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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Day 3 - Ramoji Film City

Day 3 at Ramoji film city. Day 1 can wait.

I bought a hat at the entrance for 65 bucks. You can see me wearing it in most snaps. Reminds me of Linux, by the way. Since I am not in love, having the sun in my eyes is not a very pleasurable sensation. Even if I were, how could having UV rays scorching my retina be pleasant?

Ramoji Film City was something of a disappointment. Probably because I was expecting something really classy, like Disneyland, perhaps. They have spent a lot of money on it, but obviously money can’t buy good judgement. (Like my friend's neighbour who built a huge house for an obscene amount of money, and then gave it a bright yellow and purple gate.)

The artwork could have used more skill. Maybe not Renoir, but the graffiti on our desks at college looked like museum pieces compared to the ‘art’ there.

I wonder how they managed to find so many klutzes. I saw at least 30 dancers, and together they had about 60 left feet. Astounding!

I also gained valuable insight into human nature (Miss Marple, take a bow!). I saw all these people standing in a huge queue. No one had any idea what the queue was for. Curiosity (the same thing that killed the cat) got the better of me, and I joined the line. When I reached the end of the queue, they bundled me into a ‘ride around the world’. This was about 10 minutes after we had entered, and I still had delusions of Disneyland, and thought, ‘Cool!’ Shock and horror, we were lead through a maze where they had dressed up puppets waving at us. My God!

We ended up in gift shop at the end of the ride. Greatly shaken, I almost bought some of that useless stuff. I’m not sure why they had a lot of stuff with pictures of Inca-esque masks and totem poles. Maybe Mr. Ramoji made all his money selling timber in Brazil and is grateful to the natives for using their witchcraft and voodoo to make him RICH. (Bad joke: Why didn't the sardar put any toilets in his new mansion? Because he wanted to be filthy rich.)

The Wild West town would have caused Clint Eastwood to go into fits. Ever played Outlaws? Lucas Arts FPS game. (It had great music, by the way). It reminded me of the game, and the game had faar better graphics. If I hadn’t hung up my Smith & Wesson and turned pacifist... Thank God they didn’t do a pirate ship theme. My timbers couldn’t have stood that much strain all in one day.

Then there was the 'Spirit of Ramoji' show. Awesome! We got to see almost all their (un)skilled dancers at work together. Our energy-driven vocal performance,(a tribute to werewolves at full moon) didn’t quench the (un)enthusiasm of the dancers, so that was the end of that.

The heavily advertised Western stunt show was next. Any paandi movie would have been proud to achieve the level of twists and turns the plotless ‘story’ took. The Chinese hero (wasn’t he wearing a red shirt? Chinese, without a doubt), evidently considered himself a descendant of Tarzan, and he rescued the (again, Chinese) damsel in distress with all the finesse of a drunken ape. The explosives used were highly reminiscent of colour bombs seen exploding in the background of those old Rajnikant songs. KA-BOOM! The cute little kid dancing in the row below us generated more interest than the actual show. But on the whole, it was better than the previous show which we couldn’t endure for more than 7 minutes and 33 seconds.

Later, we went on a few rides. There was one shaped like a pendulum, which turns 360 degrees,and you sit inside it. It didn’t look too scary from below, and the other thrilling stuff behind me had dulled my senses. It wasn’t so bad when it swung forward, but backward is another story. I have a vague memory of screaming for my mother when the thing stopped (as did my heart, brain and other such insignificant systems) upside-down and suspended me some 1000 feet (or so it seemed to me then) from terra firma. I didn’t pass out, thankfully (I’m made of stronger stuff than you, or I, think). Acrophobia is no laughing matter, peoples. I hadn't stopped shaking half an hour later. They had other rides, but somehow, I just didn’t have the energy. Just as well too, becaus a couple of people threw up after the ‘Dragon Twister’, or whatever it was called.

The guided tour of the ‘city’ was in a bus that reminded me of the red buses they show whenever London is mentioned. The guide spoke excellent English. ‘ Govinda chilla-ed Laila Laila phaading his kurta here. The summer camp scene of Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was shotted here.’ Dumb movie, that, come to think of it.

The gardens were beautifully maintained. I guess that’s the only thing I really liked about the place. So-so food at the various restaurants sprinkled all over to relieve visitors of their surplus cash. The remaining notes can be gotten rid of at the overpriced souvenir shops.

The (poor) replica of the Ajanta-Ellora caves was as bad as I expected. Got stuck next to another group of Malayalis. Just my luck. PCP (paapi chellunnidam paathalam) [Where the sinner goes, is hell].

We 'shotted' a lot of snaps standing alongside larger-than-life (that’s what cinema actually is about, isn’t it?) figures (again, poorly reproduced) of characters from Hollywood productions. (Angelina Jolie would probably shoot herself). Thank you for not doing Indy Jones. The cutouts where you can place your head were done with slightly more skill than the rest of the artwork. The stonework was good. Statues, fountains, wall carvings, were all skilfully rendered.

We just wanted to get out of there somehow at the end of the day. My feet were threatening to give notice. We were really tired. Even for shopping! Now that’s what I call exhausted. Being something of a compulsive shopper, in a smart move I’ll regret for a long time, I didn’t carry much cash on the trip, and missed all the bargains. Waaahhh!

Dinner was from a restaurant specializing in Hyderabad biryanis. Yum yum yum. The last thing I remember from the day is seeing a bed coming up to meet me.

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