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Behind the Scenes of Bollywood’s Favorite Haunted Location: Mukesh Mills – Moon Mausoleum

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In an old textile mill, the Bollywood film crews moved into the Mukesh Mills after a devastating fire closed it down. But soon, stories from those filming movies there started telling haunted stories, and how actresses were possessed by something that warned them about staying in the mills. 

Bollywood has always had a fascination with the supernatural and the paranormal. And when it comes to haunted locations, there’s one place that has captured the imagination of filmmakers and audiences alike. Located in the heart of Mumbai, Mukesh Mills has been the setting for some of Bollywood’s most iconic Horror movies. But what’s the story behind this eerie location? What makes it so appealing to filmmakers? And is there any truth to the rumors of paranormal activity? 

History of Mukesh Mills

The Mills of Girangaon, integral to Mumbai’s economy during British colonial times when the city was dubbed the “Manchester of the East,” saw a steady decline as newer industries emerged in the area. In the 19th century, India exported and reimported cotton, but escalating costs led to the founding of the Indian cotton industry, with the first mill, “The Bombay Spinning Mill,” established in 1854.

Initially, Indian entrepreneurs led this industry, facing opposition from Lancashire mill owners, which was later offset by British textile machinery manufacturers’ support. These mills were mainly owned and managed by Indians, with initial investments from mill owners’ families and later, public shares. 

Muljibhai Madhvani, the Owner of East African Hardware Ltd., had established a large factory in Bombay. Some say it was the East India Company that set it up in 1870s. It was known as Mukesh Textile Mills. Mukesh Mills, situated in Colaba, Mumbai, was originally known as the Colaba Mill and was established in the late 1800s or early 1900s as the sole mill in South Bombay, strategically located by the sea. 

Initially, it was prosperous, contributing to the cotton export trade between Bombay and Britain. Unfortunately, labor disputes, the 1929 Bombay Mill Workers’ Strike, outsourcing to Japan and the aftermath of World War II caused a decline in the mills, with Mukesh Mills shutting down in 2000.

The Fire of Mukesh Mills

The mill was renovated in 1975, but it wasn’t long before tragedy struck. Mukesh Mills faced a tragic event when a devastating fire in 1982 led to the deaths of numerous workers and the mill’s abandonment. Just how many workers is unclear. Some sites even stated around a thousand, but the claims are unsubstantiated. 

The owners of the mill had applied for closure, but were denied it by the government. On the 18th of January that year they closed it after a year long strike of the mill. A few months later though the fire broke out with devastating consequences. 

After the mill was shut down, the property was left abandoned for many years and they never found the exact cause of the fire. The decaying buildings and overgrown vegetation gave the place an eerie and haunted look, which caught the attention of filmmakers. In the years that followed, Mukesh Mills became a popular location for Bollywood movies, especially Horror flicks.

Mukesh Mills in Bollywood

Mukesh Mills has been the setting for some of Bollywood’s most iconic Horror movies. From the classic “Mahal” starring Madhubala to the contemporary hit “Raaz” starring Bipasha Basu, the mill has been a favorite haunt of filmmakers, especially in the 1990s. Its dilapidated buildings, overgrown vegetation, and abandoned machinery provide the perfect backdrop for Horror movies.

Mukesh Hill: Now the place is mainly used as a movie set for Bollywood productions or as a place that attracts paranormal seekers. //Source: Flickr

Apart from Horror movies, Mukesh Mills has also been used in other Bollywood movies such as “Salaam-e-Ishq” and “Talaash.” The mill’s unique look and feel have made it a favorite location for filmmakers who want to add a touch of mystery and intrigue to their movies.

Haunted stories and legends associated with Mukesh Mills

Over the years, Mukesh Mills has gained a reputation for being haunted. There are many stories and legends associated with the mill, which have only added to its allure. One watchman once claimed to have heard music and voices coming from the mill, but there was no one there that day. When he saw someone smoking, he didn’t dare to enter it in case he would come face to face with a malevolent ghost. Most of these stories come from the film crews and actresses that have been at the place to shoot.

Prime Video: Footpath
Haunted Bollywood: The movie Footpath is said to be one of the movies were they experienced something supernatural on set.

According to these stories there was one actress’s voice that suddenly changed, grew hoarse and manly and she started shouting to the crew members and warning them that they had to stay away from the mill. The director thought she had to be possessed by an evil spirit and the entire crew got out of there fast. 

In 2003, the actress Bipasha Basu was shooting a scene for her film Footpath. She felt like something was hindering her when she tried to walk over the room and say her lines. They performed a puja, a hindu prayer, to ward off the evil spirits. But it didn’t seem to work as they shot the scene at another location instead.

There is also a story of a child actor being possessed by something when shooting a scene. The child started to act strange and rolled on the ground with her hands behind her back. And although the possession lasted only a couple of seconds, the fear of those that witnessed it lasted for much longer. It is said that all the company present started crying and screaming, but the father of the child assured that she would return to normal as soon as they were far away from the mills. 

But what spirits are haunting this place? According to some people, the mill is haunted by the ghosts of the workers who died in accidents or due to poor working conditions. Some say it is a man that is now a restless spirit. 

The Lingering Ghosts at Mukesh Mills

Mukesh Mills is a hauntingly beautiful location that has captured the imagination of filmmakers and audiences alike, although from 2019, the location was shut down because the building’s structure was too weak and unsafe. Its dilapidated buildings, overgrown vegetation, and abandoned machinery provide the perfect backdrop for Horror movies and photographs. But beyond its spooky reputation, Mukesh Mills is also a testament to Mumbai’s rich industrial history and a must-visit destination for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts. 

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