The Indian film industry, often referred to as Bollywood, is renowned for its grandeur and opulence. It’s a world where dreams are woven into the fabric of celluloid, and the sets play a pivotal role in bringing those dreams to life. But what really goes on behind the scenes, and what are the most extravagant and expensive movie sets ever constructed in the Indian film industry? In this article, we embark on a journey to explore the glitz, glamour, and sheer extravagance of the cinema industry in India. From the larger-than-life sets of Bollywood to the awe-inspiring creations in the South Indian film industry, we delve into the top 10 movie sets that have left audiences spellbound.

1. Mughal-e-Azam (1960) – The Taj Mahal Set 

Mughal-e-Azam, directed by K. Asif, is a timeless classic that left an indelible mark on Indian cinema. One of the most iconic sets in the film was the recreation of the Taj Mahal. This monumental set was meticulously designed and constructed to capture the essence of this architectural wonder. The attention to detail was astounding, and the set became a testament to the film’s dedication to historical accuracy. It is said that this set alone accounted for a significant portion of the film’s budget, making it one of the most expensive movie sets in Indian film history.

2. Bahubali: The Beginning (2015) – The Mahishmati Kingdom 

The South Indian film industry, particularly the Telugu and Tamil industries, is no stranger to creating extravagant movie sets. Bahubali: The Beginning, directed by S.S. Rajamouli, took this tradition to new heights. The film’s portrayal of the majestic Mahishmati Kingdom left audiences in awe. The sets, including the colossal waterfall and the intricately designed palace, were nothing short of breathtaking. The sheer scale and attention to detail pushed the boundaries of Indian cinema, making Bahubali one of the most visually stunning films ever made.

3. Padmavat (2018) – Chittorgarh Fort 

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for his extravagant and visually stunning films, and Padmavat was no exception. The film’s centerpiece was the grand Chittorgarh Fort set, a marvel of set design and craftsmanship. The fort’s intricate architecture, with its towering walls and majestic courtyards, was meticulously recreated. The set not only served as a backdrop but also as a character in the film, contributing significantly to the narrative’s grandeur. The attention to detail and the use of real materials made the Chittorgarh Fort set one of the costliest movie sets in Indian cinema history.

4. Mohenjo Daro (2016)

Ashutosh Gowariker’s “Mohenjo Daro” transported audiences to the ancient Indus Valley civilization. To achieve historical accuracy, a massive set was constructed, replicating the city of Mohenjo Daro. The attention to detail in recreating the streets, houses, and public spaces of the ancient city was remarkable. The set’s sheer size and complexity made it one of the most expensive ever built in the Indian film industry, reflecting the commitment to authenticity in storytelling.

5. Jodhaa Akbar (2008) – Agra Fort 

Jodhaa Akbar, another epic historical drama directed by Ashutosh Gowariker, featured a remarkable recreation of the Agra Fort. This iconic Indian monument was brought to life on a grand scale, with elaborate courtyards, towering gates, and intricate palaces. The set’s grandeur and historical accuracy were pivotal in immersing the audience in the love story of Emperor Akbar and Jodhaa. Constructing and maintaining such an expansive set was a significant financial endeavor, contributing to the film’s overall budget.

6. Devdas (2002) – Chandramukhi’s Courtesan Mansion 

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas, starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai, and Madhuri Dixit, is celebrated for its opulent sets and costumes. One of the standout sets in the film was Chandramukhi’s Courtesan Mansion. The set was a visual extravaganza, with ornate interiors, intricate artwork, and lavish detailing that transported the audience to the world of courtesans in 19th-century India. The set’s extravagance contributed significantly to the film’s production costs, but it also played a crucial role in establishing the film’s aesthetic appeal.

7. Dhoom 3 (2013) – The Circus 

Dhoom 3, a high-octane action film directed by Vijay Krishna Acharya, featured a jaw-dropping circus set. The film’s plot revolved around a circus, and the set was designed to accommodate breathtaking acrobatic performances and daring stunts. The attention to detail in replicating a real circus, complete with a massive tent, trapeze acts, and a Ferris wheel, was nothing short of remarkable. Creating and maintaining such an elaborate set, along with the complex action sequences filmed within it, significantly added to the film’s budget.

8. Robo (2010) – The Enthiran Set 

The science fiction blockbuster Robo, directed by S. Shankar, featured a futuristic and visually stunning set known as the Enthiran set. This massive construction included high-tech laboratories, underground facilities, and a cutting-edge robo assembly line. The set’s design and execution were on par with international standards, setting a new benchmark for Indian cinema. The creation of such a technologically advanced and visually captivating set was a costly endeavor, contributing to the film’s status as one of the most expensive Indian productions at the time.

9. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) – The Waterfall Sequence 

Continuing the legacy of Bahubali: The Beginning, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion featured yet another astonishing set, the Waterfall Sequence. This breathtaking set was designed to capture the grandeur of a cascading waterfall, where pivotal action scenes and dramatic moments unfolded. The sheer scale of the set, coupled with the intricate choreography required for the sequences, pushed the film’s budget to new heights. The Waterfall Sequence set is a testament to the South Indian film industry’s commitment to delivering visual spectacles on an epic scale.

10. Bajirao Mastani (2015) – The Shaniwar Wada Palace 

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Bajirao Mastani showcased the grandeur of the Maratha Empire and featured a magnificent recreation of the Shaniwar Wada Palace. The set, with its ornate architecture, sprawling courtyards, and majestic interiors, served as a pivotal location for the film’s narrative. The attention to detail in replicating the historical palace was awe-inspiring, and it played a significant role in transporting the audience to the 18th century. The construction and maintenance of such a regal set added substantially to the film’s budget, making it one of the costliest movie sets in Indian cinema.

Conclusion 

The Indian film industry, encompassing Bollywood and the South Indian film industry, has a rich history of creating extravagant and visually stunning movie sets. These sets are not just backdrops but integral components that contribute to the cinematic experience. From historical recreations like the Taj Mahal in Mughal-e-Azam to futuristic worlds in Robot, these sets have pushed the boundaries of creativity and craftsmanship.

The cost of constructing and maintaining these sets often represents a significant portion of a film’s budget. However, the investment is justified as these sets transport audiences to different eras, worlds, and fantasies, creating unforgettable cinematic experiences. These 10 movie sets stand as testaments to the dedication and artistry of the Indian movie industry, showcasing its ability to turn dreams into reality on the silver screen.