2012 World Monuments Watch
The Royal Opera House rises prominently at a bustling intersection in Mumbai. Maurice E. Bandmann, a renowned entertainer from Calcutta, and Jehangir Framji Karaka, head of a firm of coal brokers, drew up the Baroque style designs for the theater. Completed in 1915, the structure hosted operas and live performances until converted into a cinema in 1935.
The ornate façade includes elongated pilasters, Italianate balustrades, and a sculpted frieze across the pediment. The dramatic décor continues in the interior with Minton tile flooring, marble statues, crystal chandeliers, and a gold ceiling. Its lavish baroque façade, gilded interiors, and red carpets once welcomed Mumbai’s theater, opera, and film elite. Abandoned in the 1990s, the building deteriorated over time yet escaped demolition.
The Royal Opera House was included on the 2012 World Monuments Watch to raise awareness about its history and significance, and support the effort of its owner, His Highness the Maharaja of Gondal, to preserve the building.
Since the Watch
In January 2013, the Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee approved the proposal for the restoration of the Royal Opera House. Conservation works lasted three years and the venue was completely restored and reopened to the public in October 2016.