World record-breaking Ramoji Film City in India set to add yet more attractions
Ramoji Film City (RFC) is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s largest integrated film studio complex. It covers an area of almost 2,500 acres and is based 30 km from the city of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states in India.
Rajeev Jalnapurkar (right) is CEO of Ramoji Film City. Blooloop spoke to him about this unique city and his plans for its future.
Jalnapurkar is an acknowledged and much-fêted expert in the management, operations, design, development and promotion of theme parks and attractions. A graduate in leisure management, he has three decades of experience in the sector.
Jalnapurkar – a Pillar of the Entertainment Industry
Jalnapurkar has been a member of IAAPA since 2002, and a member of the Asian Education Sub–Committee of IAAPA since 2015. He has been part of the organisational team responsible for the training programme for the Indian Association of Amusement Parks and Industries for 14 years. He is associated with IAAPA, CII, and FICCI in promoting theme parks in India. In addition he is a member of the Asia Pacific Government Relations Subcommittee for 2017.
Jalnapurkar served as the COO for Adlabs Entertainment Limited and spearheaded a team for the launch and promotion of their theme park Adlabs Imagica from 2008-2011.
Jalnapurkar is extremely active on the world stage. Back in 1984, he represented India in the Olympic Science Conference, held in Los Angeles. He has also presented several papers, including one at the International Conference on Impact of Movies & Television on Tourism. This was organised by the School of Hotel & Tourism Management, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 2013. He also read a paper at the Theme Park & Resorts World Asia Congress at the InterContinental Pudong, Shanghai, China in 2012.
RFC won the coveted Golden Pony Award in Genoa, Italy, in 2007: Jalnapurkar was there to accept it. He was awarded the Best Professional in Marketing by Safari India in 2013.
A Skilled Multi-taster – from Design to Development
Jalnapurkar’s journey with the Ramoji Group began in 1996, when he joined as a consultant to design fitness and sports facilities. He rose to General Manager of Ramoji Film City in 1999, eventually becoming CEO.
He was the main coordinator for attractions such as Eureka; Fundustan; Wings, the Bird Park; the Butterfly Park; and Sahas – Ramoji Adventure Land. He worked throughout the initial phases from designing, developing to implementation of the projects in Ramoji Film City with the help of an internal team.
It can be hard to comprehend the sheer scale of RFC. It has the capacity to accommodate 50 film units at the same time. The Film Studio Complex offers a complete range of pre and post production film-making services.
It is not only the largest but, arguably, the most beautiful film studio facility in the world. It’s no surprise that its exquisite range of settings make it a popular film location choice.
Ramoji Film City to date has facilitated 3,000 films in all Indian languages and 6 Hollywood films. They also cater for around 1.5 million tourists every year, and it is now a must visit destination in India for films, tourism, MICE, weddings and celebrations.
Movie Magic – Visitor Involvement in the Film Industry
The movie-themed attractions are designed to have as broad an appeal as possible. The Action Theatre is a guest participation bluescreen movie-making experience. Another attraction is Ramoji Movie Magic, it’s an entertainment and interactive attraction where the guest experience the magic of camera with a green-screen. In a similar attraction, Stage 2 the guest gets to understand the magic of music and they participate in a studio. At the 3rd stage a camera and the music is being put up together and the guests experience a complete cycle of movie making.
This Ramoji Movie Magic experience therefore gives visitors the chance to enjoy the thrills of movie-making.
Meanwhile the Ramoji Back Lot Tour is a drive-through backstage tour of the popular movies sets of Bollywood, Hollywood and Tollywood (the Indian Telugu-language film industry based in Hyderabad).
The attraction’s annual footfall has been increasing steadily since opening. From 2012-2013 it attracted 1.2 million visitors. By 2015, the figure had risen to 1.3 million visitors. According to projections that figure is likely to hold or even rise.
How does Ramoji Film City keep attracting such large numbers of visitors?
“RFC has always created special carnivals to mark certain occasions,” says Rajeev Jalnapurkar. “For example, there is the Monsoon Carnival which lasts for 30 days, as well as the Diwali Carnival, the festival of lights, lasts for about 41 days. There is also the Winter Carnival is a 25 day celebration, during which the whole of Ramoji Film City is illuminated. The park timings are extended till 8:00 pm. Apart from the evening shows, a special Carnival Parade happens. Guests from all over the country take the opportunity to enjoy this spectacle.”
In addition, Children’s Day in India is celebrated on November 14th. “From this date, we organize a month-long attraction for children. They may visit RFC to showcase their talent in singing and dancing, and to participate in talent shows.”
Jalnapurkar explains the mass appeal of RFC: “It offers comprehensive entertainment, myriad landscapes, rolling meadows, both star and budget hotels, spell-binding film sets, and lavish locales.”
Eureka is a time-machine experience. Its colossal edifice is modelled on royal medieval forts. Visitors are taken on a journey into cultural antiquity. They experience the 4th century Mauryan era and the 13th century Mughal period. For a change of pace guests can then go and see an American Wild West show from popular concept from the movies, or indulge in some shopping at the Meena Bazaar.
Tales come to life through attractions and shows. Experiences include welcome dance-and-song ceremonies, themed bazaars, a selection of thematic restaurants, children’s play courts and exhilarating amusement rides.
Fundustan – Catering for Children
Fundustan is the children’s park. It is described as ‘A Kid’s Dream World where a Child’s Fantasy comes True’. Highlights here include Thrillville (with plenty of high adrenalin rides) and Dadajinn’s Ark and Wonderville, where children can battle it out with the latest video games and gadgets. There is also Borasura, known as the ‘House of Mystery and Magic’ with a spine-tingling magician’s workshop.
The Enthraller is a domed amphitheatre where live performances, dances and shows capture the fantasies of kids and families alike. In addition, there’s a dancing fountain called Ballerina Fount, and the Timberland play zone.
The Eco Zone Gallery beautifully showcases the idyllic surroundings and glories of nature. The Butterfly Park is a 7,200 square feet butterfly enclosure featuring countless exotic species of butterflies. The gardens feature elephants, deer, peacocks and giraffes sculpted in topiary. Exotic birds fly overhead. The stunning landscaping also includes the Vaman Bonsai Bonanza. This exhibits a huge variety of bonsai trees displayed on plinths. Varieties range from decorative examples to fruit-bearing trees.
Colors Park sees a string of beautiful terrace gardens spread over a 15,000-square foot area.
Finally, there’s Birds Park, a walk through aviary.
Birds Park is the home to an impressive collection of exotic birds of varied species. Naturally landscaped with striking native plants, slices of rocks and ingrown flora, the Birds Park creates a harmonious ecosystem for these beautiful creatures. As a result, the birds roaming, walking and flying around is a sight to behold for tourists.
Sahas – Ramoji Adventure Land is Asia’s largest and most extensive adventure playground. “It’s synonymous with energy, vibrancy and major adrenaline rushes,” says Jalnapurkar. “Adventure enthusiasts can engage themselves in multiple adventure activities, such as net course , high rope courses, ATV rides, mountain biking, paint ball, zorbing, archery and bungee jumping.”
A number consultants were involved in the creation of Sahas Adventure Park. Raphaël Jamgotchian from XTREM AVENTURES Group in France worked on the design alongside RFC’s in-house design team.
“Our suppliers are Hindustan Amusement and Bombay Amusement, both local consultants,” says Jalnapurkar. “However we also took advice from international consultants, such as Renaissance Entertainment of Florida, USA and the Wyatt Design Group of California.”
Detailed Plans for Future Expansion up to 2021
Jalnapurkar and his team have a detailed strategic plan for future expansion. These start with a summer gala event for 2017. Later in the year, improvements will be carried out, including a new main gate and parking, a new entrance plaza, and enhancements to the studio tours.
For 2018, plans are in the pipeline for enhancements to the existing Movie Magic and Fundustan attractions. In addition, the Wild West Coaster and a new Movie Magic attraction will be added. A Night-time Spectacular is also planned for the winter period.
After that, 2019 will see the addition of a water park, set to open in the summer. The parking at the Eco Park Aquarium is expecting extension work over the winter.
The Eco Park Resort Hotel and Conference Centre will open in 2020, as will the Adventure Attraction Zone. There will then be an expansion to the Adventure Zone over the winter months.
A further Resort Hotel is planned for summer 2021. A new Movie FX Park will also be expanded over the winter.