Shah Rukh Khan’s meteoric rise to fame in Bollywood and his dream of owning land in Mumbai is the stuff of legends. As is the story of Amitabh Bachchan’s accident on the sets of Coolie (1983), which had the entire country on the edge and praying for his fast recovery outside his bungalow in Juhu. Yes, star homes are at times as popular as their famous residents. And a Bollywood tour app that went live yesterday can take you on a self-guided walking tour down the bylanes of Bollywood and into a star’s life. Called Bollywood Star Homes, it has been created by Audio Compass, a company that in the past has come up tours like Footsteps of the Raj, a walking tour around Mumbai’s heritage district.
“We’ve tried to keep the tour practical and structured and it mostly concentrates around star homes in Bandra. So you start at the iconic Mehboob Studio, pass areas like Bandstand, Pali and end at Jalsa. Though it is a bit out of the way, we decided that you cannot have a Bollywood tour without Amitabh Bachchan in it,” says Gautam Shewakramani, CEO, Audio Compass. Bollywood insider Supreet Bedi is your guide as you learn about the stars, their lifestyles and the background stories. There are over 20 points of interest with approximately 60 minutes of multimedia content.
Apart from the top Bollywood stars of yesteryear and today, the tour also goes into the beginnings of the Hindi film industry, explains why it is such a big deal today and dispels rumours associated with some places.
“Like how a particular bungalow on Carter Road belongs to the Bachchans. This is an urban legend and there is no proof of it, so we say so. We also talk about Pali Hill’s history and how it became this glitzy neighbourhood and have stops at places like Olive Bar and Kitchen, a famous celebrity haunt, and Walk of the Stars at Bandstand,” says Shewakramani.
In the future, there are plans to tie up with travel agents to make the app more accessible. “They can then offer rented devices that run the app as well as offer transportation. We also want to come up with a Mumbai app that covers the entire city and has more star homes in it. It will be a mix of two-three tours that we offer,” says Shewakramani.
To get the app, just search for Bollywood Star Homes on the iTunes store on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch or the Google Play store from your Android Device. The tour is priced at Rs 100. It is also available as an iTunes MP3 album download, playable on any MP3 player or device and also includes an exclusive digital booklet and map. Touchscreen devices have maps with GPS functionality. The tours are available in Hindi and English for Android users.
Star homes you visit while on the tour include those of yesteryear stars like Rekha, Rajesh Khanna, Dilip and Saira Banu, among others. Today’s actors on the list include Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and Sanjay Dutt. The family homes of the Bachchans and Rishi, Neetu and Ranbir Kapoor can also be found here as is the residence of lyricist Gulzar.