Mumbai: Film-crazy Indians, as well as international Hindi film buffs, can now visit the locations where Bollywood blockbusters are created, watch a film shoot in progress and perhaps even meet their dream star in person — an opportunity made available through the newly launched Film City tour packages.
Ever since the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) announced a joint venture with the Film City, known as Dadasaheb Phalke Chitra Nagari, in suburban Goregaon last December, there has been an overwhelming response.
“Over 1,000 inquiries have come to us from across the country,” says Chirag Shah of Multilink travel agency, which has been roped in to operate the Bollywood tourism project for the budget package, while Travelmartindia.com will run the medium and high-end packages. The prices at Rs499 (Dh29), Rs1,999 and Rs3,250 per person respectively are meant to suit different pockets.
“Online booking will start from January 26/27 onwards at www.mumbaifilmcitytours.com and also from our 15,000 plus outlets across India,” Shah told Gulf News, adding that Multilink was all set to start serving its new star-struck business clientele.
The economical package will take tourists on a three-hour guided bus tour in English and Hindi to the Film City’s famous studios, locations and historical sites. It will also give glimpses of shooting from the bus, an overview of film/TV serial sets and some interesting, little-known facts about Bollywood.
Tourists buying a medium-end package will be given Bollywood on-wheel experience in the area known as Beverly Hills of Bandra. In addition, tourists will be taken to film studios, where a set is created of Bollywood Gully walk-through, Bollywood Museum, Cafe, costume gallery and a VFX visual effects experience. They will be shown how special effects are used. A tour of a TV/film series set and an opportunity to see a live shoot and spot celebrities are also thrown in.
In addition to the benefits of both these packages, high-end tourists will have the privilege of visiting live shootings of TV soap operas.
According to Laxmikant Deshmukh, Managing Director, Film City, the idea was born simply from the fact that people across the country enjoy Hindi cinema and many tourists in Mumbai yearn to see a film star and even some film shooting to get a firsthand experience of the place where popular films are made. Spread over 520 acres next to Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Film City has 15 studios and 45 outdoor locations. It boasts of a varied natural topography including hills, valleys and ravines, flat open spaces, natural woods and lakes and ponds. It is described as an ecological jewel in the heart of the concrete jungle of Mumbai’s suburbs.
In addition to its natural scenic beauty, Film City has created several outdoor locations like a temple, helipad, playground, dam, bungalows, gardens, lakes and bridges.