Bollywood’s Famous Studios will soon be no more

The land on which the iconic Mumbai studio stands will be used to build a residential property

The Bollywood and TV fraternity would soon say goodbye to one of their most famous studios, actually called Famous Studios. The iconic building, which is a landmark of sorts in Mahalaxmi in Central Mumbai, will pave the way for a new, modern and opulent structure by hotshot builders.

According to a newspaper report, Rs 350-crore deal has been struck for redevelopment of the property with an area of 1.5 acres. The 45:55 joint venture is between Arun Roongta, the owner of Famous Studios, and Ajay Piramal’s real estate company Piramal Realty. Both parties have however denied any such deal, but industry insiders believe it to be true as speculation regarding this tie-up has been on for some time now. Another contender for this tie-up was DB Realty, the builders of a residential project adjacent to Famous called Orchid Turf View. But that has clearly not worked out.

Started in 1946, Famous Studios not only has a preview theatre where films are screened for distributors, critics and friends, but also nine shooting floors where TV shows like Zee TV’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa are regularly shot. It rents out cameras and other shooting equipment, and also provides some of the best post-production facilities. It also houses offices of ad agencies and film companies. So what will happen to all these now? We wonder, as the new high-profile property in Famous’ place would be residential, according to reports. Apparently the compensation being offered to the 12 tenants is not enough and they are not happy. But there is another hitch that might work in the tenants’ favour – the builders will have to seek the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s permission for redevelopment and also pay a hefty fee, as it’s a BMC’s commercial leasehold plot. Let’s wait and watch how this deal comes through.