A theme park dedicated to Bollywood, where visitors will get a chance to try out their favourite costumes, watch film shoots and participate in live shows — that’s the experience being offered by N D Film World, a theme park in Karjat that is also the first-of-its-kind in Maharashtra.
Designed and set up by well-known art director Nitin Desai, the theme park will not only give people a first-hand experience of how films are shot, it will also let them wander around on replicas of iconic locations such as Fashion Street and Chor Bazaar in Mumbai. The park also has sections dedicated to iconic characters like Gabbar Singh from Sholay or Ajit Khan of ‘Lion’ fame.
To mark International Women’s Day on Thursday, the studio was inaugurated by 200 women from rural parts of India. The day’s events also included a tribute to late superstar Sridevi. The process of converting N D Studios to a theme park started about three years ago.
Spread across 50-odd acres, the studio was set up in 2002, and several movies and TV shows — Jodhaa Akbar, Bajirao Mastani, Slumdog Millionaire and Bigg Boss, among others — have been shot here.
Asked about the inevitable comparisons with Ramoji Film Studios in Hyderabad, Desai said he was not competing with anyone. “It’s an experience that is close to the Warner Brothers studios, but this one is more personalised. People have a lot of curiosity about films and TV shows… at this park, they will actually get to see the original sets or replicas of locations where their favourite films were shot. As many as 98 films and 25 TV serials have been shot here. They will get to know the process of filmmaking as well as the history behind it, and so this park is more personalised than any other film experience,” said Desai.
Unlike Universal Studios, there are no rides in the Karjat theme park, but it offers a range of experiential activities, including live shows and a chance to dress up like your favourite movie characters.
“There are several options for those who want to try out costumes and make-up… If someone wants to dress up like Bajirao or Jodhaa, it will be done. It is a chance for people to live their dreams. Also, as this is primarily a film studio, film shoots will keep on happening. Whenever producers permit, the visitors will be allowed to view the shoot without disturbing the crew. Special viewing galleries will be set up for that,” said Desai.
Daily shows will also be organised at the park, where iconic scenes from popular firms will be performed. “Like Dharmendra’s scene from Sholay, where he threatens to jump off a well in a drunken stupor, or Shivaji Maharaj’s coronation ceremony. We will also have live shows, and the audience can participate in them… if we see they have real talent, they could even get introduced to the industry,” said Desai.