Chandivali “Studio,” as it is known, began its journey in 1940 when Chandrarao Kadam purchased a large parcel of land at Chandivali, near Powai Lake in Mumbai, India. His idea was to create multiple and diverse filming locations in one place, use them for shooting his own films but also make these locations available to other film producers. This innovative concept was unprecedented in the Indian movie industry and became a template that many others would follow. It took Mr. Kadam nearly four years to clear and level the existing forestland and a lifetime to create and develop the parcel’s various themed areas. Chandivali Outdoor Location opened for business in 1944. Over the ensuing three quarters of a century it has witnessed innumerable success stories of films and television serials and has been a second home to famous film and TV stars, directors, producers and technicians.
What prompted Chandrarao Kadam to begin this career journey? He was born in 1901 in Bhuj, Kutch, and originally followed in his father’s footsteps to become a gymnastics coach. At the age of 17, he was adept in Malkhamb, single- and parallel-bars and mastered the art of akhada and drunkard wire walking. His skills earned him a job as a circus performer where he became an instant hit. Having been bitten by the glamour and glitter of showbiz, in spite of opposition from his parents, in 1928, Chandrarao boarded a ship to Mumbai with only Rs.25 in his pocket.
After struggles that many artists experience, he worked as an extra in some films and eventually made it as actor and hero. After initial success in silent films (Kanak Kesari, Azad Veer, Atishe ishq, Fauladi Pahalwan) and talking films (Pyari Katar, Daulat), he ventured into the magical world of film production. He started Chandrarao Art Productions and produced, directed, and acted in several films such as Fauladi Jigar, Daivi Khazana, Bahadur Kisan, Junge-e-Azadi, and Chalis Karod, to name a few. He played the role of “Tarzan” in his own movie, Himmat-e-Marda. Being a gymnast, his agility and physique served him well in this role. During the height of his film career, he worked with actors such as the unforgettable Lalita Pawar, Sunetra, Bhagwan Dada, and Hansa Wadkar. He was directed by eminent directors of those times like G. P. Pawar, Moti Gidwani, Dhirubhai Desai, S. M. Yusuf, Nanabhai Bhatt, Jayant Desai and Behran Vasani.
Just as the world has changed over the past 75 years of the Studio’s history, so too has the world of filmmaking. The Studio has seen significant changes in the past decades including increasing competition. Plus many movies that were at first shot at the Studio are now shot overseas. There has been an upswing, however, in Studio use for the making of TV serials such as Shaktimaan and Yeh Hain Mohabatein; and more recently, in the filming of increasingly popular web series such as Mirzapur. The Studio has also developed a reputation as a choice location for hosting weddings and corporate events over its five acres of gardens and existing sets such as a temple, village square, bungalows and open land for large scale fairs and events. Throughout its 75-year history, what has remained constant for the Studio is its purpose – providing a steadfast commitment to excellence and quality services to the entertainment industry, and helping the industry to flourish.
Chandivali Studio stands out today as Chandrarao Kadam’s illustrious legacy—a legacy that is cherished and continued today by his children and grandchildren. The Kadam family is proud to celebrate this milestone and extends a heartfelt “thank you” to the entertainment industry that has supported the Studio through the years!
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