Hyderabad: They have been there right from the black and white era. From the smoke billowing steam engines to the blink-and-you-miss bullet trains of the present, the railways have been a part of cinema for long, especially in Tollywood.
With about 2.5 crore people travelling by trains across the country, scenes involving railway stations, train bogies and so on have been used to create an emotional bond with the audience.
From the conventional trains to the Hyderabad Metro Rail’s swanky interiors, the original environs of a train and station have been opted for by many filmmakers, in spite of a full-fledged railway station set in Ramoji Film City. The South Central Railway’s (SCR) stations in and around Hyderabad therefore remain to be popular destinations for Telugu film shootings, and even for some from other language film industries in the country.
According to SCR officials, railway stations in Kacheguda, Vikarabad, Timmapur, Khairatabad and Nagulapalli apart from the Diesel Loco Shed and EMU Car Shed in Moulali are among the most popular locales.
“In fact, it has turned out to be an additional source of revenue with the zone earning over Rs 60 lakh on film shootings last year,” a senior official said.
And some of the scenes shot in these railway stations have turned out to be those that remain etched in the viewer’s memory. For instance, in the recently released film, ‘Jersey’, the scene with the hero (Nani) in the Timmapur railway station as a train passes by, many insist, stands out as one of the best scenes in the movie.
In another recent movie, ‘Majili’, several scenes have been shot at the Railway Playgrounds, Secunderabad. This apart, films such as ‘Hello Guru Prema Kosame’, ‘NTR Mahanayakudu’, ‘Savyasachi’ and ‘Padi Padi Leche Manasu’ were shot in different railway stations in the city.
In films like ‘Fidaa’, ‘Sitamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu’, ‘Atharintiki Daaredi’, ‘Mirapakay’, ‘Venky’ and several others, scenes have been extensively shot at railway stations and on moving trains. Even in Mahesh Babu’s ‘Pokiri’ and Rajamouli’s ‘Sye’, fights and key scenes were shot in the Khairatabad station.
The fact that filmmakers somehow manage to get over all the difficulties and still shoot with the railways included, despite the tough procedures for permission and security issues, shows how intertwined the railway tracks are with film reels.
Permission costs between Rs 25,000 to 1L a day
To shoot a foreign film, it requires permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs, External Affairs and Railway Ministry while for any Indian film, the Chief Public Relations Officer (CPRO) from the zone concerned grants permission.
SCR CPRO Ch. Rakesh said a license fee of Rs 25,000 to Rs 1.3 lakh per day has to be paid to the Railways depending on the prominence of the place for shooting.
“If they want to shoot scenes in moving trains, a fee of Rs 5 lakh needs to be paid per day. For this, we provide five coaches and an engine mostly on the Vikarabad-Wadi and Vikarabad –Bidar sections,” he said.