Come December, tourists to Mumbai will have yet another destination to add to their list, which will give them a lasting taste of Bollywood. Promoted by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), the Bollywood theme park, which will come up in Karjat, is expected to be thrown open to the public on December 24 and tourists will even be able to witness shooting of films or television serials, apart from visiting other attractions currently under construction.
Noted art director Nitin Desai came up with the plan of creating a Bollywood theme park, which will come up on a 44-acre plot that currently houses the 15-year-old Nitin Desai Studios in Karjat. “The theme park will resemble the Warner Brothers or Universal Studios and for the first time in the country, people will be able to get a first hand experience of film shooting. We will plan all kinds of activities that people can participate in and we will also celebrate all the traditional festivals with a Bollywood theme. We are going away from our roots and these activities can bring us back together,” said Desai.
The ND Studios was started back in 2002 and many popular films like Gandhi-My Father, Mangal Pandey: The Rising and the recent film Indu Sarkaar were shot there. Desai said that several attractions will be constructed including a Sheesh Mahal, an ancient palace village, Mumbai’s Town Square as well as iconic locations like Fashion Street and Chor Bazaar among others.
Desai added that the activities will include a talent hunt for young adults as well. “Anyone with a talent in singing, dancing or stand-up comedy can come and perform and if they are good, we will introduce them to the industry,” he said.
After the construction of the theme park, the MTDC will bring tourists to the park as part of their Mumbai Shopping Mela Festival, which will be held between December 23 and January 7. Aashutosh Rathod, joint managing director of MTDC, said that this is the first instance of promoting Bollywood tourism and they will organise tours and take foreign tourists to the theme park. “We are very keen to make use of every possible opportunity to boost tourism in the state. Using Bollywood, we can attract tourists in Mumbai first and then from other parts of the state as well,” he said.
Rathod added that viewing galleries will be constructed around the shooting sets and tourists can be accommodated there. “The tourists can watch the shooting live without interrupting it. Bollywood is a big part of the city and the ND Studios will be designated as a tourist attraction,” he said.
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