Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 

Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 
The exhibition features a section dedicated to Indian cinema’s superstars, including Shah Rukh Khan (pictured). (Supplied)
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Updated 07 February 2023

Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 

Bollywood comes to the UAE at Louvre Abu Dhabi exhibit 

ABU DHABI: Bollywood has come to the UAE as the Louvre Abu Dhabi unveiled its newest art exhibition, on the history of Indian cinema.  

Home to one of the world’s largest film industries, India reportedly releases more than 1,500 genre-varying movies in 20 languages per year.  




“Bollywood Superstars” features a wide selection of paintings, photographs, costumes, tapestries and photographic objects. (Supplied)

Running until June 4, “Bollywood Superstars” features a wide selection of paintings, photographs, costumes, tapestries and photographic objects. A significant number of the displayed items are on loan from the Musee du Quai Branly — Jacques Chirac in Paris, which specializes in indigenous art.  

Indian cinema was developed in the 20th century, but as the exhibition demonstrates, narration and moving images have been present long before the modern era. In a way, the nation’s vibrant visual culture, folk performing arts, shadow puppetry, ancient epics and mythologies — dating back to 2,000 years — led to the birth of Bollywood. Some of the displayed objects represent the celebration and revival of religious, cultural figures, and heroes.   




significant number of the displayed items are on loan from the Musee du Quai Branly — Jacques Chirac in Paris, which specializes in indigenous art. (Supplied)

In the early days, traveling story-tellers roamed around, narrating scenes of important epics. A showcased mid-20th century wooden altar, resembling a toy box, shows on its detailed panels painted characters and scenes from the battle-themed “Ramayana” epic. It almost looks like a contemporary film set, where movement, costume, and staging are in action. 

Other objects reveal deities, taking them out of their temples and closer to worshippers. There is a colorful wooden bioscope that projects with light images of a deity. “Like a music box, a hand crank slides images for viewers to see peering through small peepholes,” reads a label next to the device.  




India reportedly releases more than 1,500 genre-varying movies in 20 languages per year. (Supplied)

Movies arrived in India via the revolutionary French Lumiere brothers, who invented photographic equipment, in 1896. As the years advanced, filmmaking became a weapon against colonial rule, asserting identity. Modern pioneering directors, such as the late Dadasaheb Phalke (dubbed “the Father of Indian Cinema”), were inspired by their own literature and culture, manifesting in their creations.     

The exhibition ends with a presentation of popular Hindi cinema today, witnessing a boom from the 1970s onwards with luminaries Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, and Shah Rukh Khan on the rise. Whether in old or modern times, “Bollywood Superstars” is a reminder of a human need to tell stories. 


From Red Motorcade to grand reception: How royal wedding paid homage to Jordanian, Saudi culture

From Red Motorcade to grand reception: How royal wedding paid homage to Jordanian, Saudi culture
Updated 01 June 2023

From Red Motorcade to grand reception: How royal wedding paid homage to Jordanian, Saudi culture

From Red Motorcade to grand reception: How royal wedding paid homage to Jordanian, Saudi culture

DUBAI: The Middle East’s newest power couple, Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II and Saudi Arabia’s Rajwa Al-Saif, tied the knot on June 1 in a ceremony and following reception that was filled with nods to both Jordanian and Saudi history, heritage, and customs.

Getting married days before the 30th wedding anniversary of the groom’s parents, King Abdullah II and Queen Rania, one of the biggest royal events in Jordan since 1993 began with an elegant wedding ceremony in the manicured gardens of Zahran Palace.

The Saudi bride arrived at the palace in a 1968 Rolls-Royce Phantom V, custom-made for the late Queen Zein Al-Sharaf, the crown prince’s great grandmother.

After the religious ceremony, the couple took part in a royal motorcade procession through the streets of Amman, waving to cheering crowds as they headed to Al-Husseiniya Palace for the grand reception.

The Red Motorcade, as it is officially known, has its roots in the era of King Abdullah I, the founder of Jordan, who would arrive at significant national events atop one of a procession of white horses, accompanied by riders dressed in dark blue trousers and red blazers.

The motorcade consisted of eight bright red armed Land Rover vehicles and 11 motorcycles, but on special occasions, horse and camel riders join the line-up and the Jordanian Armed Forces Band plays military music on bagpipes.

The Land Rovers and motorcycles cordoned the main motorcade vehicle, a 1984 Range Rover, which carried the newlyweds.

The Range Rover was especially customized for the visit of the late Queen Elizabeth II to Jordan by UK company Wood and Pickett.

During the British queen’s state visit, which took place in March 1984, the vehicle was used by the late King Hussein to drive the monarch and her husband the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, to Petra and other locations in the south of Jordan.

The custom Range Rover, which has been dubbed the Sheer Rover, has been elongated and features a cut-off roof. New white leather upholstery has also been installed, including four individual Recaro electric seats.

Apart from the religious ceremony, the wedding reception also incorporated Jordanian and Saudi design elements.

The crown prince and his bride were greeted by the customary zaffeh, a lively musical procession featuring drums, bagpipes, singing, and clapping.

The smiling couple were then led to the outdoor reception courtyard by a rousing military zaffeh performed by the Jordanian Armed Forces Band, sporting the traditional red and white headdress and dress uniforms.

Guests entered the reception on a path that evoked the Jordanian desert, featuring a 20-meter-long handwoven traditional Bedouin rug, created by the Bani Hamida Women’s Weaving Project in the village of Mukawir in Madaba.

Inside, guests were greeted by the sight of native olive trees surrounded by a dune-like display of dates, which represented both Jordanian and Saudi cultures, an ode to the newlyweds’ home countries.

The venue featured an installation of five large-scale mesh arches, inspired by the architecture of the palace and the desert landscape of Jordan’s Wadi Rum.

Meanwhile, guest seats were adorned with traditional embroidery patterns, handstitched by female artisans from Al-Karma Embroidery Center and the Jerash Women Charitable Society – established to empower local women and promote traditional handiworks.

Tables were made from natural Madaba stone and decorated with hand-blown glass vases and traditional clay pottery made by local artisans.

The decor also incorporated hand-hammered basalt stone from the north of Jordan and local seasonal flowers such as jasmine. Other design elements paid homage to Jordan’s wheat-harvesting season, which is in full swing, with elements reimagining the traditional threshing board used to shred wheat and release its grain.


Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference

Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
Updated 01 June 2023

Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference

Good leadership begins with happiness, says Egyptian author Mo Gawdat at Riyadh conference
  • Mo Gawdat: You become a successful leader because you prioritize happiness
  • Deepak Chopra: It’s good to have a timed target; on the other hand, you have to be process-oriented in the present moment

RIYADH: Authors Deepak Chopra and Mo Gawdat revealed their methods for successful leadership and embracing the future of AI at a conference in Riyadh. 

Chopra and Gawdat were among the many speakers at the Annual Leadership Conference, which explored how managers must adapt in a rapidly changing world to build a sustainable future.

In an interview with Arab News, Gawdat, a former Google employee, said he managed his flourishing company, One Billion Happy Foundation, with unconventional methods.

“You become a successful leader because you prioritize happiness,” he said. “We think that leaders are all about controlling everyone and everything. That’s not true at all. Leaders, by the meaning of the word, are in the front, chasing their vision and dream, where others want to be behind them.”

Gawdat said he created his firm seven years ago after the loss of his son, vowing to make one billion people happier. That task started with his own employees.

“We’re always happy. And the reason is because with that happiness, you create that connection, and with that connection, you achieve more success, and you become a better leader,” Gawdat said.

“You give your people reasons to find happiness in what they do, that you give your people purpose in your vision,” he added. 

Gawdat said coping with what life throws your way is all about making better choices on what we decide our stressors will be. 

“Eighty percent of the things that break us are not things that we necessarily need to have in our life. We can be very effective at weeding out the stuff that doesn’t really require our attention,” he said. 

“Everything from waking up in the morning to a very loud alarm instead of a kind alarm. Or maybe even sleeping a little early, so that you don’t need an alarm.”

The conference held a signing of Chopra’s book “The Soul of Leadership” and Gawdat’s second book, “Scary Smart: The Future of Artificial Intelligence and How You Can Save Our World.” 

Gawdat said his work looked at the need to commit to a “dynamic, fast-moving … world with AI.”

It explored how “accepting the fact that this is upon us … and then committing to becoming the best user of it,” would allow people to get the “best outcome of this situation.”

In a panel discussion, Chopra broke down the skills needed to be a successful leader: Look and listen, Emotional bonding, awareness, doing, empowerment, responsibility, and synchronicity.

Chopra, who has written 93 books, said effective leadership in a workplace required a shared vision, maximum job diversity, and a leveraging of the strengths of team members. 

“It’s good to have a timed target; on the other hand, you have to be process-oriented in the present moment,” Chopra said. “In cognitive science, we call it awareness. It’s not in time, it’s in between every thought, breath, movement, perception, sensation, is this presence.”

Chopra is also a clinical professor of family medicine and public health at the University of California and the founder of Chopra Foundation. 

The conference, themed “Creating a sustainable and resilient global economy: the convergence of finance, business, and technology,” was held in the King Abdullah Financial District. 


Princess Rajwa stuns in Elie Saab as Queen Rania wears Dior at Jordan’s Royal wedding

Princess Rajwa stuns in Elie Saab as Queen Rania wears Dior at Jordan’s Royal wedding
Updated 01 June 2023

Princess Rajwa stuns in Elie Saab as Queen Rania wears Dior at Jordan’s Royal wedding

Princess Rajwa stuns in Elie Saab as Queen Rania wears Dior at Jordan’s Royal wedding

DUBAI: After weeks of speculation, the new Crown Princess of Jordan Rajwa Al-Hussein unveiled her wedding gown as she married Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II in Amman on Thursday. 

The bride, formerly Rajwa Al-Saif, wore a classic white gown by celebrity-loved Lebanese couturier Elie Saab. The full-sleeved gown featured a dramatic veil that trailed for several meters behind her, while the neckline stood out for its chic draping. 

Rajwa Al-Saif wore a classic white gown from celebrity-loved Lebanese coutourier Elie Saab. (Reuters)

She accessorized the look with a glittering tiara and matching diamond earrings, along with white strappy shoes, as she held a bouquet with white flowers.

For his part, the crown prince donned a suit that drew inspiration from the design worn by King Abdullah II on his wedding day in 1993. The suit’s sleeves paid homage to the style favored by both King Abdullah II and King Abdullah I.

The reveal follows weeks, if not months, of speculation about what label the royal family would pick for the Saudi national to walk down the aisle in. Luxury labels Dior and Bruce Oldfield were floated by celebrity stylists and fashion magazines around the world, with some industry insiders throwing British designer Sarah Burton’s name into the ring.

Jordan’s ever fashionable Queen Rania wore a gown by French label Dior. (Reuters)

Jordan’s ever-fashionable Queen Rania wore a gown by French label Dior that hailed from the luxury label’s fall 2022 couture collection.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Princess of Wales was among the high-profile royal guests at the ceremony.

Kate, Princess of Wales, and William, Prince of Wales, were among the high-profile royal guests at the ceremony. (RHCJO)

For the highly anticipated occasion, she wore an elegant Elie Saab gown from the brand’s fall/winter 2017 couture collection.

The pastel piece featured a high neck, full bell-shaped sleeves, as well as embroidery and lace detailing.

Princess Beatrice, who attended with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, wore a long-sleeved sequined dress by British brand Needle & Thread. (Courtesy of Royal Hashemite Court)

Also from the Britain, Princess Beatrice, who attended with her husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, wore a long-sleeved sequined dress by British brand Needle & Thread. She matched the black belt of the dress with a black bow adorning her flowing locks.

US first lady Jill Biden, accompanied by her daughter Ashley Biden, wore a light purple gown by Lebanese designer Reem Acra. (Courtesy of Royal Hashemite Court)

US First Lady Jill Biden, accompanied by her daughter Ashley Biden, wore a lilac gown by Lebanese designer Reem Acra. She was also spotted wearing the dress in April during a state dinner at the White House.

Denmark’s Crown Princess Mary, accompanied by Crown Prince Frederik, wore an Erdem cream gown with blue floral print. The luxury label was founded in London by Canadian Turkish fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu.

Denmark's Crown Princess Mary, accompanied by Crown Prince Frederik, wore an Erdem cream gown with blue floral print. The luxury label was founded in London by Canadian-Turkish fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu. (Courtesy of Royal Hashemite Court)

Earlier, the bride stayed true to her Saudi roots at her May 22 henna night by wearing a custom-made gown by Saudi designer Honayda Serafi. 

The designer took inspiration from the Al-Shaby thobe of the Najd region in Saudi Arabia, home to the bride’s family. 

“The brief was that she wanted to wear something very modest and something from Saudi Arabian culture, but with a modern twist. She wanted the piece to be very elegant, and she also wanted it to be white,” Serafi previously told Arab News. 

Apart from the references to Al-Saif’s Saudi heritage, the dress also featured nods to Jordanian culture.

Serafi included the seven-pointed white star that is present on the Jordanian national flag, which symbolized the seven verses of Surat Al-Fatiha in the Qur’an.

Other details in the dress included Saudi Arabia’s palm trees, which symbolize life and vitality, as well as a verse by famous Tunisian poet Aboul Qacem Echebbi — “When my eyes see you, life becomes right” — etched into the dress in Arabic lettering.

“My intention behind designing this dress was to document the eternal love and the history of the royal wedding. And, of course, I have used traditional threads and it is all hand embroidered,” said Serafi.


European languages event in Riyadh is talk of town

European languages event in Riyadh is talk of town
Updated 01 June 2023

European languages event in Riyadh is talk of town

European languages event in Riyadh is talk of town
  • Second edition of the European Night of Languages was held recently at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Riyadh
  • Among the participants testing out their language skills were ambassadors, members of the diplomatic community, and professional language teachers

RIYADH: An evening’s celebration of languages was the talk of the town at an event hosted by the EU delegation to Saudi Arabia.

The second edition of the European Night of Languages was held recently at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Riyadh in recognition of Europe’s linguistic and cultural heritage.

The event was organized in partnership with the Riyadh language exchange, a Saudi non-profit group, the Alliance Francaise, Goethe Institute, Education First, SEK International School, and the embassies of the EU member states in the Kingdom.

Among the participants testing out their language skills were ambassadors, members of the diplomatic community, and professional language teachers.

Patrick Simonnet, the EU envoy to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Oman, said: “Languages are the most important thing when you want to reach other cultures, and showing interest in other languages is what the event is about.

“The event is not so much about learning other languages because learning another language in one evening is impossible, but it is more about interacting with cultures of different European countries. So, it is really about the exchange of cultures and bridging the gaps between our respective cultures.”

Visitors attending the event were invited to select the national flags of their spoken languages and those they wished to learn before mixing with other attendees.

Among the languages being spoken were French, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Greek, Romanian, Finnish, and Dutch. Games and quizzes, an oud recital, a performance by Portuguese band Almanata, and a European culinary experience followed the event.

Mohammed Matham, co-founder of the Riyadh language exchange group, said: “We are excited to contribute to strengthening people-to-people relationships between Saudi Arabia and the European Union through the power of language learning.”

Marguerite Bickel, director general of the Alliance Francaise, said: “My goal in teaching French here is to promote the French language to support Vision 2030, especially in tourism, as there are a lot of French tourists that are very eager to discover Saudi Arabia.”

Jason Caranicas, deputy head of mission and head of the consular section at the Greek Embassy, said: “There is certainly an increase in the number of Saudis applying for a Greek visa now, and this year for the first time, there are so many direct flights from the Kingdom to several major cities in Greece, including Mykonos and Athens.”

The event was staged as part of European Diversity Month to promote the importance of languages as a bridge-builder between cultures.


Childhood photos of Rajwa Al-Saif revealed ahead of her wedding to the Jordanian Crown Prince

Childhood photos of Rajwa Al-Saif revealed ahead of her wedding to the Jordanian Crown Prince
Updated 01 June 2023

Childhood photos of Rajwa Al-Saif revealed ahead of her wedding to the Jordanian Crown Prince

Childhood photos of Rajwa Al-Saif revealed ahead of her wedding to the Jordanian Crown Prince

DUBAI: As Saudi citizen Rajwa Al-Saif gets ready to tie the knot with Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II, new photos from the bride’s childhood were revealed as part of the official live stream of the much-anticipated event taking place in Amman today.

While one photo shows a young and beaming Al-Saif on horseback, another features her father Khalid bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif.

Rajwa Al-Saif with her father Khalid bin Musaed bin Saif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saif. (Supplied)

Among the photos is also one of Al-Saif at her graduation ceremony at the Syracuse University in New York.

After the wedding, Al-Saif will be known as Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Jordan and, when the crown prince takes the throne, she will be Queen Rajwa. 

Among the photos is also one of Al-Saif at her graduation ceremony at the Syracuse University in New York. (Instagram)

The religious ceremony will be held at Zahran Palace, where the crown prince’s parents — King Abdullah II and Queen Rania — wed in 1993. The ceremony will be attended by around 140 guests, including members of the Royal Hashemite family, invited royals and heads of state.

Guests include the Prince and Princess of Wales William and Kate Middleton, senior royals from Europe and Asia, as well as US First Lady Jill Biden.