Mohar Basu (MID-DAY; May 1, 2017)

In a a couple of days, Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif will fly to Abu Dhabi to kick off the shoot of their reunion movie, Tiger Zinda Hai. The Ali Abbas Zafar film will have its longest shooting stint in the Emirates — 65 days — for which a lavish set is being erected. What’s interesting is that the Bollywood unit is putting it together with help from the design crew of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).

Construction of a 20,000 square metre back lot has already begun and over 150 workers are deployed on site to create the film’s main shooting area. The team will film at several other locations across the UAE capital before moving to the primary set, we hear.

An insider says, “A team of 300 people is working on the production; it includes Abu Dhabi-based freelancers and crew members from India, the US and the UK. Demonstrating the government’s support for the city’s growing production industry, the UAE military will be providing military equipment, including choppers for the shoot.”

Speaking to mid-day, director Ali Abbas Zafar says, “A film like Tiger Zinda Hai requires [to be made on] a certain scale, which we found in Abu Dhabi. Keeping all practical measures in mind, the kind of support that we have got from them in terms of infrastructure is phenomenal. That, along with some stunning real locations, makes shooting in Abu Dhabi special.”

A sequel to Kabir Khan-directed Ek Tha Tiger (2012), the thriller will chronicle the lead pair’s adventures across exotic locations. A song and action sequence were shot in the pristine locales of Austria last month.