Mumbai has its own Bollywood Theme park with iconic movie sets, 360-degree movie hall, 7D theatre, and much more
The park allows you to recreate scenes and become a part of renowned Bollywood setups such as a Rajasthan Haveli set, a South Indian setup, or a Goan street
Loved the strange yellow three-wheeled motorcycle in Golmaal, the butt-shaped 3 Idiots chairs, or the iconic Mughal-E-Azam set from the 1960s? Do you wish to hang out on the bike with your friends and pose in those blue, yellow and red pots or feel like a king sitting on the ornate chair of the Mughal emperor Akbar the Great? Then this Bollywood Theme Park in Mumbai’s Film City is for you. Spread across two acres, the place can be entered through gate number 1; however, Google Maps can lead you to gate number six through a stretch of bumpy roads. We entered through the latter and more tiring route but the sight of the main gate of the Bollywood Theme Park after a little walk was exciting. The golden gates remind you of the Egyptian era. The gate opens into a huge four-floored wall at the left which is graced with scenes from iconic movies including 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 Cannes Film Festival this year when India was honoured for the first time.
Constructed in six months with over 400 artisans the tour takes a minimum of four hours. With about seven movie sets and experiential activities, Bollywood Theme Park allows you to recreate scenes and become a part of renowned Bollywood setups such as a Rajasthan Haveli set, a South Indian setup, or a Goa street.
A walk little ahead from the main entrance, opposite the set of Kaun Banega Crorepati we were in Rajasthan. Not literally but visually. This was a set of historical movies based in the royal state. The colourful jharokhas, classic balconies and royal chapels with paintings of processions of the Mughal and Rajput eras are part of the sets shown in some Bollywood movies. Narendra Rahurikar, the brain behind the Bollywood Theme Park reveals that these sets are made of fibre and rubber. “So the people seeing from far would think this is made of stones but it’s not. So when they come here we explain to them about set making,” shares 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 film city but they are not allowed inside so I collaborated with the state government to make something where people can have glimpses of Bollywood,” says Narendra, who has designed sets for over 50 films in the last two decades.
Launched in April this year, the theme park has quickly acquired popularity among both Mumbai residents and visitors from across India. It has steadily garnered close to 1.5 lakh visitors each month.
As we headed further we spotted a jail, clearly reminding us of Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna movies from the '80s and then there was a Golmaal bike that tempted us to take a ride around. We learned that the bike was designed by Narendra and so were all the cars that were blown up in Rohit Shetty’s cop films Singham, Simba and Chennai Express. A royal chair and the 3 Idiots chairs against the backdrop of a huge wallpaper of old and new Bollywood movies make for a selfie point. There is also a set representing South Indian movie sets. Next to that is the model of iconic Ajanta Elora caves, a chroma studio, a 7D effect movie hall for an intimate film experience, and a film editing studio to explain the use of special effects in filmmaking. We learned that the sound of the footsteps of a horse is recreated with a coconut shell during the editing of a movie.
There is an entertainment hall, which has a Sheesh Mahal (Mirror Palace) like block. We met Akshay Kumar here! Not literally, but a mimic, who entertained visitors from many places of India. We learned that every day there is an entertaining activity by dancers, comics, musicians or mimics. As we headed out we saw a huge hanger of costumes, which were worn by celebrities in some of the superhit Hindi movies. "People can wear them and click pictures," we were told. What's more! There is a military-themed restaurant, which serves delicious Indian and Chinese food. We were told that there is also a 360-degree movie hall and a wax museum coming up soon. “The idea is to understand how the entire filmmaking happens. We wanted to make it pan India so even for the people who are coming from South India there is something for them to relate to. Many of the stars are shooting in the film city. Sometimes we invite them to meet the guests. People enjoy live performances and weekends are always full,” shares Narendra in conclusion.
Entering Bollywood Theme Park requires prior booking on bookmyshow.com or you can buy your tickets from the entry gate at Film City. There are buses outside the Film City gate that will take you to the theme park. A minimum number of people should be 30. Tickets: Rs 999 and extra if you want to shoot or record with make-up, costume and set facility inside the theme park. The Bollywood Theme Park operates daily from 10 am to 5 pm.