Starstruck In The City Of Stars - Why You Should Go For A Bollywood Studio Tour In Mumbai?

When I visited Mumbai for the first time, it was only for half-a-day and you know what I did? I headed straight towards the famous Mannat - Home of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan. (Me and my love for SRK!) I was happy with clicking hundreds of photos around his house and telling everyone how I got to see ‘Mannat’. But then, when my cousin told me about the Bollywood studio tour that takes you to popular studios and introduces you to actual filmmaking and movie stars, my only aim was to be a part of this tour. I was insanely jealous of this cousin of mine who got an opportunity to experience all the glitz and glamour of the Bollywood.     

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So, this time while visiting Mumbai, I decided to go all touristy. I was planning this trip with my friend and we shortlisted two different options -

  • 6-hour-tour - USD 163.5 (INR 12,000) per person 
  • 9-hour-tour - USD 183.12 (INR 13,500) per person 

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 We both decided to go for a 9-hour tour being the Bollywood freaks that we are! We wanted to make the most of one of the best things to do in Mumbai. Our 9-hour-tour included -

  • Free pick up and drop
  • English-speaking guide 
  • Entrance fees 
  • Briefing at SJ Studio 
  • Tour of the movie sets 
  • Movie show at Regal Cinema 
  • Dinner at an Indian restaurant 

We booked a tour 4 days in advance, packed our bags, and landed in the city of dreams with the excitement that was hard to conceal.

  • That’s how it starts!

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The tour starts at 2 pm and includes a free hotel pick up. When our driver came to pick us up at the hotel in Bandra, I was happy to see a well-maintained AC car at my disposal. We were taken to SJ Studio in Andheri as it is one of the best Bollywood studios in Mumbai. 

  • Professional guide  

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Our tour started with a small introductory session where we were informed about how the world’s largest film industry came to be. Our guide made sure that he was not bombarding us with facts and figures. I think it was the first ever introductory session that I immensely enjoyed! (I have an attention span of a cat and yet this gem of a guide kept me intrigued throughout the briefing)

  • Stunning movie sets 

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When our guide took us to SJ studio sets, it was hard to believe that from hospitals to prison cells, it has everything under one roof. We also got to see the filming of two TV commercials here. I was in awe while exploring the vast sound-proof empty floors. It felt like an open imagination ground where a number of shows and advertisements have been shot.

  • Much-fascinating technical part

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When our guide informed us that we will also get to see the production side and editing part, my friend, a true engineer-at-heart, was bouncing with joy. The best thing about such Bollywood tours is that from the dubbing process to editing and publicity, you get to see everything. 

  • Where the stars live 

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If we had opted for a 6-hour-tour, our day would have ended after the tour of SJ Studio. But, the Bollywood lover in me is glad that we took a tour of 9 hours. When we left SJ Studio, our very own driver was ready to take us to our dream locations - Juhu and Bandra. Yes! From Salman Khan’s home - Galaxy to SRK’s Mannat, (Again!) we saw it all.

  • Movie show at Regal Cinema

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I was looking forward to our next stop - the iconic Regal cinema. If you are wondering what is so special about this 80-year-old theater, then you are definitely living under a rock! This place has actually witnessed a transformation of Bollywood through the centuries. I am pleased that instead of some typical touristy activity, the tour operators decided to add a screening of a Bollywood film here. 

  • Delicious dinner and back to the hotel

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We had not realized how famished we were until we were taken for dinner at the traditional Indian restaurant after the movie. After eating the hotel food for 2 days straight, this Indian restaurant pampered our taste buds like never before! We enjoyed a leisurely dinner all the while talking about a starry day we had experienced. Our driver then dropped us back to the hotel at around 11 pm where comfortable beds were waiting for us after a long, long day.

Before taking this tour, I had thought that it will satisfy my film industry-bitten soul. But, now that I have realized Bollywood tourism is a real thing, I am not ready to give up on the newly-found taste of this glamorous world. I will be back soon, Bollywood!

 

*Some images are for representational purpose only. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dhruvalakshmi, who believes that her Patronus would be a cat, loves day-dreaming and writing. But, she gets very uncomfortable when it comes to writing third person introductions like this one ...

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