A lightman adjusts the spotlight during a shooting of Sony SAB TV's new serial ‘Beechwale – Bapu Dekh Raha Hai’ at the Filmcity in Goregaon. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

Film City Mumbai, officially known as Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagri, is the place where stars sparkle during the day.

Sprawled over 520 acres of land, the unique “city” boasts 40 outdoor locations and 16 air-conditioned studios, nestled in the centre of miles of lush green expanses.

Established in 1977 by the state government to provide facilities and concessions to the film industry, it is 500 acres of pure action, that unveils more than a hundred films within the year. The plan for Film City was prepared and executed under the guidance of filmmaker V Shantaram. It was renamed Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari in 2001 in memory of India’s first producer-director-screenwriter Dadasaheb Phalke, considered the father of Indian film industry.

Bollywood, renowned for its intricate plots and mysterious schemes, weeping tragedies and side splitting comedies, as well as its plain yet highly entertaining productions, owes the film city for practically every production, both on the small and big screen.

Myth or mystique, fact or fiction, dance or drama, you can pick any combination and just let the camera roll. From ‘Burning Train’ to ‘Devdas’ or ‘Chanakya’ to ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’, there are reels of evidence to support the diversity to be found.

There are several other permanent locations such as the temple or church we see on countless television shows. Others include the courtroom and the police station, jail, chawl (low-budget housing), bank, car parking, shopping arcade, log hut, cottage, tribal village, multipurpose building exterior suitable for college, hospital and hostel entrance, which serve the immediate needs of filmmakers.

The famous temple location seen in more than 600 films and TV shows
The famous temple location seen in more than 600 films and TV shows. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

In addition to the man-made marvels, perhaps no other studios complex has such an offering of natural spots including gardens, lakes, dense forests, hills, valleys and 8km of WBM (Water Bound Macadam) road.

The Film City provides a world-class facility for colour film processing within its complex, managed by highly skilled professionals. It also offers Digital Intermediates (a motion picture finishing process) and Telecine facilities. Also featuring the Whistling Woods International Institute of Media and Arts, promoted by Indian filmmaker Subhash Ghai, and Mukta Arts and Film City Mumbai, aspiring filmmakers and actors can pursue their dreams right in the heart of where the action happens.

Film production vans inside Film City.
Film production vans inside Film City. Image Credit: Pankaj Sharma/Gulf News

In 2014, the tourism board of the Maharashtra state government launched guided tours of the Film City for the public, each ticket costing Rs600 (Dh30.7). This tour gives you a chance to step into the magical world of Bollywood. Your guide will give you insight into the film production process. It is an absolute dream world, where everything is beautiful, perfect, and it is almost easy to trod the thin line between ‘real’ and ‘fake’.

Your visit to Mumbai is incomplete until you have had a taste of Bollywood through Film City.