Bollywood's Filmistan studio up for sale

One of Bollywood's most famous film studios has been put up for sale, reports said on Tuesday, with the location in line to be turned into a residential or commercial complex.

Several newspapers said that the 4.5-acre (1.8-hectare) Filmistan Studio site in the Mumbai suburb of Goregaon, which produced hits in the golden age of the 1940s and 1950s, could be sold for up to six billion rupees ($131 million).

"It is a prime piece of property and we expect to get a good price for it," M.L. Gupta, vice-chairman and managing director of the site's joint owners, Kamanwala Housing Construction Limited, told the Hindustan Times newspaper.

But he denied a deal had been concluded with a major real estate firm.

The location began life as a production house set up by producer Shashadar Mukherjee and actor Ashok Kumar in 1943, becoming known as Filmistan Film Production.

It went on to make nearly 60 hit films, including "Nagin" (Snake), "Anarkali", "Shaheed" (Martyr) and "Shabnam".

The 14-set studio was sold to a mill owner in the late 1950s and has since been rented out to filmmakers.

The Times of India quoted sources as saying that the studio's owners had decided to sell because it was no longer financially viable.

Filmmaker Vipul Shah described the sale as an "emotional let-down", coming after two other vintage Bollywood studios - Kamalistan and Natraj Studio - were also sold in recent years.

"Every filmmaker worth his salt must have shot portions of their films, if not the entire movie, there. I feel sad that another landmark studio goes down," he told the Mumbai Mirror tabloid.

There was no immediate comment from the owners when contacted by AFP.

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