The Cat Wall-Hanging

I have now seen this particular place in four different films spanning nine years. Originally I thought it was a set, but it now seems difficult to believe that a set would remain so unchanged over that time frame. Almost nothing does change, except the dining table chairs and floor coverings! The light fixtures remain almost identical, as do the altar (?) beside the second door, the stone walls, the stairs, the ceilings—and of course the Cat Wall-Hanging.

Surely if it were a set, different art directors would have changed it from film to film and most certainly from year to year, don’t you think? Especially since the whole thing is really retro-hideous (which is why I love it so).

(left to right: Namak Haraam—1973, Chorni—1981)

In Chakravyuha I noticed the big wall of stained glass (how could you not?), and when I went back to look my Namak Haraam screencaps I saw it there too, along with the same faux-marbled walls and pockmarked ceiling.

(left to right: Namak Haraam—1973, Chakravyuha—1978)

Note that between Chakruvyuha and Chorni there is no difference in the dining chairs, and the medallioned wallpaper and much of the decor has stayed put too, along with the air-conditioned portrait. Please try to ignore the beating that Rajesh is taking in some of the below screen shots (enjoy Pradeep’s smug grin at the bottom left and focus on the room!).

(top to bottom in pairs: Chakruvyuha, Chorni, Chakravyuha)

There are stairs (as you can see) immediately outside the door on the left next to the cats.

(both: Chorni)

The setting in Chorni is inside an apartment building, but I suspect that was sleight of hand and that it is actually a real house as shown in Chakravyuha—see the grille at the bottom windows on the landing? They seem the same as the ones on the outside wall in the left-hand screenshot.

(both: Chakravyuha)

This is a tough one—probably someone who lived there or visited people who did will have to stumble over this. Odds of that are slim, but I’ll take them! And if anyone else has seen this eye-sore of a place used in a movie, do let me know which one and where! Surely all you have to do is see it once to remember it (the upstairs is below, from Chorni again—I think it is all part of the same location—mostly because of the matching stone walls and stained glass).

Updated June 2012: This is also the house where the Oberois live in 1982’s Disco Dancer. These are screenshots of the exterior and the interior, confirming that it’s the same house as above. Sadly, the cat wallhanging has been replaced with something more tasteful. I don’t know what they were thinking.

The gates leading into the garden, and more of the exterior.

Sadly, the owners seem to have been content to remain anonymous because they are never thanked in the credits. Not yet, anyway!

52 Comments to “The Cat Wall-Hanging”

  1. Retro-glorious you mean!

  2. Retro-so-hideous-it’s-glorious maybe :)

  3. Agree with you about hideous, but I loved the cats although I prefer dogs! But sorry I can’t help you much in this. Never ahdthe opportunity to enter such bungalows during my time in Bombay.

  4. Fantastic! I’m pretty sure I’ve seen those cats and stained glass but I haven’t seen the films you mention, so I will have my eye out next time I rummage through my screencaps!

  5. It could be someone’s house. Or maybe a house built inside a studio for shooting such scenes. Who knows.

    • If it were a house in a studio though would the decor have remained so much the same? I would have thought that different art directors would want to put their own stamp on it if they could…but yes, who knows?

  6. Only you, only you, memsaab, would notice all this! I think you should change your name to “Greta Sherlock Holmes” – you have put together various shots and deduced that all these shots pertain to the same house and even found that the stained glass and the stone walls match! Hats off to you! I was watching the Tamil version of “Red Rose” in a theater in India many, many years ago and suddenly I saw a house that I passed daily – it was across the street from my parents’ house, so I spent the rest of the movie trying to see if I could spot my parents across the street, or at least, the house. Needless to say, I failed to do so, and missed a large part of the action too!

  7. memsaab, my educated guess would be that it *is* a set. A standing one; inside one of the large film studios maybe. The second option, especially from the eighties onwards, is that it is a bungalow, that is often leased out for film shootings. No one really lives there – it’s used for shootings round the clock. There’s a beautiful bungalow that made its appearance in many movies, and later during many television soaps that had us all go “hey, that house again!” Of course, that was a fantastic bungalow, a white and black one, set amidst manicured lawns (in Bombay, yet!) with a black staircase immediately to the left as you enter. In fact, I think I have seen that bungalow interior in one of your screencaps – I’m sorry I cannot recollect which one.

    @Lalitha, when I was in school, we had some film chaps approach my maternal grandfather with an offer to pay us an unheard-of sum of money (for those days) to shoot for a week in his house. We (my cousins and I) were very disappointed when he turned them down. The more practical amongst us was all for the money, the rest (including moi) were aghast at not having a chance to peek at the reigning screen idols in person. Adults truly do not understand. :(

    • Again though I wonder about the decor not changing much over the span of at least nine years. That seems more characteristic to me of a privately-owned (and lived-in) home.

      My favorite villain Ranjeet owns a bungalow which he rents out for shoots too :)

  8. I’m very curious about whether you’ll have an answer to this one Memsaab. And kudos on spotting these things (the decor is definitely not to my taste)

  9. Probably a bungalow, with its own decor. Also check the name of the art director–may yield a clue if they or the assistants are the same.
    But got to admit, you have the sharpest eye in the business

    • That’s a good idea—there was a “thank you” credit at the beginning of Chorni thanking some individuals too, but not on Chakravyuha and I can’t find my dvd of Namak Haraam *sad*

  10. If my memory serves me right,
    I remember STARDUST MAGAZINE used to print a similar picture of CAT, in the first few pages of STARDUST(I am talking about Stardust issues of almost 15 or 20 years ago)as a signature picture of “NEETHA`S NATTER”, a very famous gossip column publishing gossips about then famous superstars and other hindi movie actors.

  11. You certainly do justice to your banner – spotting such details with a magnifying glass :) It’s probably a bungalow that was let out often for shooting. The decor IS awful – but that was considered stylish in those days ROFLOL. One may still get used to living in such a house but just take in this house of a SRK fan I would go NUTS.

  12. Don’t miss out the comments – it really goes haywire ;-)

    Gosh – I can barely watch Rajesh’s beating in above pics. I somehow find it more horrific now.

  13. actually certain houses were part of studio’s property. in certain cases certain houses were regularly lent to producers for shooting various films.Check in credits whether same house or studio is credited in both chakravyuha and chorni.

    best example is film trishna which was fully shot in a bungalow owned by a person and it was not a set.

  14. @Memsaab – What an eye for detail you have! You could give some of these filmi art directors a run for their money. Whoever is able to find out the location of this room would be a deserving winner of the cat wall hanging!

  15. The interior deco is hideous but I love the architectural elements like the stone walls, the arches, and the stained glass. I would want all that stuff in my house if I had one in Bombay. :-)

  16. Results of Bungalows on rent for film shoots for commercial reasons. These days we have specially erected permanent sets and pieces for haveli’s railway stations etc keeping in mind ad films and tv serials.

  17. I have read somewhere that ‘Jalsa’, the present house of Amitabh Bachchan, originally belonged to NC Sippy and many of Sippy’s films like Chupke Chuke (Jija-Ji’s house ) and Satte pe Satta (the drunk scene ) were shot there.

  18. Now I have to look at Chupke Chupke and Satte Pe Satte so I can see NC Sippy’s house!

  19. In keeping with the film set/props theme:

    Perhaps not a donkey tail lighter, but what about a donkey cigarette dispenser to add to your “Fab! – Want” wish list?

  20. Outstanding piece. What an observation. Hats off.

  21. I don’t know for sure, but possibly Hrishikesh Mukherjee used the same bungalow for Khoobsoorat (1980) too. I had heard he was a very economical director, so he would have approached the owner and struck a deal with him for a reasonable price. The end result could be it may have appeared in many of his movies.

  22. Memsaab, I cannot see beyond the cats and Neetu Singh. But this bungalow must have been considered so tasteful in its time, no? All white and elegant.

  23. Vow I have to grant you, you sure have an eye for detail.

  24. That altar, the stone wall behind it and the stairs… it’s the house used in a popular sitcom – “Tu Tu, Main Main” about a saas-bahu pair who has a notorious love-hate relationship. The serial was directed by Sachin – who played A K Hangal’s young grandson in Sholay. Sachin’s real-life wife, Supriya plays the bahu while Reema Laagu is the Saas. The same house was used in a later serial – “Hadd Kar Di”, also directed by Sachin. It had Dara Singh playing the patriarch in a sweet, loving family. Sumit Raghavan (Sahil from Sarabhai v/s Sarabhai) played a driver in Hadd Kar Di.

    I’ve seen the exterior of that house as shown in HKD, in other shows, of which I’m sure of the kids’ show “Sonpari” on Star Plus. Sorry, all these memories are from Indian TV shows from the 90’s and 00’s, and I’m unable to find footage/screencaps. If someone has taped episodes of TTMM, the shooting location might be in the credits.

  25. See for yourself:

    I was myself stuck up with this house (the one in the TV show) during that time. Wouldn’t it be great if we could actually solve this mystery?

  26. hmmm I knew I’d seen it in something else. That cat wall hanging appears in Geeta Mera Naam too – it is in Sunil Dutt’s lair. I just checked and you can see it in this song (warning contains Helen and a chunky man in a flesh coloured onesie in a giant bubble bath):

    • OMG Good eye Temple!!!!! Wow. Everything else is so different though…Maybe there are TWO cat wall hangings?! Could it be???!!! And that chunky man in the flesh colored suit is my beloved Oscar so bite your tongue ;-) It’s very typical of his choreography, this song.

      • Jenni and I often play ‘where’s Oscar?’ in old song clips :D But the flesh onesie was not a forgiving look. Well, back to the cat hanging – it was just inside the door like the other one, but you’re right, nothing else matches.


  28. This building is OmShivam NS Road no 6 Juhu scheme Mumbai
    Belongs to one Mr Valia a chemical business man

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