Archive | November, 2003

Indian Film City Fuels Writers' Dream

29 Nov

THE figurine alley in Ramoji Film City that is used as a dance or song scene backdrop for Bollywood movies, Nov 28. – Bernamapix.

HYDERABAD Nov 28 – Have you ever wondered where in the world can a writer walk in with a script and walk out with a movie? It’s definitely Ramoji Film City (RFC) in Hyderabad, India, probably the only dream factory in Asia that has churned out movies not only for Bollywood but Hollywood as well.

Situated 25 km from Hyderabad, the modern Indian metropolis and IT hub that is second to Bangalore, the film city sprawls over 880 hectares of terrains and lakes in a concept that was Malaysia’s stillborn e-Village.

The film city was the brainchild of media mogul and film producer Ramoji Rao who became a household name in the 80s with Telegu hit movies like Pratighatana, Mayuri and Sitara, said Rajeev Jalnapurkar, general manager of RFC.

Rajeev said the Hollywood action movie “Quick Sand” was filmed here and not in Los Angeles as depicted in the movie. The Arizona landscape and the military installations in the movie were recreated in RFC.

Parts of “Crocodile 2” and “Panic” were made here as well, not to mention other Bollywood and Tollywood blockbusters. Among the Bollywood super hits from here that Malaysians may be familiar with is Bade Mian Chotte Mian with Amitabh Bachchan and Raveena Tandon in the cast; Lajja, another hit with Jackie Sharof, Anil Kapoor, Ajay Devgan and Manisha Koirala and the Telegu blockbuster Nuvve Kaavali.

According to Rajeev, RFC, which began operations four years ago, can be best described as a one-stop centre for film makers and a mythological theme park for the ordinary citizens. “We have a complete array of facilities for producing from budget to mega movies,” said Rajeev when met by Bernama at the film city recently.

The visit was in conjunction with the trade and investment called “Incredible India 2003” which the Indian government will stage in Kuala Lumpur from Dec 2 to 6.

Shootings are conducted here on an average of five productions daily during the filming season of 150 to 200 days per year. Here, RFC not only provides the locales for films but also every aspect from pre- to post-production work. A tour in the provided vintage bus brings visitors to various locales used as the backdrop in the movie scenes.

Here visitors can appreciate the magnificent splendor of the red Rajastani architecture, the white marble Mohgul courts, rolling meadows, the sun fountain, Hawaiian gardens, Greek figurines, complete airport and hospital buildings, a fully mock-up interior of a passenger aircraft and the list goes on.

Visitors would be surprised that there is even a wild West setting with cactus plants and horses for Western movies. On the whole, the panorama is enchanting and the allure never ending. Yet, that’s not all.

Rajeev said RFC also furnishes sets that are tailored according to request by producers and directors and also recruits the extras. RFC also boasts 50 studio floors apart from the processing and editing labs.

The processing and editing labs are divided into three; Symphony that deals with post-production audio; Mantra that provides digital film facility and special effects; and finally the film lab, Rainbow.

Directors like David Dhawan (film credits Biwi No 1, Chor Macaaye Shor and Deewan Mastana), Raj Kumar Santoshi (Andaz Apna-apna and China Gate) and Sam Firstenberg (American Ninja, Quick Sand and Spiders II) are the distinguished names in the industry who had found the facilities here to their liking and have returned or are planning to return for more movies.

Silver screen idols like Manisha Koirala and Soundarya enjoyed their stint here, said Rajeev.

Rajeev stressed that the advantage RFC offers is that producers don’t have to spend on creating the sets as everything is provided, including the cameras, cranes, make-up artists and manpower. This means they can lower their production cost and realise greater returns on their investments. All they need is a good script and lead stars, the rest is all available in the film city.

To date RFC has produced at least seven movies for Hollywood, the rest are mainly in Telegu, Kannada and several in Hindi including blockbusters. Many more did their post-production work in RFC, among them, Lagan the Hindi super hit.

TV serials too are now being produced at RFC. Rajeev is proud of the fact that many who started with their movies here had made their name in the world of cinema.

But RFC is not for the movie icons only; it is also a place where ordinary citizens can get the feel of the fantasy portrayed in the movies. An average of 2,500 people visit RFC daily which is also a theme park providing entertainment based on the diverse cultures of India.

Rajeev stressed that RFC is a theme park and not an amusement park like the one seen in Universal Studios. That’s why there are no Ferris wheels or roller coaster rides. The day the writer was in RFC, there was a Chinese acrobatic troupe displaying their skill, much to the amusement of the visitors.

RFC also has three hotels in its vicinity to cater for visitors as well as conferences, said Rajeev.

It’s the place where writers can walk in with their dreams and walk out with a movie. – Bernama

Utusan Malaysia