal Jha signed on as Jodha Bai. Understanding the millennial mindset Mughal E Azam Image Credit: Supplied It’s fine to recreate a classic, but is there really a demand or an understanding of sacrificing love and life in the face of duty and valour for the millennial mindset? Khan has his own take. “‘Mughal-E-Azam’ is a story that surpasses time and space. In the times we live in, hatred seems to have made a comeback. And it is in such times of hatred, a love story such as this once again gives you hope. No matter what it is, be it the indomitable spirit of a human being to stand up to power or injustice or something more personal, but I do think it this story of defiance bears a strong resonance for the times we live in.” Should we read between the lines, alluding to India facing its own times of turmoil following the wave of protests sweeping across the country in defiance of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which many deem as anti-Muslim? Khan simply laughed in response, adding: “I can say it openly but will leave it for a different time. Conflicts and concerns over identity are so sharp, arguments we should have transcended ages ago. But I know in the end, humanity will win, love will win.” ——————————————— Did you know? A digitally-enhanced colour version of K. Asif?s 1960 black and white blockbuster Mughal-e-Azam is ready to woo fans of Indian cinema this month WARNING: THIS IS SUPPLIED PICTURE, GULF NEWS DOES NOT HOLD THE RIGHT FOR REPUBLISHING SOURCE : NOT AVAILABLE History has borne witness to the hurdles K Asif faced to visualise his period epic. Parts of the film were scrapped when key members from the film’s unit, including the lead actor, moved to Pakistan in wake of the partition. In the wait to sign on new actors, Chandramohan, who was to play Emperor Akbar, suddenly died. Amid the actual film production, Kumar and Madhubala’s own love affair had reached a tragic end while her father was attempting to make a business deal of the alliance. In Kumar’s biography, the feather scene in the film — one of the most iconic moments on screen — was filmed when the two stars had stopped speaking with another. Mughal-e-Azam film movie scene - Supplied Picture By the end of the film production, Asif and lead actor Kumar were also not on speaking terms and the latter even skipped the film’s premiere. Madhubala, meanwhile, was suffering from congenital heart disease and would have frequent lapses during the 10-year-long production. She died nine years after the release of the film, at the age of 36. —————————————— Don’t miss it! ‘Mughal-E-Azam — The Musical’ is being staged at Dubai Opera on January 30, 31 and February 1. Show starts at 8pm across all days, with tickets priced from Dh150. They are available online at Dubaiopera.com

  • Jan27

    Photos: Priyanka Chopra, Nick Jonas sizzle at Grammys in bold gown and gold suit

      published   26 days   10 hours   16 minutes   ago.

  • Feb18

    India’s National Rail Museum finds its Bollywood groove

      published   4 days   15 hours   29 minutes   ago.

    Bollywood movies are known for their fascination with trains. Several iconic scenes and songs related to trains are ingrained in people’s minds. For instance: Bollywood’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna hanging out of a jeep, serenading his sapno ki rani (woman of his dreams) Sharmila Tagore sitting in the Darjeeling toy train in ‘Aradhana’, Shah Rukh Khan matching steps with Malaika Arora on top of a train in ‘Dil Se’ and Amitabh Bachchan carrying luggage on his head in ‘Coolie’. Kareena Kapoor Khan and Arjun Kapoor in 'Ki & Ka'. Image Credit: Nilima Pathak These, and many more scenes about trains, have been brought alive on the walls of Delhi’s National Rail Museum in Chanakyapuri, by Delhi Street Art (DSA), a collective formed with the aim of promoting public art by young artists. Reliving the memorable scenes — many from the blockbuster movies of yesteryears — the walls have become a ‘selfie point’ for museum visitors. Cherishing the fond memories, they are seen posing with their favourite stars in the backdrop. HOW IT BEGAN Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora in 'Dil Se'. Image Credit: Nilima Pathak The idea was conceptualised in 2013, a year that marked the centenary of Indian cinema, considered one of the most prolific movie industries in the world. During one of his visits to the museum, then Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani discussed with officials how the interior walls of the museum could be beautified. Yogesh Saini, founder of DSA, recalled: “We had partnered with several schoolchildren and beautified the exterior walls of the museum. The officials appreciated our work and decided upon having something engaging on the inner walls as well.” Saini was delighted when Amit Saurastri, director of the rail museum, discussed with him about having Bollywood-themed art on the walls. “I remember him saying Bollywood and Railways are two things that Indians connect with the most. He desired that visitors should get a feel of both at the museum. The ones that instantly came to mind were scenes from ‘Aradhana’, ‘Coolie’ and ‘Veer Zaara’,” Saini recollected. Since general rail themes had been carried out at several places in the past, the new idea clicked immediately with everyone, as it was probably the first time that memorable scenes from movies were depicted at a major tourist spot. As the drab walls of the zone next to the souvenir shop, including an office block and restrooms for men and women, got a colourful makeover, within no time the paintings became immensely popular among visitors. CELLULOID JOURNEY Preity Zinta and Shah Rukh Khan in 'Veer Zaara' Image Credit: Nilima Pathak “It led to many requesting for their favourite scenes to be included. After much brainstorming, our team decided to showcase eight more scenes at the museum,” the artist added. The entire project was completed in two phases by over a dozen artists. The second phase of the celluloid journey encompassed scenes from the movies ‘Tere Naam’, ‘Ajnabee’, ‘Chennai Express’, ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Fanaa’, ‘Dil Se’ and ‘Ki & Ka’. Navtej Singh, a tourist from Punjab said: “I have come here along with my wife and daughter. While we were buying souvenirs for family and friends back home, our daughter spotted the larger-than-life mural of Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor from ‘Jab We Met’. Excited, she called for me to have her photo clicked with the stars. “Later, we went around the entire wing and discovered a total of 11 beautiful paintings. My favourite is the ‘Hum Dono Do Premi’ song sequence from ‘Ajnabee’, a late 90s movie starring India’s first superstar Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman. It really transported me to another era.” REEL TO REAL Kareena Kapoor Khan and Shahid Kapoor in 'Jab We Met'. Image Credit: Nilima Pathak Scenes that are now an integral part of the museum include Shah Rukh Khan and Malaika Arora’s dance number ‘Chhaiya, Chhaiya’ from ‘Dil Se’. Shot in an open carriage, it continues to be one of the most popular Bollywood songs on a train. Then there is the unforgettable climax scene from ‘Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge’ where Kajol runs to board the running train. A hilarious take on the ‘DDLJ’ scene is the train sequence from ‘Chennai Express’, starring Khan and Deepika Padukone where the hero is seen extending his hand to the heroine and then to all the goons chasing her. Amitabh Bachchan’s blockbuster ‘Coolie’, also remembered for his near-fatal accident showed the plight of a railway porter and his struggle to make ends meet. In ‘Jab We Met’, the train was the meeting point of the protagonists Geet and Aditya (Kareena Kapoor and Shahid Kapoor). ASKING FOR MORE Deepika Padukone and Shah Rukh Khan in 'Chennai Express'. Image Credit: Nilima Pathak Trains have not only enhanced the visual beauty, but every possible moment — action, thrill, romance, drama and suspense has been shot by filmmakers inside or outside trains. After going around the premises, a college student Shalini Gupta said: “For movie buffs like me, trains symbolise several emotions. The portrayal has remained different in each movie and song, but I am sure the majority of Indians connect with this mode of transport. I felt nostalgic about my childhood memories of watching movies and travelling by train with my parents. “I wish the authorities dedicate more space to such paintings. I miss images of the multi-starrer ‘The Burning Train’, which was shot entirely on a train. That apart, Bollywood icon Salman Khan’s ‘Kick’, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh’s ‘Rafoo Chakkar’ and Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra’s train scene from ‘Sholay’ must be added.” DID YOU KNOW? Kajol and Aamir Khan in 'Fanaa'. Image Credit: Nilima Pathak The song ‘Chand Sifarish’ from Aamir Khan and Kajol’s ‘Fanaa’ was filmed at the National Rail Museum. ‘Ki & Ka’ was also shot at the museum against the backdrop of vintage trains and the song ‘Foolishq’ was shot in and around the Rewari Heritage train. The hero Arjun Kapoor plays the role of Kabir, who has an obsession with trains. As shown in the movie, on his first date with Kia (Kareena Kapoor) he takes her to a train museum. STATIONS IN DEMAND Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman in 'Ajnabee'. Image Credit: Nilima Pathak The presence of trains in movies has proved beneficial for the railways, as they get remuneration and earn millions of rupees annually for shooting at platforms and trains. The Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminal (CST) in Mumbai is the most ‘in demand’ railway station, as the building is in the list of the world heritage sites. Numerous movies including ‘Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayange’, ‘Jab We Met’, ‘Gunday’, ‘Chennai Express’, were shot at the Mumbai station. Saif Ali Khan and Deepika Padukone’s ‘Love Aaj Kal’ was shot at Punjab’s Patiala railway station. Ayushmann Khurrana recently shot several scenes for ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan’ at Varanasi’s Manduadih railway station in Uttar Pradesh. RAIL MUSEUM Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in 'Aradhana'. Image Credit: Nilima Pathak Considered one of the four largest museums in the world, National Rail Museum, inaugurated in 1977, has a fascinating collection of over 100 real-size exhibits of Indian Railways. The old engines (built in 1855), carriage cars and royal saloons (built in 1875) are displayed in an open area to simulate the atmosphere of a railway yard. Visitors can also take a ride on the toy train.

  • Feb09

    Dharmendra recalls garage living days

      published   13 days   12 hours   22 minutes   ago.

    Bollywood icon Dharmendra continues to be popular among the newer generation, and the veteran actor today looks back fondly at the time when live wasn’t that easy. “In my earlier days, I used to live in a garage because I didn’t have a proper home in Mumbai. To survive in Mumbai, I worked in a drilling firm where I was paid Rs200 [Dh10.2], and to earn some extra money I used to do overtime,” he added. The veteran actor became nostalgic after contestants on ‘Indian Idol’ season 11 performed the song ‘Kal Ki Haseen Mulaqat Ke Liye’ from the actor’s 1976 hit ‘Charas’. Dharmendra, who hails from Punjab, was a top star of the 70s and 80s. His memorable films include ‘Phool Aur Patthar’, ‘Anupama’, ‘Seeta Aur Geeta’ and ‘Sholay’. The recipient of a Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India, has also produced films like ‘Ghayal’ and ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana 2’. Dharmendra Deol. Image Credit: IANS

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