There was a time when the Malayalam film industry used to shuttle between two locations, Pollachi and Ottappalam. The themes of Malayalam cinema then centred around moustache-twirling feudal lords and goof-ups in Tamil-Malayalam mixture.
However, things are changing in the Malayalam filmdom with a different kind of flicks taking centre stage.
The locations of most of the high-profile Malayalam films have shifted to Kochi and shooting of many are progressing in and around the city.
In fact, two popular flicks share the same location owing to which all the top-stars are in the town for the past few weeks. The crew of Mammoooty-starer Immanuel, Mohanlal’s Ladies and Gentleman and Prithviraj’s Mumbai Police are in the city while a host of others, including Dileep’s Sound Thoma, have shifted to other locations after commencing in Kochi.
The geographic features of Kochi which is a busy city, with forests, backwaters and sea at a stone's throw, make it an ideal location.
“The present Kochi is akin to Chennai a few decades back. It has reached a point where you cannot make films without Kochi. It has everything for the realisation of a movie. You can get anything at any time in Kochi even at odd times,” says veteran production controller Aroma Mohan pointing to the compatibility of the city to transform into urban or rural setting easily. He cited many hot favourite locations in and around Kochi, including FACT Ambalamugal, Eloor and Kalamassery.
“Ambalamugal is an ideal place where you can shoot a thicket and town alike. We had put up a grand set for the movie ‘Grand Master’ at the abandoned theatre on the FACT premises which can give any high profile location a run for its money,” he added. The change in the story line also has contributed to the rise of Kochi as the hot favourite of filmmakers.
“We decide locations as the story demands. Now, most of the stories suit Kochi as a location,” said production controller Vinod Shornur.
Da Thadiya, Annayum Resoolum, Kammath and Kammath, Lokpal are some of the recent flicks that were rolled out in the city while nearly a dozen are on the line.