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Mumbai People and Culture

A resident of Mumbai is called a Mumbaikar, or Bombayite. Many residents prefer to stay close to major railway stations for easy access to their workplaces, as a significant amount of time is spent on daily commuting. Thus, many live a fast-paced life, with very little time for social activities. Mumbai is India’s most liberal minded and cosmopolitan city, embracing many concepts that would be taboo in other parts of India. Mumbai residents celebrate Indian and Western festivals with great fanfare.

The metropolis has its own local roadside fast food flavour, comprising vada pavs (split wheat bread with fried dumplings as filling), paani puri (deep fried crepe with tamarind and lentil sauce), pav bhaji (split wheat bread with fried vegetables) and bhelpuri (puffed rice mixture), while South Indian and Chinese food are also very popular. The cosmopolitan residents have unique tastes in cuisine, music, film and literature, both Indian and international. In 2004, Mumbai received three heritage conservation awards from the UNESCO.

Mumbai is the birthplace of Indian cinema, with the oldest film shot here in 1896. Mumbai also boasts of large number of cinemas, including Asia’s largest IMAX dome theatre, which feature mainstream Bollywood and Hollywood films. Besides cinemas, the city also hosts various plays and cultural performances. There are also two art galleries: The Jehangir Art Gallery and The National Gallery of Modern Art, and a museum, The Prince of Wales Museum in downtown Mumbai. Built in 1833, the Asiatic Society of Bombay is the oldest public library in the city. The city also contains most of India’s tallest buildings.

Mumbai has six sister cities (the maximum permitted by the Indian government) – Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Saint Petersburg, Stuttgart and Yokohama.