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Iconic studio now cultural hotspot

The culture vultures trekked to Mehboob Studio in the suburbs, where celebrated sculptor Anish Kapoor put up his debut show in the country.

art and culture Updated: Feb 01, 2011 14:01 IST
Megha Mahindru

South Mumbai’s famous gallery spaces were always hubs for the city’s wine-sipping, cheese-nibbling art frat. But as of last month, the culture vultures trekked to Mehboob Studio in the suburbs, where celebrated sculptor Anish Kapoor put up his debut show in the country.

This week, one of the most anticipated gigs of the year, The Mahindra Blues Festival, will be hosted at the same venue. “Mehboob Studio has an incredible amount of space. The two main studios we have chosen can accommodate more than 2,000 people,” says organiser VG Jairam of Oranjuice Entertainment.

“The studio is being designed specifically to create a blues-like atmosphere, with three separate stages for multiple concerts,” he adds. Built in 1955, the studio at Bandra has seen the shooting of classics like Mr & Mrs 55 as well as founder Mehboob Khan’s blockbuster, Mother India. The city’s lack of roomy spaces has made the iconic Bollywood studio, with ceilings that are 40 feet tall, one of the most favoured locations for live shows.

“We opened up to host events in November 2010, with Anish’s exhibition, and will now continue to host shows at the venue,” says Iqbal Khan, managing director at the studio. “This year will see a lot more besides film and ad shoots at Mehboob. The studio is centrally located and attracts a lot of crowd, so it makes sense to offer this spacious venue to more than just film shootings,” he adds.

After a decade spent looking for an ideal space to host Anish Kapoor’s debut exhibition, the artist and his team zeroed in on the studio. “Anish is known for his larger-than-life sculptures. We were looking for a space big enough to accommodate the pieces and there was no close second to choose from,” says director of British Council, Sam Harvey.

When asked why the sculptor chose this unconventional venue for his exhibition, Kapoor had replied, “My concern was to make my art work engage with the space. For me, the space dictates the show. Mehboob Studio belongs to Mumbai. It’s a part of the history of the city. I couldn’t have chosen a venue more apt.”