By Robin Bansal
Mumbai, May 28 (IANS) If you're in India's entertainment capital and in showbiz too, then it's not hard to tell whether you are a Bollywood celebrity or a television actor or a struggler - just by knowing which part of town you live in.
While stars can afford to live in the posh lanes of Bandra and Juhu, the amateurs share cheaper rented apartments in Oshiwara and Lonkhandwala in Andheri West.
"Most of the established celebrities stay in areas like Bandra, Vile Parle and Juhu because these are posh areas. While upcoming actors prefer Lokhandwala, strugglers, TV and small-time movie actors hub around Oshiwara," Divakar Shetty of D.S. Estates told IANS.
Added Suresh Wadhwani of Sunville Agencies: "But the star presence in Bandra is only restricted till Carter Road and Pali Hill and not beyond that."
Superstars like Shah Rukh Khan, Dilip Kumar (Pali Hill), Salman (Galaxy Apartments, Bandstand), Jackie, Sanjay Dutt etc stay in Bandra, "which is the highest priced place in Mumbai, both on lease and outright sale because of its star value and prime location," said Shetty.
Other big names like Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Dev Anand and Mahesh Bhatt live in Santa Cruz and Juhu.
While Shetty has had a clientele of celebrities like Aishwarya Rai, Salman Khan, Jackie Shroff and singer Shaan, Wadhwani has helped finalise deals for John Abraham, Sarika who recently moved here and artists from Balaji Telefilms.
Shetty says actors' house preference is influenced by the traffic status.
"Celebrities avoid south Mumbai. Lokhandwala is in fact becoming a new place where stars are moving in because it's close to the main road (SV Road), making it accessible to different studios. Asin (Thottumkal of 'Ghajini' fame) recently bought a flat there (Green Acres). Sridevi already lives there among others," he said.
Wadhwani told IANS: "Most of the industry is located in west Mumbai, especially the Mhada colony, SVP Nagar, therefore celebrities prefer Lokhandwala because it's spacious, upcoming and in close vicinity of studios. Even hi-fi builders like the Oberois etc are coming up with independent penthouses there.
"Newcomers prefer Andheri West because of its close proximity to various production and editing houses. These areas also have multiple recruitment agencies and offices as well as a lot of dancing and acting schools."
Stars like John Abraham and Bipasha Basu also have their flats in Andheri West. Other areas that suit the pockets of newcomers are Malad West, Jogeshwari and Goregaon, said Abhishek Jain, an upcoming actor.
Shetty says nowadays apartments are getting preference over bungalows because of security reasons.
"Most celebrities go for four-five bedroom flats in societies because bungalows have security problems. For example, Sunil Dutt and Amjad Khan's bungalows on Pali Hill were brought down to rebuild towers, which have more than 10 floors."
Wadhwani said there is a shortage of bungalows in Mumbai.
"Builders are now in fact constructing duplex flats and celebrities buy two or three and join them together to make a massive penthouse kind of thing," he said.
"In case of bungalows the cost depends upon the area and the class of the building - it starts at anything around Rs.35,000 per sq.ft. for an existing one."
While flats in Lokhandwala vary from anything between Rs.20,000 and 25,000 per sq ft, row-houses (bungalows) Rs.15,000 to Rs.20,000 per sq ft, non-row houses around Rs.10,000 per sq ft and normal residences cost around Rs.12,000-15,000 per sq.ft.
A 1BHK rented apartment in Andheri West costs around Rs.17,000 per month while in Goregaon, Jogeshwari and Malad, it's close to Rs.15,000. In Andheri East, it is available for anywhere around Rs.12,000 a month.
"But most of these flats are rented on sharing basis because one person cannot afford the exorbitant rents," said Abhishek Jain.
Considering star tantrums, do the actors pay on time?
"Payment wise the celebrities are very good. Some people do try to act smart but in the end it all gets sorted out," said Shetty.
(Robin Bansal can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)