Rich in scenic locations that range from imposing mountain ranges through lush green valleys, floodplains with meandering waterways, all the way to the mainly serene and sometimes rocky beaches, Kerala has attracted filmmakers from both within India and abroad. Here are a few of those picturesque Kerala locations that had added charm to many feature films.
'Bahubali' featured the gigantic Athirappilly Waterfalls, India's own Niagara, in scenes that had ever since remained etched in the minds of the audience. The hero carries a 'Shivalinga' and walks by the cascade in one memorable scene.
Understandably, after the release of the film, the number of visitors to the waterfall recorded a manifold increase. A long time before 'Bahubali,' the popularity of this spectacular waterfall had crossed the Kerala borders with some outstanding song sequencing in Mani Ratnam's 'Guru,' starring Aiswarya Rai.
The rose gardens and the tea plantations appearing in the Hollywood adventure drama 'Life of Pi’ are all from Munnar. Through this landmark film telling the story of the teenager Pi Patel who survives a shipwreck in a lifeboat with an adult Bengal Tiger, director Ang Lee opened a whole new window of Munnar to the world. The song sequence of the Hindi box-office hit ‘Chennai Express’ starring Shah Rukh Khan and Dipika Padukone shot in Munnar is one among the many such listed under the hill station’s filmography.
The Bakel Fort in Kasaragod is a much sought-after shooting location in Kerala. Of the many scenes shot here for Malayalam and other Indian language films, the song sequence of the Tamil film ‘Bombay’ with Aravind Swamy and Manisha Koirala is probably the one with the most endearing emotional connect. The breeze, the waves breaking on the rocks, the impassive ramparts of the fort and the luxuriant greenery around all combined to enhance the tone of longing in the song. Lovers have not stopped flocking to Bakel Fort since then and the number of regular tourists has only increased.
Thekkady too deservingly benefited from films in terms of the increased popularity and tourist footfall. A R Rahman's foot-tapping 'Jiya Jale..' song, filmed in Thekkady featuring Shah Rukh Khan and Priety Zinta in the super hit Hindi film 'Dil Se' became such a rage that its location and the song's Malayalam lines were both eagerly lapped up by the Hindi audience. Thekkady which combines natural beauty and biodiversity has since then been a favorite destination for north Indian tourists.
Sequences of several Hindi films such as 'Dil se,' 'Ek diwana thaa,' 'Baaghi' etc. had Alappuzha's iconic backwaters and houseboats as the background. The vast expanse of paddy fields and the boat race of the district have also become part of many films.
Many did not know 'Meesappulimala' till the Malayalam film 'Charlie' came out. In fact, Meesappulimala in Idukki is the second highest peak in the Western Ghats and is also the highest trekking track in the whole of South India. The peak also featured in the Hindi film 'Chennai Express' in a song sequence.
Kerala, with its right mix of breathtaking natural features continues to attract tourists and filmmakers from the world over.