Mumbai isn’t just the wealthiest city in the country, but among the wealthiest globally. It is where the headquarters of multiple financial institutions are located – from the Bombay Stock Exchange, Reserve Bank of India, National Stock Exchange, and the Mint, to Indian business giants such as the Tata Group, Aditya Birla Group, Essel Group and Reliance Industries.
As the commercial capital of the country, Mumbai has much appeal to anyone in search of work and better career prospects. Migrants from every part of the country move to the city every day in search of a better life, hence the name ‘City of Dreams’ was coined. In spite of its many slums and alarming extremes in wealth distribution, it is seen as a city that will reward anyone who is willing to work hard.
Bollywood, India’s largest and one of the world’s largest film industries is synonymous with Mumbai. The city has accordingly established itself as the film capital of India. It is where many Bollywood storylines are based, where top studios are located and where the most famous directors, producers, actors and crew members live. And so, to the rest of India the charm and appeal of Bollywood holds true for Mumbai as well.
From the stunning Bandra-Worli Sea link to the pristine white Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai’s architecture is complex, rich and exceptional. Marine Drive whose lights form an arc resembling a string of pearls dubbed as Queen’s Necklace, and the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus whose Victorian architecture has resiliently stood through more than a century of events from terror attacks to freedom struggles – are all symbolic of Mumbai’s charm to the rest of the subcontinent.
Mumbai’s dream-like quality has as much to do with its rich past as it has with its promising future. While the city’s global importance and position grows by the day as India re-positions its economy globally, it was a hub of civilization and exchange with other great civilizations even 2000 years ago. The stunning Kanheri Caves, Elephanta Caves are remnants of a rich past where Mumbai fared as a commercial and ideological hotspot. Even Mumbai’s journey from a scattered group of seven historic islands to its current form is nothing short of dream-like for onlookers from elsewhere in the country.
From India’s first five star hotel, the Taj Mahal Palace, to the country’s first movie screening – by the Lumiere Brothers in 1896 – Mumbai has been home to many ‘firsts’ and ‘premieres’ in the country. The subcontinent’s first passenger train ran in Mumbai from the now defunct Bori Bunder station to Thane in 1853, and the country’s first civil aviation airport opened at Juhu in 1928 – showing how Mumbai holds promise of innovation beyond that of any other Indian city.
Mumbai isn’t just the film capital of the country. A majority of the city’s leading ad agencies, media companies, television studios, music production companies and cultural movements are concentrated here. Some of the city’s premier art institutions including the legendary Jehangir Arts Gallery which has played an important role in the country’s modern art movement, are all located here.