A short walk from Legoland and we were at the entrance to the second of the parks, and a unique one at that.
Bollywood Park is aimed at the Indian population with a number of rides and attractions themed around popular Indian films. Dubai is perfectly placed in the centre of both Western and Asian audiences so it would make sense for there to be a park aimed at people from that part of the world and it appeared to be working with more Indian visitors in this park than Western in Legoland.
In an attempt to educate I'll post something on each of the films that provides the theme to each ride.
The park looks dead, it wasn't mobbed, but I think I got lucky with the shots.
All this decoration for just an ice cream parlour...good ice cream though.
The park doesn't have a centrepiece, it has a backpiece with a huge theatre at the rear of the park acting as the thing to stand in front of to take photos of. The theatre can sit nearly 900 people and has a couple of shows, none of which we had time to see today unfortunately. It does require an extra payment too.
Don is a film from 2006 that features Shah Rukh Khan as a guy called Vijay who's asked by a police officer to go undercover and pretend to be a gang leader called Don but when the officer is killed Vijay is left to fend for himself. This was shot in Malaysia and features a number of car chases.
and it's a car chase that forms the theme for the ride. Unfortunately at the time of our visit this attraction was still being commissioned and wasn't open to the public. It's a Holovis immersive 3D tunnel simulator ride I believe.
The park theming was superb throughout with nice plants taking the place of Lego bricks. However the glare in the park was intense with me having to walk around some of the park through partially closed eyes. Sunglasses are a must!
Sholay is a classic Indian film from the mid 70s that is like a Western featuring a couple of crooks who are hired to bring down a criminal kingpin who is terrorising a town. With nods to the films of Sergio Leone and lots of action taking place in the daytime the film didn't do so well initially but grew a following that made it one of the most popular Indian films of all time.
Sholay is a dark ride using cars similar to those in Spiderman at IOA but with guns fitted that allow you to shoot at targets on the screens. It's a very clever ride with immersive shooting sections where you don't even realise the ride has stopped with the sensation of motion coming from the movement on the screen only. The park management are quite proud of this ride as it's one where you can shoot people; apparently there aren't many of those. The bad guy in this looks very much like Hitler but dons a metal suit in the final sequence. It's a great ride (this is something I would come to say a lot here)
In the front right of the park is a huge hall containing 2 more attractions.
Ra One is another Shah Rukh Khan film that has him playing a video game creation that comes to life. This film was set in London and my mate Tal had a cameo in it.
The attraction is a 4D cinema film with a pepper's ghost pre-show. It's OK but one of the weaker attractions in the park. The 3D looked a little out of alignment causing ghosting.
Krrish is the more accessible of the films featured in the park. It stars Hrithik Roshan as a Superman type Superhero in a Zorro mask. There have been several Krrish films starting, much like Superman, with an origin story leading to him having to deal with various bad guys.
The ride is similar to the Soaring Over rides you find at Disney with cantilevered seats being lifted in front of a huge screen that envelopes your view when seen in 3D. The premise has you riding a cable car towards the unveiling of a huge Krrish statue, that snaps and you're then saved by him. The voiceover from the secondary character is a bit annoying but the ride itself is decent.
There have been 2 Dabangg films which feature Salman Khan as Chulbul "Robin Hood" Pandey, a corrupt cop who deals with crime in his own way. These films look intentionally ridiculous and I suspect I'd like these.
The attraction is a dancing/stunt show and at the point we were watching this I'd been awake for close to 30 hours. (An early work call prevented me getting any sleep before the flight). I will admit to falling asleep during this despite the impressively loud sound system. From what I did see the fighting looked obviously faked and the stunts weren't all that.
Lagaan is a film all about cricket and features a small town challenging the British aristocracy in a game to avoid a tax hike being imposed on them. The first cut of this came in at over 7-hours long and was also supposed to have starred Shah Rukh Khan but he dropped out (is he super famous? he appears to be in massive demand). Aamir Khan got the part in the end.
The attraction is a motion simulator and completely, totally bonkers! You play the part of a cricket ball being bashed about a huge arena featuring rollercoaster track and steam punk wooden cricketers. It's closest comparison of rides you might know is the Simpsons simulator at Islands of Adventure but not as big. This and Sholay looked to be the big wins group. I loved this.
If you want something a little tamer, there's a carousel in the same building (themed as Mumbai's Victoria Station) as the Lagaan ride.
The park is lovely, and not knowing the characters made this a more attractive visit for me. It's nice to not know everything.
As well as the rides, there are a number of live shows taking place around the park. One of them went on for a long time but the dancers did great despite the heat they were being asked to dance in. Me, I sat and watched from under the elephants where it was shaded.
and that was Bollywood Park, I really liked it and it kept us entertained for hours despite there being no rollercoasters. I think that's a good thing. All of the attractions are indoors which is good planning on the park designers park. It's a shame they don't have a way to prevent the glare without resorting to sunglasses, which I don't wear. But I shouldn't criticise them for nature...
If you are visiting Dubai please visit this park and don't be put off by not knowing the material the rides are based on; it doesn't matter!