Desert heat tested Salman Khan in new Bollywood blockbuster

Director Ali Abbas Zafar recreated Iraq in the Liwa Desert.

Bollywood superstar Salman Khan had to deal with temperatures soaring past 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) while shooting new movie Tiger Zinda Hai in Abu Dhabi.

Director Ali Abbas Zafar took his cast and crew to the United Arab Emirates and filmed in the unforgiving Liwa Desert, which doubled as Iraq for the movie, India's most anticipated of the year.

New shots of Khan and his leading lady Katrina Kaif have just been released, and Zafar admits the making of the film was a test of everyone's endurance.

"Liwa has the highest sand dunes in the world," the filmmaker explains. "Tiger Zinda Hai required a certain scale of desert in the film and Liwa provided that.

"Temperatures were soaring and as we shot action sequences with a moving car. The conditions were extremely challenging, but the unit stood by our vision, and the local crew at Abu Dhabi was also very supportive. We achieved that which we set out to do."

Tiger Zinda Hai focuses on the real-life hostage case of 46 Indian nurses, and crew members had to recreate Iraq in Abu Dhabi by building a huge set on the backlot at the Khalifa Industrial Zone, as well as filming on location.

It's not the first time a major film production has hit the Liwa Desert - scenes in Star Wars: The Force Awakens were also shot there.

Meanwhile, the trailer for Khan's upcoming film is making movie history - the promo was viewed 29 million times on YouTube and Facebook in just 24 hours. The clip broke the record for the most likes for an Indian movie trailer - more than 480,000 in the first 24 hours and the most tweets with over 650,000 tweets in the same time period. The trailer currently has more than 41 million views on YouTube and nearly 16 million views on Facebook.

Zafar adds, "This is an extremely overwhelming moment for us. This is an extraordinary response to our trailer and I’m thrilled that audiences are showering so much love. We are delighted that we have been able to entertain the public with our content."

Tiger Zinda Hai will be released next month (Dec17).

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