Deccan Chronicle

The 10 most expensive movie sets ever built

Deccan Chronicle | DC Correspondent

Published on: October 16, 2015 | Updated on: Invalid date

With movies, filmmakers recreate eras, specific events and take us on an exciting journey. They build lavish sets in meticulous detail in order to give the illusion of the movie taking place in exotic or fantastic environments and locations. Whether it's Chandni Chowk, Switzerland or Mughal palaces, the sets make the movies look magnificent. Sanjay Leela Bhansali has recreated breathtakingly beautiful Aaina Mahal in his next 'Bajirao Mastani', we chronicle some of the most lavish sets made in Bollywood. 

One of the many reason we look forward to a Sanjay Bhansali film is his high-on-grandeur sets. One of the most highly praised aspects of the film 'Bajirao Mastani', is the astonishing visuals and ultra-realistic depiction of the scenery shown throughout. Visual mastery at its best, 'Bajirao Mastani' is definitely going to be one visual delight. 

Baahubali- The Beginning

SS Rajamouli's 'Baahubali' boasted about larger-than-life visuals. The scenic setting surrounding grand mountains and the intricate work in the props that donned the opulent palaces, crossed our expectations. A 125-foot-tall statue of Bhallaldeva was made by 200 sculptors which weighed over 8,000 kgs and needed 4 cranes to erect it. An interesting fact is that, 110 acres of land in Film City was used for the extravagant sets. Also, according to reports, the crew participated in raising jowar crops in 20 acres in Film City, for the movie. Phew!

Watch the making of 'Baahubali' here.

Bombay Velvet

Even though the storyline failed to impress Indian audience, Anurag Kashyap's 'Bombay Velvet' was appreciated for his magificient sets. Reportedly, this film was one of Anurag's most expensive outing. The entire city of Old Bombay was built on 9.5 acres land in Colombo. The set which took 11 months to be created, had carefully laid out buildings, roads, signages were given vintage feel. An interesting fact is, the set is now used as a tourist attraction in Sri Lanka!

Watch the making of 'Bombay Velvet' sets here.

Jodha Akbar

Period films, when well made are a visual treat. Right from the likes of Mughal-E-Azam to Jodhaa Akbar, these flicks have the power to transport one back in time to relive those ages. Ashutosh Gowariker's film was not only the ultimate visual nirvana, but it was also historically accurate. From the uber opulent palaces to the battlefield, there was richness and grandeur in every frame of the film. The set designed by Nitin Chandrakant Desai has been opened to tourists. The film which reportedly cost $10 million, is arguably one of the most spectacular films India has made. 

Watch the making here.

Prem Ratan Dhan Payo

Sooraj Barjatya's films are always known for lavish settings and the filmmaker has taken it a notch higher with 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo'. Not only does the trailer features massive forts of Rajasthan but the makers have also created the iconic Sheesh Mahal to shoot a certain scene in the film. Salman Khan's Diwali bonanza is one of the most expensive films ever, with the budget pegged around Rs 90 crore. Interestingly, the royal palace is the biggest set, spread over 100,000 square feet. 

Watch the making of 'Prem Ratan Dhan Payo' here.


Sanjay Leela Bhansali is famous for the grandeur of his films and creating elaborate and lavish sets in his movies be it 'Devdaas', 'Saawariya' or 'Ram Leela'. With its lavish production design, extravagant sets and poetic musical numbers, Saawariya was ravishing to look at.

Watch the making of 'Saawariya' here.


With a heavy dose of red, yellow and orange, Devdas' sets personified the passion and tragedy that runs throughout the movie.  In fact, 12,20,00,008 pieces of stained glass were used to decorate Paro's room. The most amusing part is that Chandramukhi's kotha was constructed next to an artificial lake, to make it look like it was located in Benares next to the Ganges.

Watch the making of 'Devdas' here.

Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham

The set designers recreated Delhi’s Chandni Chowk in a Film City studio in Mumbai. For the Raichand mansion, the inside of a palatial bungalow was built with several expensive paintings being hung on the walls to give it an authentic 'old money' look. A total of 18 to 19 sets were designed by Sharmishtha Roy, for which she even won the Filmfare Award for Best Art Direction.
Watch the making of 'Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham' here.
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