Meet location guru Ramji who has organised shoots across the world for over 1,000 films
Ramji is known as the location guru by people in the film industry. Name the country and he'll tell you all about it. Extensively travelled, he has arranged locations for the shooting of over 1,000 films in all the South Indian languages and in Hindi, Marathi and Bengali too. As chairman of Travel Masters India Corporation, which has branches in different places in the country, he has organised shooting for almost all the top heroes — Sivaji Ganesan, Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Vijay, Vikram, N. T. Rama Rao, Nageswara Rao and Aamir Khan. It was Ramji again who was instrumental in arranging the shooting of Enthiran in Brazil. Director Shankar called me to fix a location for his new film, Enthiran. He wanted me to choose an exotic location where nobody has filmed before. I suggested a few places. In June 2008, director Shankar, cameraman Rathnavelu and I went location hunting Austria, Germany, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. Shankar selected Peru and Brazil for two songs. When we were in Brazil he selected around 100 girls for the dance sequences. ‘Kadhal Anukkal' was shot at Lencois Maranhenses (Northern Brazil), one of the seven natural wonders of the world. ‘Kilimanjaro' was picturised at the scenic Machu Picchu (Peru), one of the seven wonders of the world.” Talking about the stars he has worked with, Ramji says Rajinikanth is simple and down-to-earth. “I have done three films with him — Baba, Chandramukhi and Enthiran.
As for Kamal Haasan, Ramji says he is a bundle of talent. “I have worked with him on almost all his films. He is a good friend for over 30 years.”
According to Ramji, it was actor Ajith who taught him how to use a camera. “He is lovable and respects others. Like Ajith, Vikram too has no airs. It was Chiranjeevi who gave me my first break with his Telugu film Rudra Nethra which was shot in Singapore. For the Hindi Ghajini, I was in Namibia with Aamir Khan. He knows the nitty-gritty of filmmaking. For Mani Ratnam's Guru, I worked with Abhishek Bachchan. Inquisitive, Abhishek would ask probing questions about the place and its people.”
Recalling actor Vijay's observation about how he talks non-stop, Ramji says, “Vijay is mostly silent. He was amused how I was able to talk so much. I said it's my job and the gift of the gab has helped me scale great heights.”
Ever since Ramji entered the industry in 1986, he has been hunting for locations around the world and continues to do so. “Next year is my silver jubilee in the industry and I wish to celebrate it with the stars,” he says with a smile.