After nearly 40 years of allowing only the cast and crew through its big gates, Film City, known for hosting countless Bollywood films, has finally opened for tourists. For all the big Bollywood fans, this trip is an insight into the modus operandi of film making. FilmCity is one of India’s largest studios, housing sets of several TV shows and movies every year. Most of the sets are built according to the requirements of the film, but there are certain permanent structures like a temple, a court house, a church and even a bridge. Over the years, the cluster of studios that make up Film City host more TV shows than films, but the sets are equally grand and alluring.
The tour starts right on time, with a 10 minutes buffer given to accommodate late comers. You get a bottle of water and a packet of chips. The bus is comfortable and so is the ride. The guide starts off by showing his audience a movie on the brief history of Bollywood, setting up the right mood for the trip. As you cruise through the lanes of Film City, the tour guide will give you a brief description of the sets which appear on either sides. The sets are beautiful and meticulously built. The biggest drawback of the tour was, except for two locations, you’re not allowed off the bus, even to take photographs on the sets. Secondly, if you are expecting to spot some Bollywood bigwigs, don’t hold your breath since the chances of that happening are very slim. And even if you do spot someone, you’re not allowed to click pictures since it will disrupt the shoot.
Overall the trip was pretty ordinary, with the audience gathering nothing more than facts about the movie sets. However, to get to tour the famed Film City is an opportunity in itself and there is nothing more satisfying for a Bollywood fan than to be in the same place where all the magic really happens.
By Ekta Shetty