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.
How to See Mumbai Film City:
Unfortunately, Mumbai Film City isn't open for public admission unless special prior approval is obtained. However, for around $95, it's possible to take a guided tour of Film City. The interesting and informative Bindaas Bollywood Tour is recommended, and 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.
A newcomer to the Bollywood market, Bollywood Tourism also offers guided tour packages to a number of Bollywood studios. They offer tours to see the homes of Bollywood stars as well. Their packages are a bit more costlier: $150 for a full day or $125 for a half day. Another similarly priced option is Bollywood Tours.
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.