An emotional loss: RK Studio up for sale

Aditi Saraswat 

The legendary and iconic R K Studio is up for sale and it has come up as shock for many including the entire Bollywood fraternity and the Kapoor fans. This decision, however has left the Kapoor family and fans of the late legendary actor Raj Kapoor disheartened. But the men of the house, Rishi Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor think that it is the need of the hour to sell the studio which produced blockbuster films like Awaara (1951), Shree 420 (1955), Mera Naam Joker (1970) and Bobby (1973) among many others.

Bollywood showman Raj Kapoor’s RK Studio is now ready for sale as Kapoor family jointly took a decision to sell the ancient property situated in Chembur. After the tragic fire took place in the studio, many important assets of the studio got burnt in the fire.

A few months ago, a major fire broke out at RK Studios on the sets of reality TV show Super Dancer 2. Though there were no casualties reported, invaluable RK Films memorabilia including costumes worn by actors such as Vyjanthimala, Nargis and Aishwarya Rai were destroyed. After the massive fire accident, Kapoor family thought of renovating the studio but they didn’t find it an economically viable option.


R. K. Films is a film production company, based in R. K. Studio , a film studio both established by and named after the Bollywood actor Raj Kapoor, situated  at Chembur, Mumbai. It was founded in 1948, one year after India gained independence. It had a rough start, as its first movie, Aag (1948) did not perform well at the box office. Most of the R.K. Films productions share a common theme of criticizing society and depicting love across social divide.The Kapoor clan, which has taken up acting and film making for generations, is undoubtedly a creator of one of Bollywood's biggest legacies. Part of that legacy is when actor-director-producer Raj Kapoor established the RK Studio in 1948, which since became the shooting venue for a number of iconic films.This studio has seen success and failures of many films and actors. It has witnessed the highs and lows of the film industry.
The major blockbuster hits that were shooted here are:

AAWARA (1951)
SHRI420 (1951)
BOBBY (1973)
PREM ROG (1982)
HEENA (1991)

From Nargis to Lalita Pawar to Madhuri Dixit many other legendary actresses  have been a part of this iconic place.Some of its movies such as Prem Rog, Ram Teri Ganga Maili ,Heena,Bobby etc .,went super duper hits. Awaara was particularly successful, not just in India, but all over the world. Many R.K. Films movies featured Kapoor opposite actress Nargis. Kapoor appeared in 15 R.K. films with Nargis and traveled around the world with her to promote the studio's films. The music team of Shankar Jaikishan also worked frequently on R.K. Films productions during this period. Starting with Awaara, Radhu Karmakar shot all of Raj Kapoor's subsequent films for four decades, till his last, Ram Teri Ganga Maili In the 70s, Randhir Kapoor joined his father at the studio, and made his acting and directorial debut with Kal Aaj Aur Kal , which also starred his future wife Babita, father Raj Kapoor and grandfather Prithviraj Kapoor. He went on to direct two more films with the company Dharam Karam and an incomplete film left by Raj Kapoor, which he completed after his father's death in 1988 and Henna (1991). His brother Shashi Kapoor also appeared in several R.K. films. When Raj Kapoor died in 1988, Randhir took over the studio. His younger brother Rajiv Kapoor directed Prem Granth and Rishi Kapoor directed Aa Ab Laut Chalen . Herafter, the Kapoors have produced no more films under the R.K. Films banner. Unlike other Bollywood studios of the time period, R.K. Films was able to preserve all the costumes used in its films.

On 16 September 2017, RK studio has caught fire and collapsed as of now. A massive fire broke out in the studio during the shoot of a television reality show and the studio was engulfed in fire.The Kapoor family has decided to sell the iconic RK Films and Studios, which was built by legendary actor Raj Kapoor nearly 70 years ago, due to growing losses. Located in Chembur, the studio was in the news September last year after a major fire broke out, leaving the place gutted.

Speaking to Mumbai Mirror, Rishi Kapoor spoke on behalf of the family and said: "The investment in rebuilding the studio would just not have yielded sufficient revenue to keep it going. Even before the fire, for years RK Studio had become a huge white elephant, toting up losses."He mentioned that the number of bookings had decreased substantially over the years with producers preferring studios near Goregaon and Andheri. Being part of the Eastern suburbs, Chembur was no longer seen as a lucrative shooting space, like it was back in the 40s and 50s. The Kapoors even considered renovating the whole space with cutting edge technology; however, the fire last year made their plans to revive the studios even more unrealistic.The handful of clients using the studios had started demanding free parking space, air-conditioning and discounts, claims Rishi Kapoor, which had further added to the losses.The handful of clients using the studios had started demanding free parking space, air-conditioning and discounts, claims Rishi, which had further added to the losses.

Continuing the legacy of the family as a successful actress Kreena Kapoor Khan was quoted saying ,”it is very sad and disheartening for anyone to sell away their home.It is like a home for everyone of us.We,all  the brothers and sisters have grown up moving and walking around the corridors here.”However she further said that whatever the decision will be taken by the men of the house it will be agreed by all.

Another actor of this legendary family Randhir  Kapoor said” With the state of the roads and traffic today, no actor comes to Chembur to shoot in this studio. They would rather go to Film City. So, with a very heavy heart, we have decided to let it go. My whole family is very sad, but there’s no other way. It’s not economically viable for us to set up a new studio. We had to dismantle the entire place after the fire. It’s, even more, an emotional loss than a monetary loss. We have lost the entire memorabilia of Raj Kapoor. Whatever Raj Kapoor had built has been burnt down everything is gone”.

A team employed by the family has initiated the negotiations for the sale of the premises. the price at which RK Studio may get sold then it likely to be sold at Rs 500 crore as the rate of the 2-acre plot in Chembur is the same. After all, Chembur incidentally is one of the largest suburbs in eastern Mumbai. As per sources, a realtor who deals in plot sales in the Chembur area says that a 2-acre plot in a residential area in the suburb could at the current rates fetch around Rs 500 crore to the seller. After the massive fire, Kapoor family thought of renovating the studio but they didn’t find it an economically viable option.

Though it is not confirmed by the Kapoor family at which price they are selling the RK Studio, it is very sad for the Indian film industry for losing a place that was once a prime location for shooting.

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