There was a time when Malayalam cinema wandered around Chennai, precisely Kodambakkam, where every artist and technical staff had a home, away from their greener state. But a little after the eighties, suddenly Mollywood filmmakers realized that Kerala has got something more to offer than its greener pastures, and gradually shifted much of its activity to the state, now more centred around Kochi, Thodupuzha, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.
But the latest of the locales that have become a hot favourite seems to be in the district of Wayanad. The green paradise nestled among the mountains is becoming the desired destination of the tinsel town. The desi cinema is tending to focus its camera to this beautiful hill station lately. Due to the success of the films shot in this clean and pristine land, the locations in the district have all of a sudden become notable, with those movies.
It was Ramu Karyatt who first captured the hypnotising beauty of the land in each frames for the movie Nellu (1974). When Balu Mahendra visited Wayanad in relation to the shooting of Nellu, he showered praises on it describing it as a place “wherever the camera is open to, by design it captures scenic beauty”. Prem Nazir described the place as the 'Vrindavan of Kerala'. Following this, the enchanting locale became the set for cinemas like Indradhanussu (1979), Varikkuzhi (1982) and Panchami (1976). However, some films shot in this place could not make a mark at the box office, which tempted the people in cinema to consider the place an ill-omened one. Aranyakam (1988), Dinaratrangal (1988), Mizhiyithalil Kannirumayi and Abkari (1988) are some other films that were shot in Wayanad but met with similar fate in the box office, which made the film industry crowded with superstitions to consider it as a luckless place. This thought was further reinforced with the failure of Ranjan Pramod’s Mohanlal starrer Photographer (2006).
But now once again, Wayanad is drawing back the cinema industry to its beautiful locales. Renjith’s Thirakkadha, which featured Prithviraj and Priyamani in lead roles was completely bloomed in Wayanad. The film was noted with its telling theme and presentation and also found a place in the chart tops. Again after a couple of years, Renjith himself came back to the district for the movie Indian Rupee with Prithviraj. The success of the film threw away all the superstitions regarding the locations in Wayanad. Renjith’s Nandanam (2002), Lenin Rajendran’s Makaramanju, Anyar (2003) and Jayaraj’s Bheebhatsa (2002) are some films that were filmed in Wayanad in recent times. The 2009 super hit historical film Pazhassi Raja, starring Mammootty was also widely filmed in the picturesque locations of Wayanad.
When megastar Mammootty’s son Dulquar debuted to cinema through Second Show, it also became a cinema of Wayanad. The shooting of a film in which Padmapriya plays the female protagonist was held in Muthanga in recent days. Now it is learned that Renjith is gearing up to the district once again for his latest Mohanlal starrer Spirit.
The shooting of Sasikumar’s new film in which Jayasurya plays the lead role and a film of Saratchandran Wayanad are also scheduled to start at Wayanad soon. Adding to the flavour, it has been a sought out location for several Tamil and Telugu movie makers also. The improved infrastructure and accommodation facilities compared to the past are the factors that now attract more and more film workers to the place.