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Ambani brothers join the race to develop Film City Turning Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari into Universal Studios-like entertainment park

February 16, 2019 05:42 AM


Ambani brothers join the race to develop Film City
Turning Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari into Universal Studios-like entertainment park
Representatives from their firms met officials recently. A total of three contenders in the fray for Rs 2,600-cr project
| Shruti.Ganapatye@timesgroup.com
TWEETS @Shruti_Mirror

The Ambani brothers, Mukesh and Anil, have separately expressed interest in transforming Film City, Goregaon, into a mega tourist attraction on the lines of Universal Studios in Los Angeles. It’s a Rs 2,600-crore project and so far, three entities, including the two tycoons’ companies, are in the fray. Bhanot Infra Venture (BIV) is the third firm.

Representatives of Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited, Anil’s Reliance Big Entertainment, and BIV attended a pre-bidding meeting in December. Mirror has a copy of the minutes of this conference.

The final date to bid for the Maharashtra government’s project is February 28. Officials of Film City, formally known as Dadasaheb Phalke Chitranagari, expect the process to go off smoothly despite the prospect of a high-profile clash between the Ambani brothers.

Film City’s managing director, Jayashree Bhoj, confirmed the participation of the three companies in the pre-bidding phase. “They have shown interest, sending us some queries about the project. The project clearing committee headed by the chief state secretary then held a meeting and approved some of the questions and made changes in the draft,” Bhoj said. “Once the bids are submitted, we will assess technical qualification and financial eligibility (of the companies) before awarding the project. It will take four to six months to award the project.”

The state had floated a global tender for the Film City revamp in July 2018. The over 521-acre place currently houses some studios, one of which is owned by an Anil Ambani firm. The government wants to convert it into a worldclass tourist complex with theme parks, food courts, a five-star hotel, dormitories, a museum and an amphitheatre, apart from eight village locations, 42 outdoor locations, post-production facilities and film training institutes.

According to the documents accessed by Mirror, Reliance Industries Limited has said that SRA development should not be a part of the revamp and the total cost. The state has clarified that SRA has nothing to do with the project. The company has also sought clarifications on permissions needed from the environment ministry, the traffic police and the civil aviation ministry, and demanded FSI of one to be utilised at the project site without restriction.

Reliance Big Entertainment has requested information about the rehabilitation of tribal hamlets in the area, and enquired whether it can bring in an alternative power supply company. It also wants to know if it will be allowed to make changes at the site through land filling, levelling and breaking hillocks, and whether it will offer concessions to the Marathi film industry for renting studios and shooting. Curiously, the company has asked if the successful bidder’s operations at Film City will be covered under the Right to Information Act.

When Mirror contacted RIL, an official said the queries should be emailed. However, the company later did not respond to the reporter’s mail. The public relations officer of Reliance Big Entertainment did not respond to phone calls and text messages.


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