Mumbai is the heart of Bollywood and dreams. It is India’s Finance center. Alas it has the biggest slum too. Everyone loves the city but there is no one inspired enough to turn this beautiful city into a clean city. The beaches are filled with filth. The streets are unswept. During the rains you have to walk through muck. There are no pedestrian pathways. Everyone is too busy to care. Mumbai is the neglected old parent in the house. Everyone cares but no one wants to take him to the doctor or make him go for a cleansing walk. Come on Mumbaikars wake up. Clean up your city. Do something for your poor citizens too!
People suffering from various ailments offer candles in the shape of the ailing body part and are miraculously cured. This is famous Mount Mary Church of Bandra, Mumbai. People come from all over the world to offer prayers and light candles in front of Mother Mary’s prominent statue.
My love with Mumbai is through Hindi movies. Every time I come here I am awe struck by the fact that I am walking the streets of a city where great actors like Amitabh Bachhan, Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan and many more share the Mumbai air with me.
Yesterday my daughter showed me the hallowed gates of Mehboob Studios as we were rolling along in an auto-rickshaw in prime time traffic, headed for a view of the sea from Band Stand in Bandra?
Wonder if this Bandstand seen in this song still exists in this area?-
We sat there on a bench and watched an angry sea hasten its waves in greetings towards us. People walked by in casual charm. To me they were extras in my movie. I am movie crazy. Life is just a big movie set for me. My roles have changed over the years from a hero I have ascended to the part of an ageing father. I love it. I am still the hero but my make up is so good that people think that I am really old.
I have not physically been to Mumbai many times but visited the place thousands of times through movies. I have stood there as a character among the crowds watching stars acting in song and dance routines. I am everyday in Mumbai financially too trading in the stock market and watching the many Mumbai based broker/experts on television. That is entertainment of a different kind.
My wife too is an unwitting fan of Mumbai watching with awe those soaps on prime time TV. These too are shot somewhere here in Mumbai.
I know I would have been a different man if I had not met all these people of the screen like Raj Kapoor, Dharmender, Shashi Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rishi Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Biswajit, Bhagwan, Johnny Walker, Dara Singh, Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, Waheeda Rehman, Nutan, Sadhana and many more who shaped our lives with their acting and the movies they acted in. Each dedicated film goer is a family member of this vast clan of Bollywood.
Last evening we took a long walk on the beach before heading for Bandra. Well, My Chowpatty has changed a lot from the uncluttered pani poori serving times of forty years ago. This is different. Dynamic, surging, crowded and young. This is new India.