Mumbai is the center of India's booming "Bollywood" film industry. Over 100 films are produced each year there. It's possible to take a Bollywood tour to the heart of the action in Film City. If you'd rather be in a Bollywood extra in a movie than simply see the set of one, that's possible too. Here's how.
What and Where is Mumbai Film City:
Film City was built by the Maharastra state government in 1978 to help the Bollywood film industry and provide facilities for it to flourish. The sprawling complex covers nearly 350 acres and comes fully equipped with almost 20 indoor studios, as well as outdoor settings for filming. Film City is located in the western Mumbai suburb of Goregaon -- in the vicinity of the secluded and lush Aarey Colony on the outskirts of Sanjay Ghandi National Park
. It's easily accessible from the Western Expressway. Unfortunately, Mumbai Film City isn't open for public admission unless special prior approval is obtained. However, it is possible to take a guided tour there.
Options for Guided Bollywood Tours:
The interesting and informative Bindaas Bollywood Tour
includes lunch inside the studio as well as a drive past famous Bollywood actors' houses. You'll be picked up from your hotel, and dropped off there after the tour is over. The cost is $95 per person.
also offers guided bus tour packages to a number of Bollywood studios and tours to see the homes of Bollywood stars. Their packages are a bit cheaper: 3,250 rupees ($55) for a full day including Film City or 1,999 rupees ($35) for a half day. Private tours are also possible.
Bollywood Tours offers private half day tours for $135 per person, and full day tours for $175 per person. The tours can be combined with Bollywood dance shows.
If you want a tour that's easily bookable online, take a look at this Bollywood Studio Tour from Viator. Six and nine hour private tour options are available, starting from $144.
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation has started offering tours of Film City. A three hour guided bus tour of Film City costs 499 rupees ($10) plus service tax per person (the total price comes to 561 rupees per person). Various locations are visited and glimpses of live shooting may be seen from the bus. The tour can be booked through this website
. In addition, Maharashtra Tourism offers half and full day "Superhit" and "Blockbuster" Bollywood tour packages. However, these tours are actually the ones operated by Bollywood Tourism (they are reselling them). More information is available in this brochure
Film Cities in Other Locations:
Film cities can also be found in Noida (not far from Delhi), Hyderabad, and Chennai. Noida Film City has over 25 acres of indoor and is used mostly for making TV serials, news, and current affairs programs. Chennai Film City is home to the Tamil movie industry. The public can enter for a small fee, and there's an amusement park to keep the kids entertained. Hyderabad's Ramoji Film City
is a huge tourist destination spread over 2,500 acres. It boasts of being the world's largest production complex. Entry costs less than $5 and includes a special tour. Be sure to get there early to catch all the fun.
How to Be a Bollywood Extra:
If you'd rather be in a Bollywood movie than simply see the set of one, that's possible too. Foreigners are always in demand to be extras in Bollywood movies. The easiest way to make it happen is to hang around Colaba Causeway in Mumbai, particularly in the area around Leopold's Cafe
, and you're sure to be approached to be an extra. Expect long hours, lots of waiting, and pay of around 500 rupees ($12) per day.