India: Bollywood Art Project - the glory days of Indian cinema on the streets of Bombay

A collection of sometimes larger-than-life street art celebrating the glory days of Bollywood.

Why visit? 
Bombay is the home of Bollywood, the world's most prolific movie industry, churning out some 20 flix a week.  

So it's only appropriate that the city finally pays homage to the cultural icons of the city's glorious film history. 

The Bollywood Art Project started in 2012 creating larger-than-life murals of Bollywood legends. Its lofty aim is to transform the walls in Bombay into a living memorial to Bollywood. Go check them out.   

In the suburb of Bandra. To more specific, the area around Ranwar Village, a heritage area chock-full of street art.  Map. 
You can read more about Ranwar Village and its art here.

BOLLYWOOD ART PROJECT (B.A.P) started with the vision of one man: Ranjit Dahiya. After arriving in Bombay in 2008 he was surprised that one of the city's biggest icons, Bollywood, didn't have much of a visual presence. So he decided to do something about it. 

B.A.P. could have put up some sufficiently humongous lettering, like Hollywood did, but Bombay lacks the appropriate hills. But the city has no shortage of ugly facades that could do with a lick of paint. Being trained as a graphic artist, and having worked as a painter of movie signs for cinemas, Mr Dahiya soon found his creative mojo. 
There was no better location to do so than Bandra. This wealthy suburb is home to Bollywood's royalty, including the world's biggest movie star, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK for intimi) as well as several Bollywood princelings, like Salman Khan. Both Khans live within spitting distance of B.A.P art works.  

B.A.P. set up shop in Ranwar Village, a heritage area with a burgeoning street art culture, which really needed its own article, which you can find hereThe legendary Mehboob Studios, where many an extra toiled for hours, hoping for a brief brush with fame, are just across the road.

Start at Chapel Rd, where the first mural appeared, a burst of colour and Bollywood iconography in the middle of rickety old houses.  
As you roam the narrow lanes of Ranwar Village (dodging death-dealing motorbikes and rabid rickshaw drivers) you'll come across plenty of other artworks, including this recent mural of Manjhi - The Mountain Man, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Jesus H. Christ. 
Manjhi, looking like he's about to be crucified.
Closer to SRK's home on Bandstand you will find a mural of a languid Amitabh Bachchan in his younger days, looking like a sensual cowboy, well before he sold his soul flogging cement on Indian TV

Just around the corner is a yellow and blue tribute to Rajesh Khanna, Bollywood's first superstar (don't take my word for it: that's what the mural claims.)

See? We're not making this up. 
The latest addition (as of March 2016) is another mural of Amitabh Bachchan, as the Christian Anthony Gonsalves from the 1977 blockbuster 'Amar Akbar Anthony', is appropriately placed next to Mt Mary's Church. 
The Big B again. Photo by Shaalu Wadhwa - Instagram: Shaalutini
If you're coming to Bandra by car from South Bombay, you surely can't miss B.A.P.'s biggest work so far. India's largest mural towers over what passes for a highway as well as what's euphemistically known as an affordable housing area. It's a 40m tall tribute to Dadasaheb Phalke, the grand daddy of Indian cinema, on a giant Technicolor yellow background. (There's a great, vertigo-inducing video.) 
Welcome to Bandra, welcome to B.A.P.

Getting there: 
You can get to Bandra by train or car from South Bombay. Once there, start at Ranwar Village and Chapel Road, between Hill Rd and Mt Carmel Rd. The murals of Amitabh B. and Rajesh K. are at the corner of Bandstand and Pereira Rd. Say 'hi' to SRK if you run into him- he lives just down the street. 

Useful links:
The official B.A.P. Facebook page.
Suitcase of Stories on B.A.P.


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