Friday, 27 July, 2007
People driving more crazy in Hyderabad then anywhere else (but this is maybe true for every new city you reach in India). And shops will not open before 11am. Rikschaws are much more comfortable, some having Bollywooddesigns and Music and are named after Movies. People are very moderat and friendly- and honest if you ask them for the way and they dont know where the place is. When it is raining streets look catastrophical, but nobody really seemes to care.
Additionally there are many touristhotspots- like waterfunpark, snowpark, childrens park, IMAX-Cinema, a lake with a buddist statue in the middle and some extraordinary old and modern buildings in various styles. AND- of course- there is RAMOJI FILM CITY- one of the biggest film-compexes in the world.
Ramoji Film City
Started in 1991 and (more or less) completed in 1996 the Ramojifilmstudiocomplex and Funpark has to be named as one of the best attractions of india. It is still not comparable to western Fun-Parks but it comes close. And you easily can spend one or two days there. About 3000 visitors per day - nearly all of them from india itself- enjoying this Disneyland-sort-of-park. The filmstudios themselves and the places where the real moviemagic takes place are not open for visitors. Entry is 300 Rs, including all the rides in the funpark (which are not very many, but still some) and a guided bustour through some sets and gardens.
It was rather dissapointing to see that Hollywood is the main topic in the Fun-Park. Batman and the Terminator lining up with Tombraider and Superman. Big letters on a green hill saying "Hollywood". And the Danceshows in the "Movie-Magic"-aerea we have seen were just about "Macarena" and other famous western songs. Like in Disneyworld some costumed guys walk arround making some fun with the visitors. There costums are not about Mickeymouse or Donald and even not about Bollywood-somethings at all- there are just dressed up as some teddybears with no further meaning. In the many Merchandisingshops you can buy little eiffeltowers, libertystatues and Sai babas. Additionally you will find all the usual stuff you can also find in any market of hyderabad. It takes a little time to find a "Ramojifilmcity"-pen or writingblock or the "I love Ramojifilmcity"-Tshirt, but it is possible. BUT: No Bollywood cups, no Bollywoodstickers no Posters, no Books, no Music. Only one Shop ("Cinema Cinema") has a very small variety of Bollywoodstar-Thsirts (215 Rs, all in white only XL or XXL)- some of the bollywoodstars are cheaply photoshopped into pictures of Ramojifilmcity-sets. It looks not very professional, but very bollywoodish- one could say. Here you can get a small variety of Movies, but every "Planet M"-Shop in India provides more than that.
The "Movie Magic" Area has been designed by western people and is meant to attract indian tourists, who have never seen something like this before. Mr. A.V. Rao, the general Manager for Publicity in Ramoji Film City told me that the feedback is very good and the number of western tourists is nearly Zero. (RFC has nearly 3000 visitors per day.) It seems to be not a major focus here to promote indian cinema at all - but Cinema itself and Hollywood, which is supposingly more attractive for indian people.
Also he added that Merchandising can only work out if you have a big market, and this is not given in india. Kya? I absolutley didnt understand, to be honest. Still India is the only filmmarket worldwide where Hollywood makes only 5 to 10 percent of the Boxofice-earnings. And every Toyshopowner i met, told me that they are just waiting fo more Bollywood-Merchandisingproducts, cause they are selling so well. When i told Mr. Rao that it is nearly impossible to find any Merchandisingproducts according to india-filmindustry he was suprised and immediatley called Merchandising-Department. But i was also told that indian audience is not interessted to buy SRK-Tshirts and stuff like this at all. Whatever- i am not interested to buy Popeye-Tshirts or MickeyMouse stuff when i am in the biggest funpark in the world biggest filmindustry (INDIA). Dont get me wrong- RFC is big fun- but i have to say that all in all it is very minimum compared to what is possible.
Because i am supposed to be a journalist i got a special tour to the studios. RFC has 47 studios, each named after a famous filmaker. RFC provides modern facilities for "cost efficent and comfortable film production", as they say. We saw the huge amount of destroyed sets (incredible when you think of how expensive wood is). We saw many sets (f.e. "Salaam E Ishq", "Tere Naam"). Sadly the set of "Sarkar2" was completly closed and we didnt had the chance for a Dekhonaa of Amitabh, Abhishek and Aish, who have been there just the same days. Because of the strict policy of RFC it was not possible to see any shooting within the studios. But lucky me saw Nargarjuna during an outdoor shooting. He is one of the biggest filmstars.
Finally- I saw "Sivaji" in IMAX-Multiplex. After searching for Hindidubbed-versions or pirated DVDs everywhere i have been so far (without any success) i went to the Cinema in Hyderabad as soon as possible to see the Original without Subtitle. When we reached the Multiplex people where lining up for the southindian Munnabhai Remake in endless lines (sadly i lost all my photos of this happening!).
Well, to follow the Sivaji-plot was not a problem. Rajnikant is the good guy who wants to build a Hospital and a University but bad guys make it impossible for him. So he starts to baksheesh lots of people. And he falls in Love. And he has to fight. And wash some money for good purposes. And there are incredible Songs with the most craziest sets i have ever seen. No wonder it is the most expensive indian film so far. I loved the film for his semi-realism. For example: When Sivaji is trying to impress his beloved with eating one kg of Chillis he really runs to the bathroom after it immediatly and screams like a girl. Or when he is fighting in the musicshop (my favourite scene) and smashing one villain up and down on a Chello, the trousers of the guy are really destroyed. What i dont like is the fact that he actually does throw a pistol like a boomerang and the pistol shoots itself without any explantion, before returning in his hand. Stuff like this is stupid. Also the fair-skin-song was real shit. Everybody in the cinema hated it. I tell you. But however- Rajnikant has a way to say "cooool" and flips chewinggum, specs or coins in a way which is awesome and remarkable- altough he has grown old and lost some of his shape, as some longtermfans may mention. The movie had wonderful funny "Prince-of-Persia/Matrix-style"-fightingscenes and bombastic crazy Dances. Altough...Music was average.
I wondered what happend to the sets of "Sivaji" and asked A.V. Rao from RFC, cause the movie was partly shot there. They spent 1,75 crore for the glasshouse dance scene! (The set was transported somewhere soon after, so sadly I could not visit it.)
It was my first Rajnikantmovie and i look forward to see more of him- the older movies should be much better- i was told. And before i forget: we saw the trailer of "Sultan"(!!!), an animated upcoming movie with Rajnikant. This really will be the superdupermovie for all Prince of Persia- fans.