Mumbai's iconic RK Studios in Chembur to go under redevelopment
Kapoors are in talks with developers to build a studio space and commercial structures in the two-acre plot in Chembur eight months after RK Studios was gutted in the fire
Almost eight months after RK Studios in Chembur was gutted in a blaze, the Kapoor khandaan - matriarch Krishna Kapoor; her sons Randhir, Rishi, Rajiv; and daughters Ritu Nanda and Rima Jain - has been weighing the options available to redevelop the studio that has given Indian cinema countless classics over the decades.
While the family is keen to build a studio again, given the role it has played in their lives and that of cinema, they are also toying with the idea of redevelopment.
Rishi candidly admits, "We are thinking of redevelopment." The senior actor adds that the family is constantly in talks about the way ahead for the studio that was built in 1945 by the showman of the Hindi film industry, Raj Kapoor. "We are going to develop the place in two phases - one will have the facility of a studio, keeping the spirit of the studio alive. The rest will be developed [in the same way] that the other studios have done. There are few builders who we are in negotiations with, and we will develop it as a commercial place. It's located in a strategic area, with the Mumbai-Pune highway close by. The new airport will also come up nearby. There are no hotels around in the area. So we are keeping all these factors in mind; we're still in talks."
Although aware that building a studio in this day and age may not be a feasible idea, Rishi says the Kapoors will take the legacy forward. "You build a studio and there are no returns on it. Nobody shoots in a studio anymore. So, we have to balance our emotions with reality. But we'll definitely keep Raj Kapoor's memory alive by building a filming facility."
Randhir says, "It is expensive to set up a new studio today. The entire film industry now operates on the western side of Mumbai as Film City is in Goregaon. No actor wants to travel to the eastern side."
However, he appears wary about roping in a third party for redevelopment. "If we bring in another party, they will demand a big slice of the cake. We have to decipher the cost of development and the returns. Our discussions have not reached that stage yet." The RK Studios fire erupted on September 16 last year on the set of the television show, Super Dancer 2.
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