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The new D comapny

Discussion in 'Shah Rukh Khan Dhamaal' started by Pakiza, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. Pakiza

    Pakiza New Member

    LONG before Dubai was reborn as a mall connoisseur, it was, like most great shopping destinations and well-tenured hospitals, a master of specialisation. Dissect your shopping list and you’d cover the city—Hamriya for fresh produce, the Baniyas area for electronics, the old Deira souks for spices and oils, and so on.
    The textile quarter on the south side of the Dubai creek, also called Meena Bazaar (named after its most famous store), was the stronghold of the Indian traders. Even while the city’s clogged arteries branched out beside logos of Choithram, Lal’s, Jumbo, Lulu and Jashanmal, nothing displayed Indian entrepreneurship like that congested strip of sari and salwar shops, blouse tailors, chaat restaurants and jewellery stores.
    But it’s not the sort of parochial neighbourhood Pradeep Hirani’s clients would ever venture into. A year-and-a-half ago, the 42-year-old entrepreneur branched out from his Mumbai address on the Juhu strip to set shop in Dubai’s most expensive borough, Jumeirah. Kimaya, a designer coat hanger for 80 international couturiers, including India’s best, operates out of a 7,500 sq ft villa located in the shadow of that audacious playground, the Burj Al Arab hotel.
    Hirani is part of the new India in Dubai. For decades, the city on the southern shore of the Persian Gulf has been an easy anchor for the Indian exodus—migrants looking for opportunity and a better life.
    But in the last few years, there’s been a change in the trade winds. Successful businesses—especially from Mumbai—now choose Dubai as their first international port of call, as a matter of good business sense, rather than desperation. ‘‘Investing in Dubai has become like investing in Delhi or Kolkata. It’s a great business environment and so close to India that it’s an obvious destination,’’ says Anil Gehani, managing director of Dubai-based Zabadani Real Estate. And most of these businesses have one important calling card: Bollywood.
    [​IMG]Hirani, whose clientele includes the likes of Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukerji, says, ‘‘There’s no other market in the world that appreciates Indian embroidery and design like the Arab market, especially Dubai.’’ His designer stable, including Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani and Ranna Gill, even alter their silhouettes to cater to their affluent, mostly Arab clientele. In fact, he’s been so successful that Hirani plans to open his second store in the city by mid-August.
    In a city that hosts some of the most exclusive fashion and lifestyle labels in the world, enterprises like Kimaya, Raymond’s Be: and Vandana Luthra’s fitness chain VLCC, cut through the fat with Bollywood. When Hirani flew in Mahima Chaudhary for the opening of his store, he says there was a stampede of men and women, most of them Arab.
    Five months ago, Aalim—the favoured hairdresser of Salman Khan, Sanjay Dutt, Saif Ali Khan and a roster of stars—of the Mumbai-based Hakim’s Aalim opened his second-only branch in Dubai. Aalim stepped into Dubai as the member of a lifestyle department store floated by Suniel Shetty called Crossover Bollywood Se. It includes a boutique section catered by Neeta Lulla, Aishwarya Rai’s preferred couturier. ‘‘There’s a huge craze for Bollywood in Dubai,’’ says Aalim. ‘‘People know a lot about Hindi films and they know that Bollywood gathers good people around it.’’ To drive the point home, the walls of his latest salon are lined with pictures of Aalim manhandling the crowns of his highest-wattage clients. And it’s working out so well that he intends to set up smaller outfits in Dubai’s malls in the next few months.
    Indians, especially Bollywood stars, are also an important customer base for the city’s businesses. In the late ’90s, the rulers of Dubai began diversifying their cash cows from oil and trading to real estate and tourism; since then this duty-free town has become one of the most expensive construction sites in the Persian Gulf. Some of the country’s signature and hyper-creative building adventures include The World, The Palms, a township built on reclaimed land and built in the shape of palm trees, and Hydropolis, an amphibious resort. In the process, Dubai has managed to shed its seedy tones that once involved the underworld and smuggling to become a venue for luxurious entertainment. Last September, Nakheel, the country’s premier construction company (and one of only two majors in the sector), gave Shah Rukh Khan a villa on The Palms. The estimated value: $1.8 million (Rs 7.9 crore). ‘‘Shah Rukh Khan has always said that Dubai is one of his most favourite destinations in the world, and we were very happy to see how excited his family was with The Palms,’’ says Manal Shaheen, the general manager for VIP sales at Nakheel.

    While Khan is a high-profile poster boy for one company, several other Indians are also rumoured to have bought properties in Dubai. Other names in the real estate A-list reportedly include Salman Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, MF Husain (the artist however denies it), and several other super-influentials from business, cricket and films.
    While no one is willing to publicly admit to purchasing anything—for reasons of privacy or tax problems—real estate agents in Dubai contend that the Dubai property market has become a great place for our affluent citizens to park money and make investments. ‘‘Right now the only thing stopping more Indians from investing overseas is the government’s ceiling that curbs foreign spending at $25,000 (Rs 11 lakh) a person a year. If they increase it to say $100,000 (Rs 44.2 lakh), then there’d be a lot more people willing to buy,’’ says realtor Gehani.
    Shaheen admits that ‘‘many of the good and great’’ from the Indian community have shown an interest in Nakheel projects. One famous—and curious—purveyor was Ajay Devgan. Just last month, Devgan visited Dubai for the first time and did the rounds of various Nakheel projects in the city. ‘‘He was amazed and very happy with what he saw,’’ says Shaheen. But the actor hasn’t taken the bait yet.
    The construction fever in the city—some 35,000 hectares of the total 3,84,000-hectare total land mass of Dubai is under development just with Nakheel—is another important arena for Indian companies. Real estate insiders in Dubai say that the Lokhandwala builders from Mumbai are looking at projects in the city. Last year, the Hiranandanis, also Mumbai builders, in partnership with Dubai-based construction firm ETA-Ascon, started work on 23 Marina; at 397 metres and 90 habitable storeys, it’ll be the world’s tallest residential apartment building. The average cost of an apartment here, which includes duplex flats with individual swimming pools, is AED 900 to AED 1,200 per sq ft (approx Rs 14,469 per sq ft).
    The design team on the project is headed by another Mumbaikar, architect Hafeez Contractor. ‘‘Things are going really well for the property market in Dubai and if the government keeps doing what they’re doing, there’s going to be a lot of interest from everywhere,’’ says Contractor.
    Indian interest is certainly top of the list for companies like Nakheel. The company says that about 10 per cent of their client base is Indian, from the expat community in Dubai and from India, and it has earned a whopping AED 2.5 billion from its Indian clientele. Other Dubai developers, including EMAAR Properties—which last week lost a bid for a 7.5-hectare plot in Mumbai’s Bandra-Kurla complex—and ETA-Ascon, are also investing in construction projects in various cities in India.
    India’s image change from a labour resource to a cultural and financial hypermarket is, of course, seriously aided by the fact that about half of Dubai’s population is Indian. On the streets, there are snatches of Hindi and Malayalam in the air, supermarkets have rows of so-called ‘Indian vegetables’; at the cash counter, for AED 2 (about Rs 24) you can ogle at Fardeen Khan’s wedding pictures in the Ahlan Masala. ‘‘For one thing, the media industry in Dubai is full of Indians, and when it comes to movies, whether you’re Arab or Indian, everyone’s obsessed with Shah Rukh and Salman,’’ says Jawahar Chhoda, Masala’s senior features editor. Since the glamour and movie magazine’s launch two years ago, its weekly circulation has grown to about 30,000 copies, just in Dubai.
    In the dark ages before cable, the odd stage show, the local video store, a cinema outing or the Thursday night film on the local Channel 33 were the only options available for serious Bollywood junkies. Now, Crossover Bollywood Se sits on a sandy patch of land diagonally opposite what used to be one of Dubai’s most favoured playhouses for Hindi films—Strand Cinema. More than a decade ago, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge played there for months on end, right after Hum Aapke Hain Kaun ended its dream run.
    Elsewhere in the city, there are posters publicising Yana Gupta’s next stage show. (Actress Amrita Arora says she’s done at least six shows in Dubai in the past one year.) And according to Hirani, many of his clients could easily give a rundown of last night’s episode of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. As for Strand Cinema, its facade is half massacred today; in a few months, the demolition will be done, it’ll eventually become a brand new residential and commercial complex. Fly Buy Dubai.

  2. Meghna04

    Meghna04 ChakDe SRK!

    Thanks Pakiza!
    I wish I could visit Dubai someday ...
  3. kanika

    kanika New Member

    The palm islands are gonna be just amazing. I looked at a few pix and it's gonna be amazing. i wish i could go and c 'em one day
  4. Wafa

    Wafa I want my Mom!!!

    yes its going to be very beautiful. I think they're suppose to be done with the construction the first quarter of this year.
  5. K

    K I love you Shah Rukh. Staff Member

    Thanks Pakiza. :)

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