As a diehard Bollywood fan, I eagerly awaited the opening of Bollywood Parks Dubai. On my first ever visit to the park, I was awestruck by the beauty of the main entrance. The architecture reminiscent of the Mughal era is awe-inspiring and an elegant stained glass peacock welcomes you to a land adorned by old Bollywood posters and classic filmy tunes.
That evening, I caught Jaan-e-Jigar, the region’s first Broadway style Bollywood musical. With desi colors, power-packed songs and stunts, vibrant dance moves and most importantly, a fascinating plot celebrating our cinema, the show is the ultimate treat for a Bollywood fan.
But this time around, I was back for one of their latest offerings, the Diwali Dhamaka on October 20 which was a culmination of the festive offerings at the park all of last weekend.
Living in Dubai, if there’s one thing that I miss the most, it is the liveliness and grandeur of Diwali celebrations back home. From traditional mithai, lights, diyas and rangoli to endless hours with friends and family witnessing countless fireworks light up the night sky together, the magical spirit of Diwali lies at the heart of a beautiful festive season.
Walking into Bollywood Parks Dubai this Friday was like taking a trip down memory lane. With a heartwarming attempt to relive the magic of my favorite Indian festival, here are some things that really stood out at Diwali Dhamaka
While soul-stirring music from local band Rooh set the tone for the perfect musical escape, it wasn’t until Bollywood’s favorite Punjabi singer, Mika Singh showed up that the crowd frenzy and hysteria reached epic proportions.
Psst, if you’re a Bollywood addict like me, you’d probably be singing along to his high-octane act that featured some of greatest hits right from Oye Ganpat and Pungi to Gandi Baat and Aaj Ki Party.
Mika’s charismatic stage presence brought out the celebratory mood in all his fans and had them dancing to his tunes right until midnight.
Essentially, the concert was the perfect livewire festive act I was hoping to be a part of this time of year minus the unruly crowds. Two thumbs up.
The park blew me away with the array of culinary options on offer. We started our gastronomical sojourn with some good old Barf Ka Gola (ice lollies) and then followed this up with some Delhi style chaat from an Aloo Tikki (potato cakes) Thela (street side cart) which was tangy, spicy and satiating in equal measure.
Each of the five zones of the park that you venture into has an assortment of inventive edible treats with Bolly-inspired names like Chulbul Moong Phali (peanuts) inspired by Inspector Chulbul Pandey from Dabangg. Later that night, I joined a few friends at Mughal-e-Azam, the park’s fine dining restaurant which serves Awadhi cuisine ranging from tikkas and kebabs to a scrumptious biryani reminiscent of royal kitchens.
Famous Bollywood hits Don, Lagaan, Sholay, RA. One, Dabangg, Rock On!! and Zindagi Na Milegi Na Dobara have inspired an array of immersive 3D and 4D rides at the park complete with high speed car chases and live stunt shows.
While each ride is unique, the fangirl in me loved every minute of the popular Krrish Hero’s Flight ride with a virtual flying experience and stellar views of famous Indian landmarks while our desi superhero fought off the bad guys.
From Krrish’s iconic mask and a customized SRK bobble head to brightly colored tees from your favorite Bollywood movie, there’s a lot of collectibles, park merchandise, handicrafts and souvenirs lining the shops to relive the cherished memories you create with friends and family.
At the Desi Emporium, I picked up the cutest compact mirror in turquoise and gold and followed it up with some mithai shopping for the family at the sweet shop next door.
From fairy lights and diyas illuminating the grand entrance to a glorious but intricate Rangoli design, the mesmerizing festive décor evoked some serious nostalgia. The Diwali Market with henna art for the ladies as well as festive themed mithai, snacks and delicacies was an interesting addition.
I loved being a part of the Dance workshop where I learnt some seriously cool B-town dance moves and shook a leg with the vivacious Show me your Jalwa dance troupe.
The best bit: The spectacular fireworks at midnight. They took my breath away and were the perfect conclusion to an epic night out.