At 9.00 am we were waiting for the driver to take us to Ramoji Film city, definitely the dream makers workshop. It is spread over 2000 acres and boasts of being the largest integrated services studio. We were staying at Taramati Baradari as we wanted to move around Hyderabad but one can choose to stay in Ramoji city itself if its just a weekend break at the film city. They have the hotel Tara and Sitara on the campus.
I was quite impressed with Ramoji right from the entrance. You walk into ticket counters buy the tickets, then walk into the waiting lounge to catch the shuttle that takes you to the studios. At the entrance you can choose to have some snacks and tea and go for a pee ;).
The entrance of the film studios is a fountain with tile mosaic work and it is called Movie Magic. From here you have to walk around to various venues and shows. The paintings on the entrance prepare you for all the fun in film making. Everything looks glitzy and clean. Yes rarely in India you will find such clean places of entertainment. Along with your ticket is a layout of the film city so take a look at it carefully and check the timing of each show. Accordingly plan what you want to see and move quickly to these venues. This is India and there are ques everywhere for the shows.
We first saw the movie magic show, here you move from auditorium to auditorium experiencing how movies are filmed, dubbed, mixed and released. This show is interactive, they pick up 2 people from the audience and dress up a girl as Basanti tangewali from Sholay and the boy helps with creating the various motions of film making. The commentary by the host is very engaging though scripted he manages to keep you excited at the same time involved with the whole process. At the end when the clipping of the chase scene of Basanti by the Dacoits that was part of Sholay is played with the new heroine picked from the audience you clap loudly and cheer!
We jumped on to trail cars to see the Filmy Duniya which is a tour of the seven wonders of the world, Hollywood, Bollywood, The Far East and even parts of Europe in just 20 mins. It is garish and loud and could be avoided if you are short of time.
Few meters from here in the location of the Wild Wild West show. We loved this one as it is full of energy of guns and roses straight from Hollywood movies all with sound effect and filmy fireworks. Thoroughly entertaining as you see a scene from the Wild West enacted in front of you, a bar in a deserted village, looting of the bank and wooing the girl. You must try to get a seat in the front row for this one as we did.
We saw something called the Ramoji Tower and were told you could get a birds eye view of the Ramoji city from there. I gave it a skeptical look, finding no terrace from where you could do that. We anyways went in, sat in the large lift that gives you the feeling of going up the tower and a film started playing in front of us and we were moving at high speed from ground upwards in the Ramoji city. You then realize this is a 4-D experience. The film on the screen takes you over entire Ramoji city the various gardens, fountains, sets and studios etc. Suddenly you are shaken by an earthquake and the film city comes crumbling down in front of your eyes. There is concrete flying in all directions, water pipes are broken, some of it showers on you making you wet, you touch your skin and smile. Just when you do that the mice run under your feet and tickle you and you let out a scary yelp! There is a huge thud and your lift lands on safe ground and you realize you freaked out in this show. As you step out you walk thru the ruins of Ramoji city. I loved this part of keeping the continuity of the experience before you step out into the sunny afternoon of Hyderabad.
We decided to take a lunch break at this point and go over to the food court. There is a lot of choice of hotels too. We had the Chinese platter of rice and noodles combo with vegetable manchurian followed by an ice-cream sundae.
Now refueled and ready for more fun. There was a man walking on slits attracting children. You saw people posing with the various statues of charachters from movies and some movie stars. Nearby was a gas station straight out of Hollywood and a closer look made you smile, it was actually a loo.
Post lunch we attended the Spirit of Ramoji, a music and dance show, it was about unity and diversity in the country and how films bind us through a single passion, besides cricket ofcourse!
We then went to a children's play area called Fundustan, with its colorful large sized imagery and even though we are adults we felt so excited. It is such a sunny place and you see all the children gleaming here as they walk in and out of the mouth of a benign monster, climbing up ice cream cones and yellow corn.
The most thrilling was the Borasura, its a haunted house that makes you clench hands with unknown people next to you and get out of the place safe and yet you don't want to miss the thrill, finally sliding out of the place a breathing a sigh of relief!
We ended the day by hopping on to the vintage red bus and taking a tour around the permanent sets which are scattered across the 2000 acres and is impossible to walk thru them in a single day. There is so much to see the garden where flowers are planted to match the color of the saree of a buxom heroine doing a jig. The train station and a train on rubber tyres!, the village homes and market places. The two dimensional set that looks like an airport from one side and a landmark from the other. The Mughal garden from outside and the inside looks like Vrindavan garden. We passed by a leg garden which was interspersed by sculptures of just legs in a landscaped area. The industrial structure and the disaster sets. Everything was so thrilling. We had spent almost 8 hrs at Ramoji and we had so much still to see.
Here enjoy the virtual tour from your comfortable chair and am sure you will want to visit soon.