HYDERABAD: A young woman’s shriek resonated inside the iconic Hill Fort palace, popularly known as Ritz Hotel, that has been lying abandoned and away from public gaze for the last 21 years. On Saturday afternoon, she ran through the ruins as a group of goons chased her. Left with no option, she garners all her courage and tries to retaliate. And the director shouts “CUT” !
The 103-year-old building and the sprawling surroundings that is in possession of Telangana State Tourism Development Corporation is the shooting location for an upcoming Telugu film. Though the erstwhile Ritz Hotel, in the 1990’s, has been location for several films, the tourism department has started renting out the premises for film shootings of late.
“We are ready to give access of the premises for any event provided there won’t be any damage to the structure. A film shooting is going on now, and in future also, we are willing to let out the space which is lying idle,” said B Manohar, in-charge MD of the corporation. The last time the premises was used for an event was in November 2015 when city-based Shrishti Art Gallery in association with Telangana tourism held a art exhibition.
Saturday was the sixth and last day of shoot for the yet-to-be titled and soon-to-be-released Telugu movie starring Allari Naresh and Sunil. Director Bhimaneni Srinivasa Rao has shot the film’s entire climax of nearly 25 minutes here at the Hill Fort palace. A few scenes of recently released Bhagmati were also shot in the same place.
The corporation is charging about Rs 1.2 lakh inclusive of GST for each day’s shoot. “We needed a place which is aloof. The architecture and ruins are ideal for our climax sequence. The location with vast open space, bushes, lots of rooms, cellar, terrace etc is an ideal shooting location,” Srinivasa Rao told Express, adding that he would love to shoot an entire movie here provided the Tourism Corporation considers reducing the charges.
On asking why would anyone choose such location when real-like movie sets and reputed studios are available, he said, “I agree that even a medium budget movie cannot afford the corporation’s rent but a movie set of similar nature would cost Rs 60 lakh to Rs 1 crore per day and we have finished our seven-day schedule with Rs 7.2 lakh.”
Hill Fort Palace
It was built in 1915 by Sir Nizamat Jung, who served as chief justice in the Nizam’s government. Later in 1929, it was sold to the government and it was then designated as the official residence of Prince Moazzam Jah, who happened to be the chairman of the City Improvement Board.
The Government of India, who owned the property post Hyderabad’s accession had handed over the same to Ritz Hotel Company on lease in 1955 from where the hotel operated till late 1990s. The Tourism Corporation took the possession of the property in 1997. The building housed on a 6-acre land has been lying idle since late 1990s