The UTV Stars project aims to have at least 60 handprints of top Bollywood celebs within the first year of its launch
It’s been a jogger’s delight, a hangout spot and a lover’s point for years. Now the picturesque Bandra Bandstand in entertainment capital Mumbai will turn into the Bollywood Walk of Fame. Sure enough, the street will be adorned with the hand imprints of popular living legends like Amitabh Bachchan and Shahrukh Khan – a la Hollywood. Housing the flats and bungalows of actors like Shahrukh, Salman Khan, John Abraham, Shabana Azmi and Rekha, the area attracts a lot of tourists and local people.
With the addition of celebrity tiles at Bandstand Promenade – an idea conceptualised by UTV Stars – the number of visitors is only expected to increase. Taking a leaf out of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Walk of Fame at the world-famous Hollywood Boulevard, officials at the channel were earlier in talks for a Hall of Fame, but ultimately zeroed in on a ‘Walk’. “We have been working on this project for six months. Since we consider ourselves the official Bollywood channel, we wanted to do something for the actors who have contributed so much to the industry over the years,” said Nikhil Gandhi, business head at UTV Stars. “So we zeroed in on this Bollywood Walk of Fame in Bandra Bandstand, where the name and handprints of actors will be placed tile by tile.”
The Hollywood Walk of Fame stretches over two kilometres and has brass stars and the names of showbiz stars engraved in tiles. A specific area also has hand and foot imprints of actors, musicians and technicians in clay tiles. But the desi street will be “different”. “We wanted it to be different. We won’t do stars, we will have brass imprints for our stars, who will be required to give their hand imprints in a clay cast, which will be processed in brass. And when it is ready to be placed on the street, we shall invite the star over to place it at the right place,” said Gandhi.
The channel hopes to get as many as 60 tiles placed within the first year of its launch, scheduled for early January 2012. With this, the Bandra Bandstand is expected to wear a new look! “We had other options, but the Bandra Bandstand is a central location and looks wonderful with the sea by the side,” he said. “We haven’t earmarked the stretch of the Walk of Fame yet, but we wanted to choose a place which is convenient for the public, for visitors, and a place which would add to the beautification of the city as well as add tourism to the city, which is the hub of Bollywood.” Permission has been received from the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Bandra Residents’ Association (BRA) for the project, according to Gandhi.
UTV Stars hopes to launch the project with a “megastar” but are tightlipped about the name of the celebrity. For starters, only actors – mostly “deserving, glamorous and big stars who have contributed a lot to Indian cinema” – will find their hand imprints on the Bollywood Walk of Fame. However, space will also be created for deceased legends who continue to live in the hearts of fans. Gandhi is confident the Walk will add value to the “city of dreams”.