The Mumbai Congress on Thursday demanded that the iconic RK Studios in Chembur, founded by legendary Bollywood actor Raj Kapoor, should be converted into a film museum for posterity. In a letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam said the government should acquire the massive studio which was gutted in a fire and has now been put up for sale by the Kapoor family.
“For the Kapoor family, this will surely be more of an emotional loss than a financial one. Over the past few decades, the people of Mumbai too have developed an emotional bond with the studio,” Nirupam wrote.
He suggested to Fadnavis that rather than some private buyer, the government should acquire the property at the prevailing market rates sought by the Kapoor family and the government can later convert it into a full-fledged museum.
“This will serve the dual purpose of preserving an important part of our nation’s cinematic history, culture and heritage while generating revenues for the government,” Nirupam pointed out.
He listed the names of the some of the greatest films of all times which were shot in the RK Studios during its 70-year history and said the government must initiate steps to preserve the tremendous historical and sentimental value attached to it.
Located in a shady corner of Chembur, a north-eastern suburb of Mumbai, the studio was founded by ‘The Showman’ Raj Kapoor in 1948.
Ironically, the first film shot there was RK FIlms’ Aag. Seventy years later, a fire consumed the premises on September 16, 2017, spelling doom for the studio.
Over the years, some of the most memorable films were made there under the RK Films banner like Barsaat, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hain, Awaara, Shri 420, Boot Polish, Jagte Raho, Mera Naam Joker, Ram Teri Ganga Maili, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, till Raj Kapoor’s death in 1988.
Unlike most other studios in Mumbai, the RK Studios managed to preserve all the costumes used in its films shot here during its more than six decades of heydays.
After the fire last year, the Kapoor family has cited financial crunch to restore and revive the studio to make it a viable entity and announced its sale recently, signaling the curtains down for RK Studios.