Bandra’s street art: Bollywood on the walls

Mumbai and Bollywood are synonymous with one another for many people. I have lost track of the number of times people have only wanted to talk about films and Bollywood with me, once they found out I was from Mumbai.

Yes, Mumbai is the birthplace of Indian cinema, all Hindi film production houses and studios are located here, all Hindi film stars live in Mumbai, etc…  And yet, there is a remarkable lack of initiatives to document its journey. Sure, there are books, some half-hearted attempts at tours of the Film City, product designs with Bollywood as the theme, and so on… but these are individual, isolated efforts.

One such effort is the Bollywood Art Project (B.A.P), “an urban art initiative that aims to transform the walls in Mumbai into a living memorial to Bollywood”. Founded in 2012 by artist Ranjit Dahiya, B.A.P aims to “pay tribute to Indian cinema through street art”.

I saw my first B.A.P artwork about a year back late one evening on an organised walk around Bandra. All the light in the dimly lit Chapel Road area came from this smile. I know, I sound clichéd like many of the paeans sung about her. But it is true. Madhubala is gorgeous and there can be no one like her.

Bollywood Art Project, Bandra, Mumbai

For some reason, I never wrote about that excellent walk I went on, though I kept meaning to. And when I saw more Bollywood-based murals recently during one of my visits to Bandra last month, I knew I couldn’t delay writing about them any longer.

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My ‘now’ song: Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi woh barsaat ki raat

Do you ever have a song, an idea, a storyline, or an image stuck in your head? And it just refuses to go away? For sometime at least. I have this with music—it could be a song, an instrumental piece, a jingle, etc. This becomes my ‘now song, and the ‘nowness’ (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.

My ‘now’ song is Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi woh barsaat ki raat from the 1960 Hindi film Barsaat ki Raat.

I prefer Lata Mangeshkar’s version (featured above) to Mohammad Rafi’s, arguably more popular, version. To me, Lata’s angst-filled voice just reaches out and envelops you in a kind of bittersweet longing, not just for love, but beautiful memories, relationships…