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Filmmakers on their love-hate relationship with Mumbai

mid-day 36th anniversary specialCall it the number of opportunities or foot-tapping lifestyle, Mumbai's charms have been a temptation too hard to resist. Filmmakers who have engaged themselves with filming the city's tragedy, romance or the passion of the city-dwellers have always returned with something special to say.

While we've seen what they had to say in images, here is the back-story to the cinematic experiences they offered.

Vikram Bhatt producer, director and screenwriter
Vikram Bhatt producer, director and screenwriter
Shooting in Mumbai is a great experience because the city has many quaint corners. Every five hundred meters you will find a place that looks like no other. Mumbai used to be portrayed really well till the early nineties, but now bollywood is like the bhands who are considered outcast. Therefore shooting in the city has become a nightmare.

Sujoy Ghosh director and screenwriter
Sujoy Ghosh director and screenwriter
It is hard to say that this is the perfect city to shoot as each script has its own location demands. But over all, I like Mumbai. I think Bluffmaster showed the city well. Also, I don't think that filmmakers face a lot of trouble while shooting here if the necessary permissions are taken. It's smooth apart from tackling the crowd but that exists everywhere.

Shashanka Ghosh director and script writer
Shashanka Ghosh director and script writer
I enjoy shooting at Essel Studio, Trombay. I think the location has great ambience. I saw Dombivili Fast and felt that Nishikant Kamat did a good job of depicting unexplored spots of Mumbai. When it comes to shooting here, I feel that we face lesser problems here as compared to other cities. The crowd sometimes poses a problem but that isn't a very big deal.

Siddharth P Malhotra director
Siddharth P Malhotra director
My favourite place to shoot is Marine Drive. I think Rohan Sippy's Bluffmaster and Mani Ratnam's O Kadhal Kanmani captured the essence of the city. I must say that it's frightfully expensive to shoot is Mumbai due to permission issues.

Kannan Iyer director,writer and actor
Kannan Iyer director,writer and actor
I loved to shoot in South Mumbai. I think Rohan Sippy has managed to capture the essence of the city in his film Bluffmaster very well. However crowd and traffic are the main problems when it comes to shooting in the city.

Rahul Dholakia director, producer and screenwriter
Rahul Dholakia director, producer and screenwriter
According to me, Mumbai lends itself beautifully to the mood of the subject. For example, if we want to capture festivals say Muharram, then I would shoot at Byculla and Dongri. If the scene is about the Ganesha festival then Chowpatty or Juhu are your go-to places and if capturing the chaos is your demand then you must head to the local trains or Bhuleshwar.

Each spot in Mumbai is superb to shoot in, the question is what do you want to capture. I think in Mumbai Cutting, a collection of eleven short films, Anurag Kashyap and Kundan Shah did a brilliant job of capturing various aspects of Mumbai. The biggest problem while shooting in the city arises from the unions and political parties who are the new mafia.

Be it BMC, police, MNS, Shiv Sena and now even NCP, every one blames the government for everything. They either want us to give them money or hire their members. Foreigners aren't allowed to work without permit and we are compelled to use locals. It's almost impossible to shoot a low budget film in Bombay.

Nitin Chandra director
Nitin Chandra director
Ballad Pier is my favourite location in the city. Ayan Mukerji showcased Mumbai and monsoon well in Wake Up Sid. While shooting, the major issue arises from the corruption in various departments. It becomes difficult to get shooting permissions.

Goldie Behl director and producer
Goldie Behl director and producer
I enjoy shooting in studios than at actual locations in Mumbai. In the past 10 years, I liked the way Rohan Sippy has depicted Mumbai in Bluffmaster. Also, shooting here is cumbersome, as one has to handle many issues apart from getting permissions.

Madhur Bhandarkar director, scriptwriter and producer
Madhur Bhandarkar director, scriptwriter and producer
I love shooting in South Mumbai because of the heritage structures there. To talk of the changing times, I feel elated when I see the decongested Bombay of the 70s and 80s. Many filmmakers have shown Mumbai and its underbelly really well. In my films, while Chandani Bar was shot in a chawl and Mumbai's by lanes, Page 3 had local trains and Corporate showcased high-rise buildings. Though people here are really nice and cooperative , I wish we had a single window clearance to shoot anywhere in the city. You have to go through a tedious process to take permissions for every place you want to shoot at.

Milan Luthria filmmaker
Milan Luthria filmmaker
My favourite places to shoot in Mumbai are Ballard Pier and Dadar Parsi Colony. Both are quintessentially Mumbai, with several heritage structures. Ballard Estate, a commercial district, turns into a ghost town by night. Shooting there is like having a chunk of the city as your private set. According to me, Taxi No 9211, Once Upon A Time in Mumbai, Salaam Bombay, A Wednesday, Slumdog Millionaire and The Lunchbox, reflected our city beautifully. The biggest problem is commuting to and from the locations. The traffic debilitates creativity. I often check into a hotel if the location is far from home so that I am fresh for work the next morning.

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