Time to Visit:9 A.M. - 12 P.M. & 4 P.M. - 8 P.M.
Preferred Timings: The studios in Tollygunj are open from morning (9A.M.) onwards. Although it is best to hit the trail in the morning, you could also undertake the trip in the evening. Always insist your travel agent to take you to a studio where live shooting is going on.
Admission Fee: Your travel agent will charge you when you book a Tollywood trip.
How to Reach: Local buses, mini buses and metered taxis are readily available from various parts of the city. A great option is the highly efficient underground metro rail.
Photography / Video charges: Nil.
Nearest Railway Station: Howrah.
Nearest Metro Station: Tollygunj.
Nearest Functional Metro Station:Tollygunj.
Nearest International Airport: Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport.
Time required for sightseeing:Around 2 - 3 hours.
Not many are aware of the fact that India produces the largest number of films each year. While Mumbai continues to be the mecca of Indian filmdom, Kolkata or Tollywood is the primary production center for Bengali films.
With the advent of motion pictures in 1896 which was launched in Mumbai, the picture bug hit Kolkata as well. As far as motion pictures of Bengal are concerned, it was under the patronage of Hiralal Sen who went on produce numerous short duration films in Bengal.
Then came the Silent era and with the launch of Dadabhai Phalke's film on Raja Harishchandra, a sea change occurred in the Indian film industry. Bengal gradually beagn to make its presence felt and between 1930 -1952 the Bengali film industry began to prosper.
The fifties saw the meteoric rise of Bengali films not only in India but also on the world stage. Maverick film directors like Oscar winner Satyaji Ray, Ritwick Ghatak and Mrinal Sen took the world cinema by storm and firmly put Bengali films at the altar of filmdom.
The mere mention of Apu's Trilogy, Pather Panchali, Aparajito and many other Satyajit Ray masterpieces are forever etched in world cinema's hall of fame. Or for that matter, Mrinal Sen classics like Ek Din Pratdi, Khandar and Antareen which redefined the art of movie making in India.
After years of lull, primarily due to acute financial crisis which resulted in cheap and third rate production, one must admit that as of today, the much vaunted Bengali film industry has once again got its script right. The cameras are shooting at break neck speed and big time investments too are pouring in from movie financiers and even from the corporate world.
Of course, the resurgence of the Bengali film industry is not only driven by money. A crop of maverick and extremely talented directors like Aparna Sen, Gautam Ghosh, Ritparno Ghosh and others of their ilk have attracted national and international attention. For instance, Rituparno Ghosh's - "Choker Bali" wherein Bollywood princess Aishwariya Rai played a stellar role, won worldwide acclaim and adulation.
Given the fact that the tempo is hotting up at Tollywood with each passing day and the fact that there is such a lot of history associated with Bengal's film industry, it is only appropriate that tourists should make it a point to visit the elegant studios of Tollywood. Most travel agents and tour operators would be more than happy to design a tailor made itinerary that would enable you and your family to not only visit the studios but also provide you with opportunities to watch reel life adrenalin pumping fight scenes and the choreographed song and dance sequences.
Apart from experiencing the essence of Bengali films over the decades, what should inspire you further to embark on a trip to Tollywood is that you receive hands on experience of how a film is actually shot. There are occasions when you do have the chance to interact with the stars, costume designers, hair and skin care experts as well. And to top it all, you end up having a power packed celebrity lunch with the film stars.
If you have more than a passing interest on films, insist your travel agent to plan a trip to film maestro and India's only Oscar winning director Satyajit Ray's house at Bishop Lefroy Road which is now open to the discerning travelers.
Film launches/releases that take place amidst much hype and fanfare. Request your travel agent to coincide your trip to Tollywood when a new film is launched.
The Chowringhee-Park Street-Esplanade stretch is by far the most happening place in Kolkata and a wide variety of restaurants are located here where you can truly indulge in mouthwatering Bengali, Mughlai, Chinese, Italian and continental spread. A visit to Tangra, Kolkata's version of Chinatown is especially recommended which is an exclusive Chinese bastion in Kolkata and lots of authentic Chinese restaurants are available here. The Chinese delicacies available at Tangra are lip smacking good.
As far as traditional Bengali dishes are concerned, Peerless Inn and Oh! Calcutta are great options. Aminia, Rahmania and Shiraz are fabled for their Mughlai spread. Mainland China, Marco Polo, Chung Wah and Golden Dragon offer delicious Chinese cuisine. Drop in at Domino's at Russel Street and Pizza Hut at Camac Street for Italian delicacies.
Celebrity restaurants like Indian Cricket icon Saurav Ganguly's signature restaurant-Saurav's- The Food Pavilion is a top draw.
Barista, Café Coffee Day and Flury's are irresistible as far as beverages are concerned. A visit to Flury's is highly recommended which is one of Kolkata's most enduring Raj era restaurant. The ambience is very British and the service is of a very high standard.
Kolkata is a shopper's delight. The Park Street-Esplanade stretch has all kinds of shops selling everything from Tibetan Thangkas to Ray Ban goggles. The stretch from The Oberoi Grand located in Esplanade to Park Street is one of the most fashionable places to shop. The flea market is especially very popular with tourists. Baluchuri sarees and Vishnupur clay idols vie for attention alongside up market brands like Nike, Addidas, Westside and Pantaloons.
For handloom and handicraft items, The Cottage Industries Emporium at Chowringhee is well worth a visit. You could also explore New Market, Vardaan Market at Camac Street, Central Cottage Industries Emporium at 7, J. L. Nehru Road, Khadi Gramodyog Bhavan at 24, Chittaranjan Avenue, Priyadarshini at 14/C, Lindsay Street and Manjusha at 8/2 Jagamohan Mullick Lane, Barabazar. All of them offer a fabulous shopping experience.
Last Updated On: 2011/07/14