It is an ode to the city of Mumbai and its vibrant culture,” said a proud Dilip Ajgaonkar. Dilip along with his wife and two daughters have recently come out with a movie on the Maximum City, called Mumbai, A City of Dreams. The 17-minute movie takes you through the architectural landmarks dotting South Mumbai, the diverse communities that thrive here, the city’s history, etcetera. The idea crossed Dilip’s mind almost two years ago.
Dilip, a sales executive with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) said, “I meet a lot of domestic and international tourists, who would often ask for a DVD depicting the history of the city and various places one should visit. Hence, I came up with this idea of making a movie on Mumbai. I later discussed this project with MTDC officials and they too were excited about it. The MTDC gave us a letter stating that we were making a documentary on Mumbai. The letter helped us get the necessary permissions from authorities concerned, prior to the shoots.” Dilip and his family had earlier made a film on South Mumbai in 1995. “We had video cassettes then and it was my first attempt at movie making. But this project, I would say is a more serious attempt,” said Dilip.
Priyanka Ajgaonkar, Dilip’s daughter has shelled out money for the project. A former employee of MTDC, Priyanka said that she was happy to contribute to the movie. “We were done with shooting by December 2011. The post production work took almost five months,” said Priyanka. Apart from Priyanka, her sister, Monisha and Dilip’s wife, Pramodini also helped with the making of the film. Monisha, a freelance photographer, helped with the shooting of the movie.
The movie, said Monisha was her first attempt at videography. “There were various challenges we faced while shooting, especially at Chor Bazaar. Some of them thought that we were from the media and were clicking pictures of their stalls. So they did not cooperate in the beginning.” Dilip added, “We faced the same problem when we wanted to shoot at Bandra, Linking Road. The shopkeepers over there thought that we were taking pictures of their stalls. Later. we showed them the letter that was issued to us by the MTDC. Only then did they allow us to shoot further.” Taking time out from their busy schedule, Monisha accompanied by her father and her sister used to shoot whenever they had the time. “We were determined to complete the film, no matter how long it was going to take,” said Dilip. It took the Ajgaonkars almost a year to complete their project.
The script of the film was penned down by Pramodini in Marathi. “We later translated it in English and other languages,” said Dilip. The DVD is available in five languages-Hindi, English, French, Spanish and Italian. The DVD comprises 50 tourist locations in Mumbai. Various religious spots like the Mahalaxmi temple, Siddhivinayak temple, Mount Mary Church in Bandra, etcetera have been depicted. “The idea was to give a feel of Mumbai to visitors. So we have tried to bring as much variety as possible. Various dance forms, cuisine, religion, everything has been packaged,” said Dilip. The DVD however doesn’t do justice to Mumbai’s slums. The Ajgaonkars, who live in Sewri, defend that by saying they were not interested in exposing Mumbai’s underbelly. Priyanka Ajgaonkar, who is also the producer of the movie, elaborates, “Showing slums is not going to boost the image of the city. We have just touched upon the slums in the city, but we haven’t focused much on that.” The DVD was launched in Mumbai on June 2, Saturday.
Now that the movie is complete, the Ajgaonkars want to make their movie available at the domestic as well as the international airport; hotels, as well as sell them to the common man. “However, we have not fixed the price yet,” said Dilip. When asked if they he would give it to the MTDC, Dilip replied, “If MTDC wants our movie, then why not?” While one may find the movie somewhat amateurish with a few shaky shots, the attempt is commendable.
Note: The pictures used are not from the DVD. However, these structures along with several others have been depicted in the 17-minute film
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