Set in a Bungalow

2021

A large porch, wooden stairways and a regal facade are the only constant features of Tehmi Terrace, a bungalow at Turner Road in Bandra, Mumbai.

A large porch, wooden stairways and a regal facade are the only constant features of Tehmi Terrace, a bungalow at Turner Road in Bandra, Mumbai. For, it goes in for a makeover turning into a dilapidated lodging, a shop, a temple or a snazzy apartment for every film or ad that is shot in it. It's been like this for the owners of the house, since 1984, when they first rented it for the shooting of an ad of Dhaara oil. Heta Pandit, who lives in one part of the house along with her husband and mother, says, "My mother was approached by a friend of hers who was working with an advertising firm. She wasn't quite sure at first, but then she thought why not," says Pandit, who has no regrets about that decision, and has rented out the premises for the shooting of films such as Kalyug (1981), Badmaash Company (2010), and Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap (2011).

The use of bungalows as sets of Bollywood films began in the '60s, when filmmakers needed ready locations for shoots, but the studios did not have the dates for them. Among the early directors, Bimal Roy is considered to be instrumental in hiring bungalows for shoots. The Gold Mist Bungalow, at Carter Road, was his favourite, where he shot at least a portion of each of his films. The trend peaked in the '80s and '90s, when directors opted for houses over studios for shootings in order to cut costs. It was then that a number of "shoot bungalows" began emerging, and many of them are sought-after even today. Most of them came up on the Madh-Marve Road, which is lined with many a filmi bungalow Poonawala bungalow, Nair Bungalow, Kumar Villa and Bassein Nest. "Filmmakers back then loved shooting near the sea. That's why these bungalows along the coast became popular among them," says Chetan Shah, accountant of Poonawala Bungalow, whose large hall and long window panes take us back to good old 1989, when Salman Khan serenaded Bhagyashree in the song Aaja shaam hone aayi, in Maine Pyar Kiya (1989). Directors consider the bungalow to be a lucky charm as both Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan started their careers here with Deewana (1992) and Maine Pyar Kiya respectively here. Incidentally, Shah Rukh Khan's house Mannat, which was earlier called Villa Vienna, was also used in many films, including Tezaab and Bombay, before the actor moved in.

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