If you want to shoot in Mumbai and don’t have the time to do a recce of the various places in Mumbai, the safest bet is to shoot in Film City. Its almost a ‘mini city’ located in the suburbs of Mumbai, and one of the greenest spots in Mumbai (it makes you wonder why other parts of Mumbai is not as green).
Where is Filmcity
Mumbai is the heart of India’s booming “Bollywood” film industry where hundreds of films are produced every year, most of them are shot at Film-city.
It was built by the Maharastra state government in 1978 to help the Bollywood film industry (and the Marathi film industry) and provide facilities for it to flourish. The official name for filmcity is Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari.
Filmcity is located in the northern suburbs of Mumbai, known as Goregaon, in the vicinity of Aarey Colony & on the outskirts of Sanjay Ghandi National Park. Its easily accessible from the Western Expressway. One can reach Film City by taking a bus, train, or by hiring an auto or taxi within the city.
Spread across 500 acres of land, Film City has around 20 indoor studios, and with easy access to skilled people who can make various arrangements for outdoor or indoor shooting.
Barring for a big-city feel, that place offers almost everything that is required by filmmakers to be used for backdrops – gardens, lakes, forests, temples, houses, villages, etc.
No wonder, its the preferred choice for most film and TV serial makers.
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Sample studio sets in Film-city
Film Sets for Films & TV Shows
The sets and locations at Filmcity are extremely versatile. From recreating overseas locations (depicted in movies such as ‘Kal Ho Naa Ho’) to recreating the charm of old-world architecture (shown in films such as Devdas), the studio has shown it all. Several of Salman Khan’s films such as ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Ready’ were also shot in the Mumbai Film City.
‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ Set
‘Om Shanti Om’ Set
Yash Raj Films, Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, Subhash Ghai’s Mukta Arts, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s SLB, Sippy Films, Rajshri banner, almost all the top Hindi production houses have filmed in Mumbai over the past several decades.
Filmcity is also the place where most of your popular television soap operas as well reality shows are filmed.
Set of ‘Comedy nights with Kapil’
So whatever the shot demands for the film, you can choose or create a backdrop to suit it. Whether it is family drama or romantic scene or arrival of dacoits in a rural area or a car/bike chase scene (against chroma), it all can be arranged here in the filmcity.
Temple in Filmcity, shown in several Bollywood movies
Village & Outdoor Sets in Filmcity
Film Tourism: Filmcity, Integrated Studio Complex in Mumbai, Opens to Tourists
Indians love their movies. They are fascinated by the Bollywood stars, their lifestyle and what they do. Almost every Bollywood buff, who doesn’t live in Mumbai, and is in Mumbai for a short stint, makes it a point to see where Shahrukh Khan & Amitabh Bachchan lives (albeit from outside).
If given an opportunity, they would also love to see what happens on a film set and get a real close look at Bollywood, but there was never an easy way to accomplish this, until now.
Visitors from around the world, rejoice! Filmcity, Mumbai will now be open to tourists! It’s now possible to take a Bollywood tour, to the heart of the action, in Film City.
The Maharashtra government is now keen to make Filmcity not only a major tourist attraction but also a one-stop-shop for filmmakers (given its state-of-the-art infrastructure & facilities).
Now tourists will have access to shoots and sets (through mirrored walkways to ensure minimal interference) and a Bollywood museum is also being planned on the Film City premises. Visitors can see shoots, check out sample costumes and props used in popular movies.
You never know, you could even be offered the role of a Bollywood extra!
Filmcity is also home to a few major studios/production companies. Here’s the picture of Reliance Mediaworks Studio in Film city, Mumbai. So if you’re a film or media student, you could even apply for a job there…
In recent times, Film tourism from various countries (especially the UK) to Mumbai has grown significantly. One of the reasons for that is the growing number of Bollywood productions filming in Great Britain.
For the die-hard Bollywood film fans, there’s no greater pleasure than traveling to the exact location in Mumbai where some of their favorite films were shot. It’s like going to Hollywood to see the great Warner Brothers or Universal studio sets. The good thing for these fans is that Mumbai now offer Bollywood studio tours.
There’s something in store for filmmakers as well!
Filmmakers/production houses will be provided discounts if they shoot their films here. The advantage of Filmcity is that it provides an insulated film environment, away from the hustle of the city, without any outside interference. Huge sets can be built safely, production work goes smoothly, and there are no disturbances at all.
The picture below shows vanity vans of Bollywood stars (outside one of the studios). Just stay there for a while and you’ll spot stars getting in and out of the van. A Vanity van is a Bollywood stars’ home (away from home). Whenever the shot is ready, one of the assistants will send across a message, and the star will come out of the van, enter the studio where the shooting is in progress, finish the shot and come back in his/her van.
More on the Filmcity Tour
Bollywood Tourism Company and MultilinkWorld, in collaboration with the state-run Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation [MTDC], will be offering the tour packages.
Two packages are currently on offer – Blockbuster Package & Economy package.
The Blockbuster Package
Priced around Rs.20k per person, the half-day tour begins as soon as you get on the bus. The tour guide, a stand-up comic, will provide useful information alongside jokes, celebrity trivia and Bollywood gossip. The package will also include a drive through the Mumbai suburb of Bandra/Juhu, including the Bandstand Promenade at Bandra, so that you can take a look at the palatial houses of Bollywood stars such as Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan, Big B & other celebrities.
The package will also include a walk-through of Filmcity, a visit to the Bollywood Museum, cafe and costume gallery; a behind-the-scenes look at how special effects are created; and live filming
The Economy Package
Priced at an affordable Rs.500 per person, this package includes a three-hour guided bus tour (in English and Hindi); welcome drink; a history of Bollywood; visits to sets and locations around the complex; and live filming (subject to availability).
However, you cannot use your cameras to take photos of actors shooting scenes, because it will disturb the cast and crew. Besides, the producers don’t want anything to be leaked from their sets. Neither can you get off the bus to explore the studio sets, no matter what!
Over the years, television has grown immensely in popularity and so, you may see more television shows being shot here, more than movies. Nevertheless, you’ll definitely enjoy these trips, especially if you’re a Bollywood buff. This is the place where your favorite actors work; its also great to understand how the studios have evolved over time.
Tourists at Mumbai Film City
Want to Be a Bollywood Extra?
If you’re a foreigner and in India for a few days, if you love movies, why not just give it a try? Not for the money, but for the experience, and also it could lead on to bigger things.
Foreigners are always in demand, to work as extras in Bollywood movies.
But then, more than hanging around filmcity, you should spend time in South Mumbai. Just hang around Colaba Causeway, particularly the area around Leopold’s Cafe, and you’ll most likely be approached to be a Bollywood extra.
What’s the downside to it? Expect long hours, lots of waiting, and pay of around 500 rupees ($12) per day.
Mumbai to Get Grand Bollywood Museum that will Have Hollywood-Style Walkthroughs, Wax Figures, and More
Mumbai to Get Grand Bollywood Museum that will Have Hollywood-style walkthroughs, a hall of fame, Madame Tussauds-like wax figures, an interactive exhibit, and memorabilia sourced from film-makers, and many more attraction.
A grand museum with Bollywood as its theme had been gathering dust for the last few years, but it seems the Maharashtra Government is keen to put the project on the fast track now.
The museum will come up in Film City, and will be part of a larger project that will also involve construction of a state-of-the-art studio in Film City. Maharashtra Film, Stage and Cultural Development Corporation will coordinate the two projects.
The history of Bollywood will be presented in creative ways and visitors will get a first-hand experience of how films are made. The museum is also likely to feature Hollywood-style walkthroughs, a hall of fame, wax figures of Indian film stars, an interactive exhibit, and memorabilia sourced from film-makers, among other attractions.
US-based architectural firm Verner Johnson, which specializes in such projects, is working on the museum’s design in collaboration with city architect Shashi Prabhu, Boston-based designers ZNA and Christopher Chadbourne Associated, and film expert Pravin Nadkar.