I liked the strange yellow tricycle inside Golmaalthe butt 3 idiots chairs, or the iconic Mughal-E-Azam 1960s set? Do you want to hang out on the bike with your friends and pose in those blue, yellow and red pots, or feel like a king sitting in the ornate chair of the Mughal emperor, Akbar the Great? Then this Bollywood theme park in Mumbai Cinema is for you. Spread over 280 acres, the site can be entered through gate 1. However, Google Maps can lead you to gate number six through a stretch of bumpy roads. We entered from the last and most tiring route but the view of the main gate of the Bollywood theme park after a short walk was breathtaking. The golden gates are reminiscent of the Egyptian era. The gate opens to a massive four-story wall on the left, which is adorned with scenes from iconic films such as Mother India, Lagaan, Singham, Vaastav, Hum Aapke Hain Kaun, Bajirao Mastani, Om Shanti Om, Devdas along with the father of Indian cinema Dadasaheb Phalke at the top. No wonder the Bollywood theme park was promoted at the Cannes Film Festival this year when India was honored for the first time.
Built in six months by more than 400 craftsmen, the tour lasts at least four hours. With around seven film sets and experiential activities, the Bollywood theme park lets you recreate scenes and become a part of famous Bollywood sets, such as a Rajasthan Haveli set, a South Indian setup or a Goa street.
A walk a little further from the main entrance, opposite the set Kaun Banega Crorepati we were in rajasthan. Not literally but visually. This was a set of historical films based on the royal state. Colorful jharokhas, classical balconies and royal chapels with processional paintings of the Mughal and Rajput eras are part of the backdrops featured in some Bollywood movies. Narendra Rahurikar, the mastermind behind the Bollywood theme park reveals that these sets are made of fiber and rubber. “So people seeing from afar would think this is made of stones, but it’s not. So when they come here, we explain them about making sets,” says Narendra, who is the managing director of D’fine Art. Narendra collaborated with Film City and MOS Utility Pvt Ltd for the project. “When people come to Mumbai they want to see the film city but they are not allowed inside, so I have worked with the state government to build something where people can have a taste of Bollywood,” says Narendra , who has designed sets for more than 50 films in the past two decades.
Launched in April this year, the theme park has quickly gained popularity among both Mumbai residents and visitors from across India. It has consistently garnered nearly 1.5 lakh visitors every month.
As we moved further, we spotted a jail, clearly reminiscent of Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna movies from the 80s, and then there was a Golmaal bike that tempted us to take a ride. We learned that the bike was designed by Narendra and so were all the cars blown up in Rohit Shetty’s cop movies Singham, Simba and Chennai Express. A royal chair and the 3 Stupids chairs against the backdrop of a huge wallpaper of old and new Bollywood movies make a selfie spot. There is also a set representing South Indian film sets. Adjacent to it is the model of the iconic Ajanta Elora caves, a coloring studio, a 7D effects film room for an intimate cinematic experience and a film editing studio to explain the use of special effects in film making. We learned that the sound of a horse’s footsteps is recreated with a coconut shell during the editing of a film.
There is an entertainment hall, which has a Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) block. We met Akshay Kumar here! Not literally, but a mime, which entertained visitors from many parts of India. We learned that every day there is an entertainment activity by dancers, comics, musicians or impersonators. On our way out, we saw a huge rack of costumes, which were worn by celebrities in some of the super hit Hindi movies. “People can wear them and click pictures,” we were told. In addition! There is a military themed restaurant which serves delicious Indian and Chinese food. We’re told there’s also a 360-degree movie room and wax museum coming soon. “The idea is to understand how the whole filmmaking process happens. We wanted to make it in India so even for people coming from South India there is something to relate to. Many of the stars are shooting in the film city. Sometimes we invite them to meet the guests. People enjoy the live shows and the weekends are always packed,” concludes Narendra.
Entry to the Bollywood theme park requires advance booking at bookmyshow.com or you can purchase your tickets from the Film City entry gate. There are buses outside the Film City gate that will take you to the theme park. Minimum number of people should be 30. Tickets: Rs 999 and extra if you want to shoot or record with makeup, costumes and sets inside the theme park. The Bollywood theme park operates daily from 10am to 5pm.
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