Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hyderabad - II

Ramoji Film City is considered to be the biggest film city in world. This is was one of the most important destinations on our list and I was hoping to catch up with a few stars there and get some autographs signed and pictures clicked (What was I thinking?? - phew!!). 2 Idlis, 2 vadas and 1 Masala dosa followed by a 1 hour drive with my face breezing through warm air was putting me to sleep but someone gave us a news that may be Shah Rukh Khan and Juhi Chawla were doing some post production stuff of their movie Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani there and I was super excited to go there. (I had decided the exact words to complement Juhi of her sweet smile and to convey SRK diplomatically as how he should not work with Karan Johar and should work in more meaningful movies). The first place after the ticketed entry that we saw was a just-then-renovated railway station and I must tell you the crew had done amazing job. The train looked so real and alive with some fiber dummies sitting in various positions. There was a station master holding a green flag and a fan was blowing right at an angle which gave the impression to the onlookers that he was waving the flag. From the railway station, we went to the airport, there were two terminals  one for domestic - a smaller one and one for international. The international terminal had the glassy interiors and was slightly bigger than the domestic airports. Care is taken to keep updating the endorsements posted on the walls of the international airport and the restaurant sets in domestic and international differ from each other. 
File:Ramojifilmcity hyderabad.jpgRFC has arranged tourist buses which take people from places to places and our next stop was the magnificent Mughal gardens. The well spread gardens are very aesthetically done and instantly take you to the likes of northern part of India where you find the Mughal architecture in abundance. 
Mughal Gardens, Ramoji Film cityThese gardens look pretty inspired from the Mughal gardens of Lahore. The greenery was the first thing we needed to soothe our eyes from the glaring noon sun. The mid partition of the gardens which glow up in the evenings with colored lights and fountains was one among the few things we missed to see. The garden steps in many levels as the road isn't a straight
one. Right outside the gardens are the famous angel fountains which now have been covered in almost all the movies shot here. The tourist guide told us that the lamp posts on the roads are not of the fixed type and can be changed according to the mood of the movie. On the roads you can find various statues - some made of marble and some made of fiber. I simply love the statue of the reclining man just behind the red pyramid shaped gate (It could be in the front also if you view it from the opposite direction).
File:Ramoji Film City - UK setting.jpg
On the way we came across the street which contains the sets of filmy bunglaws, corporate offices, hospital, police station and many interconnecting streets which are built to show the streets in foreign locations. We also came across one of the gardens which hosted spots to plant flowers and bushes. The specialty of this location was that the gardens could have flowers of the same or contrasting colors to the dress of the actors. Everything is big about this film city, the land, the buildings, the sets etc.
The next segment which we went to see was the open air theater with a brown standing laughing-Buddha-type statue guarding it. There was a spring carnival going on at that time and the place was over crowded with people, in spite of which it was a beautiful gala spot to watch out for. There were dance shows, food exhibits, modelling to show the native dressing style etc. from all the parts of India. I am not sure if this carnival happens on a periodic interval but if it does, it is surely a must time for fun lovers to go to. There was also a shopping center built in the Southern Texas style, the typical 1960's cowboy settings. (Again the architects and construction people should be praised for their finery). We knew were tired, but there was no hint of it. The place left us in awe only to ask for more. The final destination for us was the Hawa Mahal which shows you entire RFC at a glance. This is one of the highest points of the city and once we reached there, we could see workers working on building the "HOLLYWOOD" on the rocks. The tourist guides teach everyone a way to hit in to the structure to find out whether the structure is hollow or solid (simple science it is), but please do not attempt it on Hawa mahal. We did not attempt it but one of the (superhero) college guys did it in front of us (to show his might) only to get hit hard and shout so loud that everyone near by knew it was a solid structure. (I still dint get him till date why did he hit hard - did he bet with other fellows that he was going to break structures in the film city? Poor chap!!).
Ramoji Film City It was getting dark and if we wouldn't have left then, then we would had to stay in one of the hotels in the film city.(I was hoping to do so, so that I could catch up with Juhi and SRK, but I dint and SRK went ahead and made 3-4 more movies in the Johar camp). 
The long and a tiring day that it was, still was all worth it. Since then a lot of things have changed and the film city is eying the pinnacles of technology. I call the Ramoji Film City to be one of the grand visions (and a lot of money also) of the makers of this city which take India to higher levels altogether. 

There was a sessions court set up the next day morning with my mind being the judge hearing the pleas of heart and legs. There was no culprit, no one was wrong but there was conflict of interests and for the system to function properly, a prudent decision was needed. My legs were screaming for mercy, since they were tired since last night. My heart couldn't stop nagging about the fact that I don't know when again I would get a chance to see the places, a little vigor was all that was needed. In the end, my mind made a judicious choice and decided to wait till the evening and then visit the Lumbini Park while roaming on the Necklace road and stopping by the NTR gardens. This was an okay decision because going in the evening meant to skip the Hussain Sagar in-the-lake tour but being able to see the musical fountain show in the Lumbini Park and the beautifully lit necklace road in the night. After lazying till evening 4 PM, we started off to the NTR gardens, our first stop for the day. 
NTR Memorial Garden by Krishanu!.The NTR gardens, during early 2000s were mere NTR memorial and the rest of the place was being still developed by the authorities.  So, we dint have much to roam about and concentrated on thinking exactly what an impression did NTR have on the people's soul. He is inarguably the most loved personality of Andhra Pradesh and his memorial does deserve all the attention they were paying to it. Lost in his memories, we spent some time there and moved back to the other destination, Lumbini Park. Lumbini Park is a very well built and usually clean park (I say usually since we din't go on the best day)
lumbini park. hyderabad. andhra pradesh.
We walked from the corner to the fountains on-looking the lake on the ground and chirping birds returning in flocks to their homes. The sun was setting in and the warmth was decreasing. The park was getting filled with more and more tourists and we took our place in front of the fountains. The musical fountains are always charming. Again, not the first time for us, but I was very happy to see some young children who could not stop gaping in awe, as the waters danced to their favorite Telugu and Hindi tunes. The music was picking up its pace and the waters danced accordingly. The colors projected were truly the essence of Hyderabad with bright yellow, red, orange and pink shades. With the end of the show, we were not left with anything in the near distance and decided to just go back home and sleep. The view of well lighted Buddha standing tall in the Hussain sagar lake, with reflections of lamp posts standing on the necklace road and the Birla temple standing on the hill was outstanding. The cool breeze worked well in relaxing the sun burned Hyderabad. The slow traffic in the evening  din't annoy us today since we were touring the necklace road in the perfect ambiance. The day ended with no complaints and we looked forward to the next day, which had the famous Yadagiri Gutta temple in queue.                             

PS - I din't imagine it would take me more than 2 parts to cover one city, but I am not complaining . It deserves more space and would be a part of upcoming blogs.