Dubai International Film Festival audience welcomes back stars of Bollywood sequel

The upcoming film is the sequel to 2007’s Welcome, both of which shot scenes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Anees Bazmee, Anil Kapoor and Nana Pateka on stage during the "Welcome Back" In Conversation event, on day three of the 11th Dubai International Film Festival.  Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images
Anees Bazmee, Anil Kapoor and Nana Pateka on stage during the "Welcome Back" In Conversation event, on day three of the 11th Dubai International Film Festival. Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images

DUBAI // The cast of the Bollywood film Welcome Back received a warm welcome from the audience at the Dubai International Film Festival yesterday.

The upcoming film is the sequel to 2007’s Welcome, both of which shot scenes in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, including in front of the Emirates Palace Hotel.

The first film followed a pair of mafia brothers, played by Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar, as they tried to get their sister, played by Katrina Kaif, married off.

Star-struck fans packed the Madinat Theatre for an audience with the cast of the sequel.

The cast members included heart-throb John Abraham, relative newcomer Ankita Srivastava, singing and dancing sensation Surveen Chawla, Patekar, and Kapoor, whose roles in Mission Impossible IV and Slumdog Millionaire have made him an international star. The cast were joined by producer Firoz Nadiadwala and director Anees Bazmee.

Kapoor, a regular participant at Diff, said it has been a great experience to see the festival grow in strength over the years.

“Dubai was always a home away from home for me, and I’m very fortunate that this is my fourth opportunity to showcase my films at the festival here,” he said.

“The festival is like a lucky charm to me, and hopefully that will be true for Welcome Back, too. Every time I come here there is something new that I can discover, explore and enjoy.”

Kapoor attended the inaugural festival in 2004 for a screening of his film, Mr India.

The 11th edition of the festival runs until Wednesday at venues across the emirate. At the question-and-answer session, the biggest cheers were saved for Abraham, a former model, who expressed his gratitude to his army of admirers.

“It’s easy for an actor to get consumed and say that people are your fans, but I look at them as a strong support system,” he said.

“It’s easy to get narcissistic in our job because we hear nothing but compliments and can’t take any sort of criticism.

“But it’s important that fans speak their minds and we listen to both sides of the story. I prefer it that way.

“I have a very strong support system sitting right here in the audience, and I’m grateful for that.”

Patekar, meanwhile, used yesterday’s session to offer up a string of Hindi gags to howls of laughter.

As the questions turned to age and its effect on movie-industry professionals, Kapoor, who is 57, said there were more important things to worry about.

“I’m not delusional about myself. I know how old I am,” he said. “What I feel is that what keeps an actor and a human being going is that you should just enjoy yourself.

“Enjoy your life and enjoy your work. What keeps me going is that I love my work, and I always have the audience in mind.

“They may be sitting in some corner in some small village and they’ve paid money and bought a ticket and expect something from the film, and from me.

“I always have them in mind. No matter what happens, from when I started my career about 39 years ago till today, I should give my best no matter what happens.

“There might be a problem at home, I might be depressed, some calamity, some problem. My audience doesn’t know that. When I’m in front of the camera, I forget everything and I give it my best.”

Welcome Back is slated for release in cinemas next year.

cnewbould@thenational.ae

Published: December 12, 2014 04:00 AM

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