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Thursday, August 11, 2005

(Ulagam Sutrum) Kodambakkam('s World tour)

Need to praise some of our prominent directors like Maniratnam, BharathiRaja, BaluMahendra for one thing. They didn't fall into that trap of Overseas shooting like their young counterparts (Correct me guys, if I'm wrong). They seem to be confident of their capabilities & the exotic Indian locations, without overseas glamour.

Why do I appreciate them, on this count?

Recently, I had a chance to watch the song 'Sil sil silalaa ..' from 'Unnai Ninaithu' (Surya / Sneha), picturised in Phuket, eventhough it didn't fit in. Director Vikraman, who had never been on an overseas shoot earlier, fell into the trap in this movie. He is not the only one to blame. Nowadays, it has become a habit of the Kodambakkam crew to pack their bags and go to some foreign locations in the last two / three weeks, before the film's release.

If the producer is comfortable with the finance, every director/hero is packing the bag, inspite of the need. Even if the story revolves around the village pair, they may go to Switzerland or Greece or Newzealand for a dream song and dance in ultra modern outfits. I'm not against this new trend. Definitely I agree that, it adds rich value to the film. But let them execute it nicely.

It doesn't gel well if you see a song in a foreign location with some strange outfits. Just few instances..

- 'Bommalaattam ...' song of 'Bose' shot in Europe, with Srikanth & Sneha in folk costumes.
- 'Thimsukattai ...' song of 'Thirumalai' shot again in Europe, with Vijay & Jothika in folk dresses.
- The Extras (Westerners) in Indian folk costumes in 'Kuuttan choru...' song of 'Aayudham' (Prashanth,Sneha) shot in London.
- Extras (foreigners again) in our Railway porter costumes (lungi) in 'Ennoda laila..' song of 'Badri' (Vijay, Monal..)

May be our directors want to Indianaise their movies even in a foreign land. Vaazhga avarkalathu Indhiya patru... however, they can reconsider this wish and do better in the future.

How did this trend pickup?

Initially, the crew used to go abroad only if story demanded or if it was woven like that. We will be taken around everywhere and allowed to feel the place. If the producer feels that the film is overshooting the budget, they come back to India and settle down with the local story (!!!). Just have a look into few, which went around the world with a story....

- MGR in 'Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban' on 'Japan Expo' of 1970s along with some adventures in Singapore and neigbhouring asian countries. I remember 'Pacchai killi Muthuch charam...' song shot in these places with a Thai/Philipino actress.

- 'Ninaithale Inikkum' lifted the 70s audience once again to ASEAN countries with 'Engeyum eppodhum ..' plus few more songs.

- Eventhough Sujatha's novel 'Priya' was based in Paris, the movie crew decided to place it in Singapore. People might not have forgotten 'Akkarai Seemai...' 'Sriramanin Srideviye..' shot in Singapore and 'Enn uyir Neethane...' shot in Hongkong of those days.

- 'Ullasa Paravaikal' as well shifted to Europe. Nobody can forget 'Germaniyin sentheen malare..' song of SPB. But I have a doubt here.. I remember seeing Paris Louvre Museum and the nearby arch in the song. Did they asssume that the audience may not find big difference between yesteryear Germany & France(!!!)? Can anyone validate my observation?

- The title itself carried 'Japanil Kalyanaraman' to another 'Japan Expo' of 1980s. Eventhough the film didn't do that well, 'Chinna poo Chinna poo...' song remains in my memory still, with those seasonal white flowers of Japan.

Some more to the above category, are Suresh Menon's 'Puthiya Mugam' (Srilanka), Vikram's 'King' (Hongkong), Prashanth's 'Goodluck' (Malaysia & Star Cruise), Dhanush's 'Pudukkottaiyilirunthu Saravanan' (Singapore-Malaysia-Burma... similar to 'Gopal Palpodi'advt), Madhavan's 'Nala Dhamayanthi' (Sydney), Prashanth's 'London' (with many local studio sets as well), Jayam Ravi's 'MKSOM' (with 'aiyo aiyo' song in KL, Malaysia), Mamooty's 'Junior Senior' (KL, Malaysia) etc., Do you recall any Shivaji movies in this cat.,?

Should the producers spend so much for a movie?

No need!! Nowadays, you have instant foreign songs like instant Bru coffee.. The following movies, captured some exotic places very nicely, eventhough the story didn't demand them. As a matter of fact, this prompted many of our Indians to go on personal travel (Including me). Anybody challenging this fact?

Phuket / Langkawi - Charlie chaplin (Muthalam santhipil..) Chatrapathy (Nee Ragashiyamai..) Parthen Rasithen (Poove Punnagai Kaattu..)

KL,Malaysia - Anniyan (Kannum Kannum ....), Nanda's 'Punnagai Poove'

Australia - Melbourne Great Ocean Road in 'Kaathalar Thinam' (Enna Vilai Alaghe..), Sydney in 'Indian' (Telephone mani..)

Newzealand - My favourite 'Mottu Ondru malarnthida..' from 'Kushi' and 'Swasame Swasame..' from 'Thenali'

Egypt Pyramid - Beautifully shot in 'Kandukonden Kandukonden' (Enna solla Poogiraai..) and in an Unconnected song of 'Thirumalai' (Neeya pesiyathu..)

Canada - 'Pancha Thanthiram' (Unnodu Kaathal...) with some addl scenes happening there.

South Africa - 'Naam Iruvar Namakku Iruvar' (Forgot the song.. Is it 'Kattana Ponnu' or 'Intha Siripinai...'?), 'Avvai Shanmugi' (kaathala Kaathala..), 'Thirupacchi' (Kannum Kannum thaan...)

Greece - Superbly picturised in that 'Enthan Nenjai Kollai kollum..' song of 'JJ' with the lively Pooja & Madhavan. Loved the colors in that song.

Romania - First film attempt by any international crew, achieved by Charan-Ajith-Pooja team for 'Attagasam's 'Naachonduru Icchondru..' (BTW.. do you remember the terrible flight experience on their return, from Milan airport?)

Amsterdam - The great flower show with great visuals in 'Anniyan'

You have lot more movies filled with songs in foreign locations to add in this category, like - Ragasiya Police, Jodi, Unnai Thedi, Paattali, Samurai, Parthale Paravasam, Tham, Kuthu, Priyamaana Thozhi, Vasool Raja MBBS, Chandramukhi etc., (You can even list some more.. leave it to you, guys)

I would say the height of all these movies, was 'Jeans' (in my perception). I liked the richness in the movie, added to Aish's presence. Filled with so many nicely picturised songs like 'Columbus...' 'Enakee Enakka..' 'Varayo thozhi.. ', the movie opened up the can for the new generation technicians. My favourite in this movie was 'Poovukkul olinthirukkum ...' with all those wonderful places of this world. This song prompted me to resolve that I need to visit as many places as possible covered in it plus a lot more, which I really achieved to some extent.

So.. Directors, pl. come out with nice songs in nice locations.. I would like to add to my list, for my future trips. Eventhough I appreciated some prominent directors in the beginning, I will support you as well if you present it in a better way!!!
164th post


Blogger Kaps said...


SUN TV Neengal Kaetta padal compere job is avlbl....do u wanna take it.

i am sick and tired of seeing the same foreign locations in Indian movies. it's time they showed some Indian locations. every other song is now shot in Swiss or NZ.....no more novelty value. there was some sarath kumar movie which was shot in mauritius or maldives. music was by lakshmikant pyarelal.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 5:28:00 PM  
Blogger Cipher said...

Ram.C how could u miss Konja Neram-Chandramukhi? Istanbul,I guess.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 5:46:00 PM  
Blogger ada-paavi!!!! said...

ram wat matters it the picturiasation of the song,
in kakha kakha both ennai konjam and ondra rennda were shot inside india, no fancy locations etc. ennai konjam ws infact shot on ECR, ondra renda in a lake house, even then the song still remains in my mind. the picturisation matters, the overall effect of the song matters, not just the location. i dont think location plays a very important role in a song, wat is more important is wat thelead actors r doing (apart from dancing) and the lights, camra angle, etc, locations ar like add ons not an ntegral part of a song, even a simple road can be transformed into a beautiful location and can create a wonderful song, its everything apart from the location which does this!

Thursday, August 11, 2005 5:53:00 PM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Kaps.. I would luv to take it. Need to be freelancing job!!! And the sarath movie, which you are talking about is 'Ragasiya Police' which I had included already. I remember reading somewhere that the song was shot in Seychelles. Not 100% sure.

Cipher.. U r right. Since it was not shot impressively, I didn't write more about it, eventhough I included in my list.

Vatasan.. I agree with you. That's why I started with our prominent directors in the first para... When I realised that the 'Siddharth-Trisha' song of 'Ayutha ezuthu' was shot near Chennai, I was astonished. Wonderfully shot.

Still, Travelling is an exciting experience, which I enjoy very much. So, apart frm those exotic locations from India, foregin locations can also be explored, isn't it?

Thursday, August 11, 2005 6:22:00 PM  
Blogger Kaps said...

The Ondra renda lake house is in Sri Lanka. It seems shooting in SriLanka worked out to be cheaper than India for Kaaka Kaaka. Further they didn't have to deal with the crowd which normally gathers when a film shooting takes place in India.

Thanks for letting me know that about Ragasiya Police.

Thursday, August 11, 2005 7:53:00 PM  
Blogger Maran said...

In an interview in Malaysia the director of the movie priya sakhi was asked why shoot songs overseas? He answered "to provide something new to the audience". When asked about cost etc he said audience shouldn't be the concern about that, the producer should.

Friday, August 12, 2005 1:07:00 AM  
Blogger Chakra Sampath said...

Thats a nice compilation. Whenever i see "poovukkul olindhriukkum.." song from Jeans, I would resolve to travel to some of the places... in the last 2 years, I haven't travelled much as I used to do before.

Agree with you that the foreign locales provide richness to the movie.. but if they can, as you have pointed out with AE example, they can do bring out the richness by filming in India.

Another thing.. films serve as a medium of advertisement.. if some unexplored part of India is shown in a movie, ppl might tend to visit that place and that would be an encouragement for domestic tourism.

Friday, August 12, 2005 1:16:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Kaps, was it Srilanka? Beautiful location for that song!!!!

Maran.. U r right. Producers are the souls who are the ultimate victims for this foreign wish.

Chakra.. We do get nice movies shot in Indian location. However the attention goes towards foreign locations, because of the surroundings and visuals. If our guys promote our tourist places or some unexplored location, then local tourism will definitely boom.

Friday, August 12, 2005 2:43:00 AM  
Blogger Kaps said...

I remember reading somewhere that kaaka Kaaka climax (boathouse) and some songs were shot in Nuwara Eliya a scenic hill station in Srilanka. this place has tea plantations and nice golf courses.

Friday, August 12, 2005 3:07:00 AM  
Blogger WA said...

Wow, ivlavu detailed-aa ezhudirukeenga. Very impressive.

Friday, August 12, 2005 3:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Prasanna said...

Hi Ram,

Strongly suggest that u seriously consider publishing ur cine-based writings into a book...extensive coverage + intensive research...sooper!!

Had heard that Sivaji's 'Sivandha Mann' was shot abroad...dunno where, though!

Many foreign countries like Aus,NZ offer sops for shooting...so,guess it works cheaper to shoot there, without any crowd-problems!


Friday, August 12, 2005 4:42:00 AM  
Blogger ada-paavi!!!! said...

yes kaps n ram it was SL (cheaper to build there than in india)
chumma ongalikku travel pannumna, discovery travel n living is better than 2 jokers dressed like idiots dancing wit a bunch of fools in exotic locations. if the movie demands it like priya then fine, but it shudnt be ajar like in anniyan!

Friday, August 12, 2005 5:40:00 AM  
Blogger Arvind said...


I have to slightly disagree with you on the 'need' to shoot songs/sequences in foreign land. If it is a dream-sequence, 'exoticity' (exotic/city) is definitely something that would to the 'dream' ambience. But then as you point out, why make the foreign dances wear 'folk costume' ? to add to the ethnicity of the song

Is there a need to shoot songs outside our beautiful locale - it banks on the mindset that 'anything foreign is supreme than anything local' (no judgemental connotation to that statement and not limited to movies...remember Rasna advertised as Rasna international !, Reynolds - for love of God, it is a pen ! why should it be international ?)

Since this complex of foreign=supreme for marketability and saleability. Whether it brings in more returns than the investment to shoot such a movie - is quite debatable !

Friday, August 12, 2005 7:43:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

kaps / WA ..thanks

Prasanna.. If I am not wrong, 'Sivantha Mann' was shot in Egypt. I don't remember seeing the movie. Can someone validate this???

Vatsan.. It is the human tendency to take some visuals from the glamorous big screen than a documentary. So, I may also fall on the movies instead of Discovery channel, for some glamorous locations.

Eventhough the 'anniyan' songs didn't fit in the movie, on its own they were shot beautifully. (you can take 'Kathalar thinam' songs. visuals were better than our hero Kunal in those songs)

Friday, August 12, 2005 3:20:00 PM  
Blogger Ram.C said...


I agree u with your folk costume picturisation. It may not be required. Even if they want to shoot with some Indianised dress, they can do like 'Kumari..' song of 'anniyan' which was shot only in the flower show. (not like 'Bose' or 'Thirupacchi' in which onlookers strange faces were also captured!!)

'Foreign is supreme' concept is still followed in many products, I agree. It is avoidable. However, 'location' wise it is still Ok to go for some outdoor places.

Our Tamil movie industry is churning out 50 movies a year. They have 7-8 movie knots only, which they need to recycle and patch up with comedies and songs. So, their mind is looking for alternate patches to make their movies new. (Either they are not confident about their films' succeess or they need richness to their movies).

So, they go out.... How long they can show Ooty as an exotic location, eventhough it may be? We are also bored isn't it. Already they have shifted to many unexplored places like Muttukaadu, Kulu Manali, and a lot more. Many more Indian locations may come out in future movies.

so, as far as the producers can accomodate, they may still go out. The only issue is whether it gels with the movie. All in the Directors hands.

Friday, August 12, 2005 3:31:00 PM  
Blogger Raju said...

wow.. exhaustive and thorough analysis.. enjoyed reading it.. My favorite among all is "Telephone mani pol".

Friday, August 12, 2005 4:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Sundaresan said...

Super analysis...i am amazed with the info you have got...film news anandanukku pottiya neenga poidalaamnu thonudhu..am seriously suggesting you.

Friday, August 12, 2005 6:50:00 PM  
Blogger visithra said...

Nuwara Eliya has that house on the lake? Been there beautiful place but I thought it was more famous for its waterfalls?

Vatsan so far in all movies showcasing malaysia, anniyan has been the only one who gave it a stylised look - all others look so cheap as if some amateur cinematographer had been shooting. So for that Id hail Anniyan's capture of KL.

Friday, August 12, 2005 8:34:00 PM  
Blogger vee-jay said...

Ram, good blog!
Even better post. Really wonder how you compiled all those list of songs picturised in foreign locations.
While talking about that, i wonder if these actors/ actresses dont feel embarrassed with all those strange costumes on and dancing monkey-style. I have seen many songs picturised in foreign locations where the natives would be just too curious or laughing at the shooting.
One recent addition - I dont know which movie, there was this girl in pavadai-thavani (half-saree)dancing and looking for her partner in a location which was covered in snow!!

Saturday, August 13, 2005 12:35:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

GP.. thx. I do like that song.. particularly the scene on top of the Sydney bridge and the kangaroo scenes.

Visithra.. Eventhough 'anniyan' was shot in 'Petronas' and 'KL airport', some people asked me whether it is a neatly constructed indoor ste!!! What do you call it? A credit to the team who didn't show up the identity of those places.. which can be identified with those people who can feel those places. Anyhow, as you said it presented a rich look.

Vee-Jay, Thnx for dropping by. U R right about the foreign onlookers. It would be strange for them definitely, since they might not have seen street dances. The last line.. LOL. Now, I'm curious to know about that movie..!!!

Saturday, August 13, 2005 2:49:00 AM  
Blogger keerthi said...

very good compilation.
i remembr the lavender gardens in both Boys and one Vijay movie..
they were gloomy and a great picturisation.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 4:49:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Sundaresan ..thanks.

Keerthi.. I think 'Boys' was shot in Newzealand (not 100% sure). The song which you are talking about with Vijay&Reema Sen is 'July malargale..'. I am not sure, where it was shot.

Incidentally today, I happened to watch 'Priyasakhi' song shot in Dubai. That was awesome... starting with that 'Palm tree' type Island follwed by the grand 'Burj Al Arab hotel' built there in Jumeirah Beach Rd..... (which has one of the costliest rooms in the world)

Saturday, August 13, 2005 5:02:00 AM  
Blogger Ramana Siddharth said...

barathiraja has also hopped into the oversees bandwagen his kangalal kaidu sei was shot oversees(more than half the film)..switzerland,newzeland and all..

Saturday, August 13, 2005 7:34:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

siddharth.. thanks for the info. I didn't watch the movie and didn't even had a chance to see the songs. so, I didn't notice it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 7:41:00 AM  
Blogger tt_giant said...

Not sure if someone else has commented about this: In kannathil muthamittal, did Mani go to Srilanka or kadhao-adichify in kerala or somewhere?

Saturday, August 13, 2005 7:55:00 AM  
Blogger Aatma said...

Ram, there is a very good reason why they do foriegh shoots - DO u know that it is far cheaper to shoot a song in the streets of Zurich than shooting a song in the sets of Madras studio. In an interview for the movie Giri, the director said that it cost 3 times more to shoot the song in a studio than going to Zurich. It is easier, goverments out there give u very good rate.

Plus people used to enjoy seeing these locales. As you said about Ullagam sutrum vallibhan, my dad used to say that the movie showed people so many different locales, that many will never be able to see.

Saturday, August 13, 2005 1:15:00 PM  
Blogger Narayanan Venkitu said...

Ram, super coverage. Amazing how you came up with such a big list.! Thank you.

This trend in movies, started like you mentioned from ...Ulagam suttrum valiban...Or was there another movie before that.!

My favorite is Ninaithaalae Inikkum.!

Saturday, August 13, 2005 7:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Deepak.. I had this doubt, while I was finalising this post. I feel that he didn't shoot there in SL. Should have shot in some Indian location only. He was the one who used to recreate so many sets in Chennai itself.. like 'Nayagan'. He might hv done it in "K..M..." as well.

Aatma.. The 'Economical' factor is possible. Nowadays, Singapore Govt is giving so many concessions for Indian Movie producers and TV serial Producers. Of late, I had seen couple of serials shifting to Singapore like 'Metti Oli', 'Aastitva' (Zee TV) and many more.

Mr.Narayanan.. I was not sure whether there were any other movie shot overseas, prior to USV. So, I started from USV...

Sunday, August 14, 2005 4:00:00 AM  
Blogger Vidya said...

hey nice post. Also would like to add that i have an uncle whose into movies and stuff and he says that there is so much incentive to shoot in international locations. He takes care of all Kamal Hassan's movies and recently has also done chandramukhi. Infact in a month he is away for 20 odd days location hunting...

Sunday, August 14, 2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Vidya said...

infact it was because of him that i even heard about places like kyrgyzstan. They have done a lot of shooting there and now are moving away from the usual places like Swiss Alps and the pristine beaches of Maldives to greener and better pasture.. here's to many more beautiful countries and mind blowing scenery in our movies ;-)

Sunday, August 14, 2005 11:35:00 AM  
Blogger Balaji said...

'ponniyin selvan' is the latest addition to the list of movies where songs in foreign locations don't fit in.

Monday, August 15, 2005 11:33:00 AM  
Blogger Ram.C said...

Vidya.. agree with you. Ur uncle into cine industry.. so, u can get more cine trivia...

balaji.. Radha Mohan never tried foreign locations in 'azaghiya theeye' since it was low budget movie. Since AM.Ratnam was aggresively promoting his son, Radha Mohan would have fallen into this trap.

Monday, August 15, 2005 3:45:00 PM  
Blogger Ram said...

I wish that they would show us a small footnote on these scenes to say where these scenes are shot!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005 1:32:00 PM  
Blogger Packersandmovers Chennai said...

That is really interesting!

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016 2:34:00 AM  

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