The Silver Tips
Old Munnar, Idukki district
USP: Old-world charm and movie magic
B uilt on the site where Pankajam, the first theatre in Munnar doled out daily doses of entertainment from 1920 till the Nineties, The Silver Tips (named after a premier brand of tea) is this cool hotel with cinema (naturally) as its theme.
After a never-ending drive from Kochi with Noel Gallagher singing about winding roads and blinding lights, I am exhausted and peer at the driveway of The Silver Tips like a weary snail.Looking at the signage, however, the cinema buff in me takes over. There is a towering black-and-white signpost in the shape of a reel announcing The Silver Tips. I shake off fatigue and Gallagher calling all and sundry his ‘wonderwall', and gaze fascinated at the spiffy projector at the entrance. There is a plaque giving a short history of the projector.
I step into the Mughal-e-Azam lounge, and as I look at the softly-glowing chandeliers, I can imagine Madhubala pirouetting to ‘Pyaar kiya to darna kya'. Dinner is at Mayabazar, the multi-cuisine restaurant.
I heap my plate with all manner of food in different colours and textures while S.V. Ranga Rao as an avuncular Ghatotkacha beams from the wall. There is also a Sound of Music coffee shop where the lights are in the shape of bicycle lights in a nod to Maria and the seven Von Trapp children's outing. Post dinner, I am shown to my room.
All the 48 rooms and two suites echo the movie theme. You don't have room numbers — each room is dedicated to a film, and so you could stay at “Godfather” or “Cinema Paradiso”, “Meghe Dhaka Tara” or “Sholay”.
I stay at “Singh is Kinng”, and here too, there is no forgetting the motion picture, with the runner on the bed in the shape of a reel and the bed lamps in the shape of the director's hat! There are also stills from the movie that remind you of the good old “now showing” display cases of yore.
The corridors are dedicated to pictures of film stars as well as vintage photographs of colonial Munnar while the gym has all the six-pack gods from Sallu to Hrithik and Arnold Schwarzenegger egging you on to perform feats of incredible toughness.
With 24 frames a second whizzing past my eyes, I am too tired to sleep. So, I decide to go the whole hog and watch a movie (DVDs of all the movies the rooms are named after are available) in the conference room on a big screen. After much deliberation, I settle for “Chemmeen.”
As Pareekutty, Karuthamma and Palani play out their doomed love against the backdrop of the implacable sea, I send a silent prayer thanking the Lumiére Brothers for their magical invention. Fade out.
(The writer was at The Silver Tips at the invitation of the hotel.)