How Abu Dhabi became Lucknow in Bollywood action film 'Vikram Vedha'

More than 2,500 extras from the UAE were involved in the shoot last year

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Bollywood film Vikram Vedha is out in cinemas across the UAE, and while its stars are getting rave reviews, many fans may not know Abu Dhabi also plays a starring role in the film.

Scroll through the gallery above for stills from 'Vikram Vedha'

The UAE capital subbed in for the historical city of Lucknow, where most of the action of the film is set. Vivek Agrawal, a producer at Reliance Entertainment Studios, explained how the film was originally meant to start shooting in April or May last year, before the deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic hit India, making it impossible to shoot in the country.

After looking at several options across the world, including Sri Lanka, Serbia and Georgia, the makers settled on shooting the film in the UAE, recreating the city of Lucknow in the twofour54 backlot in Kizad, Abu Dhabi.

With its low infection rate and support from twofour54 and Abu Dhabi Film Commission, Agrawal said that the task of shooting the film — from procuring the 2,500 extras from within the local Indian population, as well as sourcing the props to recreate a marketplace — was made simple in Abu Dhabi.

“Between Abu Dhabi Film Commission and twofour54, they have a wonderful set-up in terms of the process to make filming convenient. It’s extremely easy to understand, it’s very clearly laid out on their website, as well as the people who are there to handle various aspects — be it locations, be it crew, the equipment, it’s fairly straightforward,” Agrawal said.

“This experience has opened my eyes to an extension of India."

Hans Fraikin, of Abu Dhabi Film Commission, also revealed about an hour of the film’s running time is shot in the UAE capital — including some of the most important scenes, which feature Al Wathba Water Reserve.

Of all the Bollywood features filmed in the UAE, Fraikan said, Vikram Vedha features the largest chunk shot in Abu Dhabi.

Vikram Vedha stars Saif Ali Khan as police officer Vikram and Hrithik Roshan as the antagonist Vedha. It is a Bollywood remake of a 2017 Tamil film of the same name, based on the Indian legend of Vikram and Betaal.

A look inside twofour54’s Kizad backlot — in pictures

Updated: September 30, 2022, 12:18 PM