Famous was the first Mumbai studio I visited back in 1962 when I was sent here for a six-month apprenticeship from the Bangalore Polytechnic. This was before I received my diploma.
I got off at Mahalaxmi railway station and asked a waiting cabbie where Famous Studio was. He vaguely pointed me in the right direction and I started walking.
Suddenly, I heard someone shout out loud and turned back to see the cab trailing me.
The cabbie motioned me to get in and dropped me off outside the studio, but refused to accept the fare, completely exploding my misconception that Mumbai was a city of cheats and thieves. That act of kindness I will always associate with Famous!
While I was waiting for the manager to arrive, my eyes were drawn to the shooting floor. Every time the door opened, I felt a draft of cold air. Back then, it was the only studio that was air-conditioned. They were filming the Pradeep Kumar-Nirupa Roy period love story, Taj Mahal, at the time.
Over the next six months, I would request cinematographers to let me hang out at the shoots. G Singh was obliging and thanks to him I got to see the famous title track from Mere Mehboob being picturised on Rajendra Kumar and Sadhana.
When I heard that the property was being re-developed, my first thought was: “Oh my God, let them not raze Famous. Today, you can do so much at a sprawling studio... shoot commercials, TV shows, host live events. Famous has post-production facilities and a preview theatre too. Let it stay so I can continue to sing ‘Mere mehboob...’
(As told to Roshmila Bhattacharya)