Admit it! You find Bollywood movies fascinating. You are not alone. The 3-hour song and dance extravaganzas captivate most Indians and surprisingly, many non-Indians.
The term ‘Bollywood’ came about years ago when Mumbai used to be called Bombay. It refers to the Hindi film industry based out of the city. And just in case you were wondering, Hindi is India’s national language.
Bollywood film studios are based in Mumbai’s suburbs and the integrated studio complex is called ‘Film City’. For the movie buffs, there are organized tours that take people around Film City.
In my last post, A Tribute to Aamchi Mumbai, I suggested a few things to do in one day in South Mumbai. Here are my recommendations for a couple of days in the Mumbai suburbs, besides the Film City tour.
Day 2 – In Bandra, Queen of the Suburbs
– Drive (or be driven) from Worli in South Bombay to the suburb of Bandra, via the Sea Link. Opened in 2009, this shiny new bridge is an engineering marvel and a symbol of modern Mumbai.
– Head to Elco’s in Bandra (west) for some bhel, a savoury street snack. It’s a light and crunchy mixture of puffed rice, diced veggies, nuts and tangy/spicy sauces. Another Mumbai favourite is pani puri. I’m told, the pani puri here is made with mineral water. So you can be sure, you won’t get sick eating it.
– Brave the star-struck crowds and walk along Band Stand in the hope of catching a glimpse of Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan or the many movie gods who live along the sea face 😉
– Hang out with the cool crowd at Candies Café. The owner, Allan Pereira, has painstakingly decorated the entire bungalow and the multi-level terrace with colourful mosaics and a plethora of vintage items to create a relaxed Portuguese / Spanish villa ambience. And top it all, the petit desserts there are absolutely scrumptious!
– Another interesting aspect of the suburbs is that you can ride around in the ubiquitous rickshaw, also known as the tuk-tuk in South East Asia. Rickshaws are not allowed to ply in South Mumbai.
Day 3 – In the Northern suburbs
– Meditate at the newly built Global Vipassana Pagoda at Gorai. Modelled on the Shwedagon in Yangon, Myanmar; this pagoda has the world’s largest stone dome built without any supporting pillars. I particularly liked some of the Buddha paintings made by volunteers, which are on sale there.
– Follow that up with some hearty East Indian food at Manoribel, an idyllic restaurant on Manori beach. The East Indians are the original inhabitants of Mumbai and their speciality is seafood.
– Admire the beautiful rock-cut Buddhist caves at Kanheri (some which date back to the mid-3rd century BCE), situated deep within the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Borivli (East). The national park itself is one of the few in the world to be situated with city limits.
Well, I can think of a gazillion more things to do (night clubs, shopping, museums etc) but this list should keep you busy for a good 48 hours! I hope I’ve been able to give you a sense of this amazing city. No surprises that so many books (both fiction and non-fiction) are based in/on Mumbai.
Last but definitely not the least, I must mention the people of Mumbai. Simple but resilient, busy yet hospitable and above all, generous (at least most of them).
I leave you now to have your own Mumbai experience. Namaste! 🙂