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Bollywood’s favourite mill shut for shoots

March 29, 2019 07:06 AM


Bollywood’s favourite mill shut for shoots
Jumma Chumma from Amitabh-starrer Hum to Poster Lagwa Do from Luka Chuppi, Mukesh Mills compound has been a favourite location for several generations of filmmakers
BMC says ‘imminent danger’ of structures collapsing; corporator Makarand Narwekar insists just one building dilapidated, terms civic body’s action mala fide
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It’s pack up for Mukesh Mills compound, the seaside structure in Colaba, which has earned fame and notoriety in equal measures as a film shoot location and a haunted place. In a letter issued by the BMC’s A Ward recently, the owners have been instructed to shut the compound for film shoots and other activities as several structures there have allegedly turned far too weak.

Now owned by the Transport Corporation of India, the compound, spread over 11 acres, needs a fresh audit till which time no activity will take place there, the BMC note said. “A notice has been issued to the Mukesh Mills owners to get a fresh structural audit conducted. Our survey showed that the walls and the chimney have turned weak and the structures are dilapidated,” Assistant Municipal Commissioner (A Ward) Kiran Dighavkar said.

Mukesh Mills compound was established in the early 1900s by Muljibhai Madhvani, who owned East African Hardware Ltd. It was the only mill in south Mumbai at that time. After the collapse of the mills in Mumbai, the compound was abandoned and caught the eye of filmmakers. Songs, climaxes, and action sequences of as many as 50 Bollywood films, including Amitabh Bachchan-starred Hum, to more recent movies such as Heropanti and Luka Chuppi, have been filmed here. In 1992, there were efforts to redevelop the compound as part of the razing of numerous mills to make way for residential and commercial buildings, but the deal couldn’t be finalised.

Parallel to the film shoots, stories of the compound being haunted spread to such an extent that it became infamous as one of the top 10 haunted places in the entire country. A popular Mukesh Mills story revolves around a hugely popular yesteryear actress warning the crew members to leave the place immediately in a manly voice. Believing that the actress was possessed by an angry spirit, the director immediately announced pack up, the unverified story goes.

A BMC official said that at one point in time, the mill compound had a large private dock from where bales of cotton and yards of finished cloth were unloaded and transferred to ships for export. “The condition of one of the structures has worsened, and we can’t take a risk by allowing film shoots here. The property will have to remain shut till our structural auditor declares otherwise,” the official said.

While the Mukesh Mills’s executive director Sunil Warerkar refused to comment, saying the administrator will reply to queries from this newspaper on Friday, the ward corporator, Makarand Narwekar, said the BMC should re-audit all the structures. “The BMC has only issued a letter and not a notice. There is no section mentioned on the letter and this seems to be an attempt to harass the owners. The place is a hub for film shoots and these should be promoted. There are many structures on the compound and just one of them one of them is dilapidated,” Narwekar, from BJP, said.

“The unsafe structure has been cordoned off. The mill owners have already submitted an audit report about the remaining structures to prove they’re safe. The audit was conducted by the firm empanelled with the BMC, whose actions suggest mala fide intentions,” Narwekar further alleged

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