According to the real estate grapevine, the studio located at the junction of Dr E Moses Road in Mahalaxmi — which sprawls over an area of 6,505 sq metres — has been sold for over Rs 300 crore. The studio management, however, claimed that the plot has not been sold, while confirming that it is up for sale.
A leading South Mumbai broker whispered to this paper that the ‘famous’ landmark has been sold for a staggering Rs 325 crore, and its new owners are due to take possession of it within six months. “The studio will be freed of all the tenements currently occupying it. It has been sold at a good price, at par with market rates,” said the broker. Another broker from Worli said, “Famous Studios had been in the market for sale for a long time, and finally it has been sold. Many names of buyers are being circulated.”
While some sources claim that a real estate agency attached to the medical sector has bought the studios, rumour mills are also circulating the theory that DB Realty had shown initial interest in the project, but backed out of a deal later on. “DB has projects in the same line and hence it wanted to buy Famous Studios too. But it appears things didn’t work out and the studio went to another builder,” said the broker.
A public notice was seen in Wednesday’s papers, in which the studio management announced that a bank would be investigating their title. Advocate Vinod Sampat said, “A public notice is generally issued by the purchaser to investigate the title of the property. A bank may also issue a notice in case of loans. But it is most likely that a public notice is issued after the token amount is given to the seller by the buyer.” A film journalist recalled, “I will miss the press shows that they would host. Being located in the heart of the city, it is the most convenient place to host press shows. The place houses many ad film studios.”
An ad filmmaker who has a studio at the plot, said, “This comes as a shock to me. I was not aware of this news. I will have to check with the management and see what arrangements they have made for us.” One of the directors at the studio said, “The studio is up for sale, but it hasn’t yet been purchased by anyone. Whosoever buys the studio is free to do what they want with it — turn it into a residential facility or a commercial structure.”
End of an era
Since 1946, Famous Studios has witnessed the making of some of Bollywood’s legendary blockbusters, as well as unforgettable art films. The studio is home to nine shooting floors, equipped with the latest in cinematographic equipment, such as film and digital cameras. According to film critic Deepa Gahlot, though the building is an important landmark in the film industry, it has also made an invaluable contribution to the sphere of ad films and TV shows. Gehlot reminisced about frequenting the studios to watch film previews. She signed off saying, “It will be a pity to see it being demolished and replaced by a dull mall. But change is inevitable. I hope that in this case, it is replaced by a more creative institution.”