Mon, Oct 24, 2016 | updated 12:28 PM IST

18th Jio MAMI film festival's opening night to re-launch The Royal Opera House

Updated: Sep 09, 2016 10:12 IST

Mumbai [India], Sept. 9 (ANI): The opening ceremony of Jio MAMI with Star film festival this year will mark the re-launch of the iconic Royal Opera House in downtown Mumbai.

The opening ceremony on October 20 will also celebrate the re-opening of this iconic venue, the only surviving Opera House in India, which was once the cultural heartbeat of Mumbai.

The Royal Family of Gondal, the owners of the iconic venue, tirelessly worked towards ensuring the complete revival and restoration of this centre under the watchful eye of conservation architect Abha Narain Lambah.

The Maharaja of Gondal Shri Vikram Sinhji bought the Opera House in 1952. His son Shri Jyotendra Sinhji Jadeja commissioned its restoration in 2009, which is now nearing completion and revving up for its debut.

According to Jyotendra Sinhji Jadeja, "It gives me immense pleasure to see The Royal Opera House being revived back to its original glory. The Gondal Family has always been a great patron of art, culture and education. The Royal Opera House in this new avatar is our gift to the City of Mumbai. I thank my wife Smt. Kumud Kumari and my son Himanshisinh and our close family friend Ashish Doshi and needless to mention Abha Lambah who have worked tirelessly to ensure we can bring back this historical monument to its original glory. We are delighted to partner with MAMI festival and wish them all the luck."

The idea for the Opera House was conceived in 1908 by Maurice Bandmann, a famous entertainer from Calcutta and Jehangir Framji Karaka, who headed a coal brokers' firm.

The heritage building, inaugurated by King George V in 1911, reflects the grandness of Baroque architecture.

With domed ceiling embellished with paintings and acoustically perfect construction, it enables those seated in the gallery to hear every word uttered by the performers.

One of the last standing Baroque buildings in Mumbai, the Royal Opera House, with its long standing association with art and culture, hosted operas and live performances of artists like Bal Gandharva, Prithviraj Kapoor, Dinanath Mangeshkar and Lata Mangeshkar.

Speaking about the association, Jio MAMI with Star Festival chairperson Kiran Rao said, "We are honoured to have our opening ceremony at the Royal Opera House. We could not have asked for a better host- a host with a legacy that goes back over a hundred years. The Opera House is an iconic venue and as we get ready to roll out the red carpet, we hope to help revive its legacy as an important cultural venue for the people of Mumbai."

Adding to it, the festival's director Anupama Chopra stated, "We are excited to be associated with this historical re-opening and thankful to the Royal family of Gondal for allowing us to host our opening ceremony there." (ANI)