The Filmy City
For a country which breathes on its films and worships its heroes and heroines, the film city is the greatest tribute. Everything inside the city has a filmy touch, be it the fabulous shows or the thematic buildings. Designed and created by world-class professionals and experts, it holds the Guinness record for the largest film city in the world. The city houses almost every location for a movie beginning with exquisite gardens to railway station, airport and even a jail. Even better, it houses theme parks, a variety of thematic restaurants and everything you need for a complete family vacation. Located at an hour’s drive from Hyderabad city the place reinvents the word ‘entertainment’ to the millions of visitors. Although catering to a wide variety of tourists, the Ramoji Film City can be considered as a perfect place to unwind with your family.
Eureka is the place where one begins the tour. A huge crowd had already gathered in front of the gates waiting for the gates of fort to open marking the beginning of the day’s celebrations. Various mascots entertained the visitors. The gates slowly opened and a number of artists appeared performing a welcome song and dance program in front of an awestruck crowd. The grandness of the Eureka was slowly being revealed in front of the visitors as the dancers ushered all in. Eureka has a rare mix of Mughal, Mauryan and the Wild West, with a huge statue of Chanakya on one side and cow boy stables on the other. A medieval Meena Bazaar replica can also be seen here. The Wild West town organizes a thrilling action packed shows. Skilled actors stage a live action sequence giving the viewers a taste of movies in real life. Eureka also houses a number of amusement rides for the children and the elders alike. Special rides such as dashing cars, bungee trampoline, rangers, break dance, and twisters are some of the favorites here.
Fundustan is an attraction which is a must visit if you are looking for a play area for children. Completely dedicated for children, this place is shaped under its mascot Dadajin. Featured as an elderly uncle this mascot welcomes the children as they enter this fun zone. Fundustan boasts of a number of exciting rides for the little ones. The main specialty here is the wide variety of entertainment it offers to the children. The colourful paintings and rides together create a great ambience for the children to enjoy themselves. Fundustan opens the door to yet another exciting experience called Borasura: Sorrcerer’s Den. A unique version of the scary house, Borasura is a great example the magical craftsmanship and special effects which sends visitors in one of the best fun filled horror rides of their life time.
After experiencing the fun rides of Eureka, Fundustan and Borasura, I was taken to the Ramoji Movie Magic. True to its name the place takes the visitors through a magical ride of cinema. Here the movie making process is elaborately explained from start to end. Visitors get to experience how a film shapes up from a simple story on a paper to the silver screen.
‘Action’ is a major attraction here. In a 25 minute long presentation the secrets behind film making are unraveled. People get to know closely exclusive cinematic experiences such as special effects, dubbing and also the famous green screen chromo shots which are used in extensively in the action sequences and periodic films. Getting to know the secrets behind our superheroes was a great experience. The FilmiDuniya is yet another specialty of the Movie magic. FilmiDuniya is actually a joyride through the different time zones and cities around the globe. The show ‘Around the World in eight Minutes’ takes the viewers to the major cities around the world through some of the greatest films which was shot there. The Streets inside the movie magic is also special. Don’t be surprised if you run into your favourite Hollywood super star amidst the crowd. The life like statues of many of stars like Bruce lee, Charlie Chaplin, Sylvester Stallone in their renowned characters can be found here. With its specially designed streets and vintage cars its gives away the feeling that one is actually in a movie.
The Ramoji tower adorned by a replica of the Statue of Liberty on one side could be seen from near to FilmiDuniya, set in the back drop of the Hollywood Hills replica had many curious visitors waiting outside for the next show. Bit by the curious bug I also decided to try it out. The viewers can enjoy the real tremors and acoustic effects of an earth quake here. It turned out to be a fun experience.
My driver, Sreenivas emerged panting as he explained that there was a Jr. NTR shoot progressing in the nearby area. Sreenivas was a diehard fan of N. T. Rama Rao Jr. popularly known as the Jr. NTR. Excited by the chance to witness some real filmy action I decided to check the spot. To our bad luck we arrived at the exact time he was leaving. We could just get a glance of him as my drivers favorite hero took off in an SUV.
To ease our disappointment we decided to drive around a bit to explore the different shooting set ups in the city. Our first stop was at the renowned Mahabharatha set, which happens to be the very spot where one of the longest and popular serials in Indian television was shot. The set is now preserved, and is a popular place with the visitors. Apart from the fully closed studio floors for films and serials, the film city offers various locations usually used in films. One can see a local south Indian town, a jail, a railway station, an airport and a wide array of multipurpose buildings all created for the films. One street among these strikes the viewers eye due to its sheer beauty, it’s popularly known as the Princess street. The street has some of the most charming sets of houses and has a large number of films to its credits.
It was almost afternoon and my tummy was yearning for some food. Sreenivas noticing my hungry face asked politely if we could get some lunch. Upon my nod we zoomed into The Superstar restaurant. As the name suggests the restaurant is a tribute to all the nations’ favorite Superstars. Set in a black and white tone the restaurant is a great place to dine for a movie buff. The walls are adorned with the black and white portraits of some of the best film stars the country has ever produced. It’s truly an amazing feeling to share my lunch spot with Rajnikanth, Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi. Even the table tops, plates and saucers are specially designed to complete your cinematic dining experience.
After a fulfilling lunch I decided to check out some of the gardens in the film city. Since I only had time till evening I decided to go to the most sorted out ones. The first one was the Japanese garden. The Japanese style of construction of walls and pagodas were quiet interesting. I moved on to the animal garden from there. The name is due to the plants carefully cut to maintain the shape of an animal. It had several animals such as elephants intricately shaped from plants. The place had a real monkey playing around a green elephant, which was interesting to watch. It was evening already and I just had time for just one more place so I went to the leg garden. The leg garden has the statue of a resting person’s legs protruding out of a lush green grass lawn while his upper part of the body came out a little later from the other side. It was slowly getting dark so I decided to get back to the hotel. The day was well spent with a variety of new sights and experiences. The filmy city had left me with a bunch of great memories.