DUBAI // Twenty thousand Bollywood fans on Tuesday flocked to the Arabian Centre for the maiden launch of a Bollywood film song outside India.
The event for the song Radio, from the upcoming movie Tubelight, was attended by its lead actor, Salman Khan, his younger brother Sohail Khan – who also stars in the movie – and Kabir Khan, the director of the film.
Tubelight, which will be released in the UAE in time for Eid next month, is set in 1962 in the Himalayas during the war between India and China.
The music video shows Salman Khan’s character, Laxman, dancing with his fellow villagers to celebrate the news on the radio that the war has ended.
“Radio was central to people’s lives back then, it was how news was obtained,” said the director. “That’s why the radio plays an essential role in this film, and was chosen as the theme of the song.”
Tubelight was shot in north India but the music video for Radio was filmed on a 1.2 hectare set in Mumbai. More than 800 dancers and 1,000 extras took part.
Shidhar Subramaniam, the president of Sony Music India and Middle East, expects Radio to top the charts "within 24 hours".
Salman Khan explained that Laxman is a humble “tubelight” (an Indian word for simpleton).
“It takes him time to understand things. To play a very naive, innocent, childlike character is very difficult, especially when you’re 50.”
Dubai was chosen for the launch of the music video because of the strategic importance of the Middle East market, said Kabir Khan. The other reason was logistical: This month Salman Khan has been filming his latest movie, Tiger Zinda Hai, in Liwa, Al Ain and Abu Dhabi. "We were shooting here, so we thought, why not hold the music launch here too?" he said. Tiger Zinda Hai, which also stars Katrina Kaif, is a sequel to Ek Tha Tiger, which was also directed by Kabir Khan.
Tubelight marked another first for the Bollywood industry, by being the first film to have its own emoji. The emoji appears when the users tweet using #TubelightKiEid, which is a mini caricature of Salman as Laxman saluting with his brown shoes hanging around his neck