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The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation will launch its Bollywood tourism package from Jan 20.
It is not uncommon to find hundreds of Bollywood fans stand for hours outside the homes of their favourite stars in areas like Bandra, Juhu-Vile Parle, Andheri-Versova and other parts of Mumbai, hoping to catch a glimpse of the actors.
Occasionally, superstars like Amitabh Bachchan, Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan can be seen entering or leaving their bungalows and apartments in these suburbs, and waving out to their fans. Though Mumbai is home to one of the largest entertainment industries in the world, both Bollywood and the state government have failed to cater to the needs of millions of fans by having organised tours of studios, outdoor locations and other places frequented by the stars.
But the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), a state government agency, is setting things right by launching its Bollywood tourism package from January 20. It has joined hands with the government-owned Film City (now named as Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagri), and two private agencies.
According to Dr Jagdish Patil, managing director, MTDC, tourists will be able to visit film and television sets in the Film City at Goregaon and perhaps even interact with their favourite stars. There are three packages on offer: Hit (priced at Rs499), Super Hit (Rs1,999) and Blockbuster (Rs3,250).
Those opting for Hit will be taken on a three-hour guided tour of Film City including to places like the lakes made famous in several film, gardens, helipads, etc.
The Super Hit package will be a four-hour tour and will include visits to Bandra and Juhu, where the homes of famous personalities are located. Blockbuster will be a five-hour package and includes attending a live shoot. Those opting for the last two packages will also be taken on a tour of a Bollywood museum and costume gallery.
At a later stage, there is also the possibility of tourists being taken to the vanity vans of film stars. The sprawling Film City at Goregaon, spread across over 500 acres — and developed more than a hundred years ago — is located in idyllic surroundings. It lies adjacent to the Borivali national park and close to the Aarey Milk Colony and lakes such as Vihar, Powai and Tulsi.
Sadly, all these years ordinary fans could scarcely visit the Film City, and well-connected visitors had to take special passes to gain entry. The Maharashtra government missed out on the opportunity to satiate the hunger of film-crazy tourists from across India.
In contrast, the Ramoji group, a private media enterprise based in Hyderabad, set up the sprawling, 2,000-acre Ramoji Film City on the outskirts of the Andhra capital about 20 years ago, and offered visitors a chance to soak in the filmy atmosphere. More than a million tourists visit the complex in Hyderabad every year and spend billions of rupees there.
(c)2013 the Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates). Distributed by MCT Information Services.