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Creating a scene

Great weather, friendly locals, and a fast-growing city that still retains traces of its rural past. That’s what draws filmmakers by the droves to Coimbatore and its suburbs. Idhu Kathirvelan Kaadhal was shot here, so was the climax of the hit Pandiyanaadu. Pollachi, that is less then 50 km away, is also a hot favourite among directors, including Priyadarshan, who transformed the town into a Hindi heartland gaon for Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Billu.

Right now, the crew of Poojai, Vishal’s latest film with director Hari, is in the city. “Shruti Haasan and I shot at Aloft, Le Meridien, Fun Mall, Ganga, Yamuna, Kaveri Poojai, and on most key roads. It’s really nice shooting here. It has developed a lot in the last decade and feels like home. And for outdoor shots, this weather is a godsend,” he smiles.

Parthiepan made nearly 30 per cent of his latest Kadhai Thiraikadhai Vasanam Iyakkam in Coimbatore. “Arya’s character works in a construction company and I shot at the Sree Daksha apartments that are under construction in Vadavalli. I wanted hills and greenery in the background. Someone who saw the rushes asked if the place was Switzerland; parts of Coimbatore are still so pristine,” he says.

Dhanabal Padmanabhan shot Krishnaveni Panjaalai in the textile mills and villages in Pollachi and Udumalpet. The film set in the 80s mirrored the living conditions of mill workers there. “Udumalpet is my hometown. For one of the songs, we also recreated the Udumlapet of the 80s complete with tea shops,” he says.

Pollachi and Udumalpet, which are about 50 km away , were hot spots for film shoots in the 70s and 80s. “Films such as Ejaman, Kizhakku Vaasal and Chinna Gounder dealt with rural stories and became big hits,” he adds.

Not many know that Kamal Hassan’s Thevar Magan was shot in Pollachi. Many Sathyaraj – Manivannan films were shot here too. “Pollachi lends the perfect flavour for village-themed movies and song sequences. You have mini towns, rivers, hills in the background, black soil and beautiful weather, says Dhanabal. His film crew was surprised when they saw Poozhankinaru village. “Every street was so clean. The houses were well maintained. There was greenery, clean bathrooms… the cleanliness comes from their orderliness at their workplace in textile mills.”

“Coimbatore is a paradise,” declares director Krishna, who shot the Surya-Jyothika-Bhumika starrer Sillunu Oru Kaadhal. “I did my schooling at St. Michaels. The protagonist is my script was an engineering student and Coimbatore, an education hub, was a perfect choice. We shot in Gandhipuram, R.S. Puram, Race Course, TNAU, PSG Tech, KG Theatre, Cross Cut Road signal, Flyover, Brooke Bond Road, KMCH (Kovai Medical Center Hospital),” he says. Some of the scenes with Jyothika and Bhumika were shot in Avanashi and also at Jenney’s Club on Avanashi Road.

The director set up a football gallery at the PSG College of Technology to film football sequences involving the hero.

As film makers moved towards urban stories, locations within city limits became popular. “People here are lively, energetic and humble. And, who wouldn’t want to enjoy the lovely weather,” Krishna asks.

Films in Pollachi

Filmmaker Dhanabal Padmanabhan rates Rajinikanth’s Ejaman, directed by R.V. Udayakumar, as the film that best captured the village flavour and beauty of Pollachi.

Other popular films — Thevar Magan, Murattu Kaalai, Kizhakku Vaasal, Chinna Gounder, Vazhkkai Chakkaram, Priyadarshan’s film Billu starring Shah Rukh Khan, and parts of Mani Ratnam’s Bombay.


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Printable version | Jan 15, 2022 11:28:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/creating-a-scene/article6089611.ece

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