Most of us watch movies and if we love it, we would watch it maybe one more time, and speak a little with friends and family for a while until that craze comes down. But not many go to the extent of researching and wanting to know more about the movie, actors, and/or the director.
For me Baahubali movie impact was larger than life. I never stopped at speaking and watching it over and over. I wasn’t one of those usual fans. I began my search to understand the pre-production work, locales, and if possible live a little the same adventure that @ssrajamouli and crew had while making #Baahubali. I went berserk researching about the lead actor #Prabhas, director SS Rajamouli and everything about the movie. People call me crazy, and I don’t shy accepting that.
The movie boasts of larger than life sets and visuals. The waterfalls, Maahishmathi Kingdom and the avalanche scenes will remain in your memory for long. I was blown away by the magnanimous visual spectacular #Baahubali and one particular scene that made me fall in love with #Prabhas was his introduction at the waterfalls. My friends made fun of me saying don’t go behind that waterfall, it is all VFX work and nothing exists in reality. Later I learnt that the base and some scenes of falls was shot at #Athirapally Waterfalls situated near Cochin, Kerala.
Cochin is closer home so was not difficult to get to Athirapally but the question was when. Probably god heard my wishes and soon I got invited to attend a colleague’s wedding at Mookkanoor which is just 30 kms away from Athirapally. And I told my friend that there is no way I was going to miss the wedding :). Thus my journey in search of #Prabhas began.
I didn’t get the train ticket but like I was destined to go there I got some last minute booking in the bus without a return ticket. The urge to visit the place was such that I was not concerned about the return booking. After reaching, my first question to my friend was how far and how can I go to Athirapally waterfalls. My friend asked if I wanted to go visit Cochin and some historic places instead. I told the only place I wanted to see was Athirapally. He laughed and said it was a nice place to be. I got to know that it was one of the largest waterfalls in Kerala and is nicknamed “The Niagara of India”. So around 11 AM I started to Athirapally and on the way stopped at the Thumpoormuzhi-Ezhattumugham hanging bridge. My eagerness to get to waterfalls was such that I didn’t spend much time at the hanging bridge.
Finally I reached Athirapally around 1 PM and while buying the entry ticket I was grinning ear to ear, probably the lady at the counter must have wondered about my mental stability seeing my grin. When I got to the Chalakudy river base, I was ecstatic. The images from the movie #Baahubali started flashing in front of my eyes. Though I wasn’t sure what scenes were shot there, my imagination had no boundaries. I was inside my alternate magical world of the #Baahubali and thoughts and images of the tribals who saved #Shivudu started emerging slowly.
Before I got down at the river base, I wanted to see the falls from the foothills which was walk down the hill. The steep narrow path was a mile long and midway I could get a glimpse of the magnificent waterfalls through the trees. Holding my eagerness and bypassing other visitors I hurried to the foothills to get the complete view of the falls.
That moment when I faced the falls in its complete glorious view, I could not control my smile any longer…I got teary eyed seeing the gushing water that once had showered my dear #Prabhas. My imagination spread its wings and started flying all over the waterfalls in search of #Shivudu trying to hike the waterfall. The water surges around big rocks and cascades down in three separate plumes. I could see clearly two plumes and it was for forceful and turbulent that it created a mist. My eyes was in search of #Prabhas seated on a rock with waterfall flowing besides him.
Mesmerizing Athirapally waterfalls
The weather that day was perfect, the forest surrounding the waterfalls made the environment more pleasant. Though it was buzzing with visitors, I was lost in my #Baahubali thoughts and searching #Prabhas in the rocks and behind the waterfalls.
The sounds and clicking cameras didn’t bother me. I was just lost in the moment and was brimming with sense of accomplishment. Visualizing ShivuniAana song, I was talking to myself that may be he walked here…jumped there and placed the Shivling here, found the mask may be here and so on. The thoughts bandwagon was not ready to stop.
I found the security who was guarding the visitors so I initiated small talk in my broken Tamil mixed with Hindi. He confirmed that the team of Baahubali was based there and had shot several scenes the foothills and the river base for over 45 days. Probably since the release of the movie Baahubali whoever visited the waterfall would ask the same questions so it was like he had repeated the answer without blinking the eye. There was some shoot happening that day as well…but I was in own world lost in the thoughts of my handsome masculine tribal man Shivudu #Prabhas.
Finally after spending some time, capturing the scenic beautiful moments for lifelong memory, I headed back up the hill to the river base. Climbing down was easy but climb up the hill was slow and took longer and I was enjoying the nature surrounding the walkway.
The Chalakudy River was calm and flowing peacefully that day. I saw the side view of the waterfall from near the barricaded hill top. I could get the view of the flowing river, and the forest along with the waterfall. It was mystical as I could hear the BGM from Baahubali movie…or was it just in my head and my thoughts about Prabhas turned the volume high? I wouldn’t know as I was in a trance that SS Rajamouli had created since Baahubali.
I walked in the calm river, sat there loving the picturesque view and imaging my Prabhas alongside. This scenic beauty was mesmerizing and compelling which made many film makers to come shoot a song or a scene there always. Athirapally waterfalls was a hidden beauty not known much outside of Kerala. Movies such as Raavan, Guru, Dil Se, Madras Café, Yaariyan, Pukar, Seethamma Vaakitlo Sirimalle Chettu, Iruvar, Mudhalvan, Brundavanam, to name a few were also shot here. Kudos to Rajamouli Sir, and the entire team for making this their home for 45 or more days and shooting at Athirapally in those conditions. The effort put in by Prabhas, DOP KK Senthil Kumar, and everyone else was tremendous. The landscape, lush green trees, mystic river, gushing waterfalls and the nature in all was inviting me for a second trip.
I decided to come back sometime after learning about the trekking options and the Jungle safari being offered by Thrissur District Tourism. I bid adieu to the Chalakudy River and Athirapally Waterfalls with a satisfied look in my eyes, promise to come back. I could hear #Jeevanadhi song somewhere originating from the river traveling back with me.
PS: Well I did attend the wedding too next day and did get the return ticket booked (last minute). Reached home with sense of pride of having visited at least one location which was walked by my Prabhas.