Noisy with a touch of spiritualism and extravagant with a tinge of humility- is what Mumbai is all about! The ‘City of Dreams’ for millions, the ‘Financial Powerhouse’ of the country, the ‘City that never Sleeps’, the ‘Entertainment Capital’- are just a few names that Mumbai is better known by. Sprawling beaches and up-market locales on one hand to bustling neighbours and huge slums on the other hand, Mumbai is a sheer mix of all that one can ask for!
Mumbai is home to the largest film industry in India- Bollywood. It boasts of some of the most beautiful locations, which have caught the fancy of many a film and television directors. Scenic sea-side, gorgeous malls, busy roads, crowded railways and airport, there is hardly any spot in the city which has not been captured in the frames of the camera.
We bring to you the top 10 shooting locations in Mumbai:
Film City: The preferred choice of most film and TV serial makers, Film City Mumbai is a ‘mini city’ spread across nearly 350 acres. Located in the posh Goregaon area, Film City boasts of having 20 indoor studios and arrangements for shooting of outdoor settings as well. It has settings for backdrops of gardens, lakes, forests, cities, houses, villages, etc and all that are required to shoot a film in the premises. Films like ‘Bodyguard’ and ‘Ready’ were shot in the Mumbai Film City.
Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus: Among the four World Heritage Sites in the state of Maharashtra, CST (as it is better known) is a railway station having the world’s highest density of passengers (6.3 passengers daily). No wonder it is another chosen spot by directors to shoot their films. Whether it is to show the arrival of the lead characters to their ‘Dream City’, or it is to reunite long-lost lovers, this railway station has been one hot-spot for shooting. Oscar award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire had some scenes which were shot at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus.
Marine Drive: The 3-kilometer long boulevard overlooking the Arabian Sea makes for picture-perfect scenery and that is exactly why it is among the most loved shooting spots in Mumbai. The fresh breeze, the setting sun, the sky at dusk, the palm trees lining the road and the abundance of restaurants in this stretch works in favor of Marine Drive, emerging as a chosen location for shooting. A part of the superhit film ‘Dhoom’ was shot here.
Aksa Beach: Beaches have always been an attractive tourist spot for people in Mumbai. Aksa Beach, being a popular sightseeing and vacation spot in Mumbai, has also grabbed much attention of film and TV directors. The song ‘Tujhe Aksa Beach Ghuma Doon’ from the film ‘God Tussi Great Ho’ was shot here, and so was a part of the film ‘Saagar’.
Colaba Causeway: Also known as the ‘Culture Square’ of the city, this spot is home to many up-market retail shops as well as roadside hawkers selling all kinds of products. Besides several restaurants and eateries, Colaba also boasts of important buildings like National Gallery of Modern Art, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum, etc. Few scenes of Reema Kagti’s upcoming film ‘Talaash’ starring Aamir Khan have been shot in Colaba Causeway.
Bandra: Located in the west-central Mumbai, Bandra is popularly known as the “Queen of the Suburbs”. Because of its rich and luxurious architecture, it prides in serving home to several Bollywood actors and other sophisticated and affluent class of people. Bandstand, Carter Road, Pali Hill, Bandra-Worli Sea Link, and Jogger’s Park are famous places in Bandra, and have been a regular favorite of film crew. Subhash Ghai’s 2003 film Jogger’s Park was filmed on the location of the same name.
Gateway of India: Probably the face of Indian history in Mumbai, the Gateway of India is the most important monument of the city. No wonder visitors throng this place in huge numbers, given that it is the place to begin exploring Mumbai with. The historic representation, the scenery overlooking the Arabian Sea, the amazing crowd, and the sight of vendors peddling their wares makes for a picture-perfect frame. A number of regional language films have been shot here, as also have song sequences in films like Ghajini, Bombay, Kalyug, Hero No.1 and Mann.
Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat: Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat is where hundreds of people earn their living as washermen, cleaning the dirty laundry of people from all over the city. The inordinate strength with which the professional washermen stand for long hours in chemically treated water, manually cleaning the dirt from each and every cloth, is what attracts tourists a lot. The world’s largest open-air laundry could not escape the eyes of filmmakers for long. Perhaps this was the reason why director Kiran Rao made the film ‘Dhobi Ghat’- as a tribute to the people of the Mahalaxmi Dhobi Ghat.
Juhu Beach: The list of the 10 most popular shooting locations in Mumbai would be incomplete without mentioning Juhu Beach. Among the most affluent and sophisticated areas of Mumbai, Juhu Beach is an undoubted favorite of not just visitors, but also the locals. The aesthetic appeal and the soothing neighborhood make Juhu Beach the most exploited among all the beaches of Mumbai. Classic films like CID (starring Johnny Walker), Anand (starring Rajesh Khanna) and Seeta Aur Geeta (starring Hema Malini) have been shot at the Juhu Beach.
Dharavi: Among the largest slums of the world, Dharavi thrives on the pottery, textile and recycling industry to support the thousands of people that stay there. Although always in the news for its unhealthy environment and living conditions, Dharavi has managed to find a foothold in the film industry, being depicted in plenty of films. Films like Deewar, Salaam Bombay!, Dharavi, Sarkar, Traffic Signal, Footpath and so on, have been shot here. Parts of the Oscar-award winning 2008 film Slumdog Millionaire was also filmed in the Dharavi slum.
Mumbai being the hub of media and entertainment, has tremendous scope in terms of shooting spots for film, TV serial and ad film makers. Besides the above listed hot-spots of shooting, there are several other locations which are patronized by directors, depending on the requirements of the project.