Kerala has been and continues to be the muse of many film directors; they have always loved the luscious green sylvan and the quietly affecting backwaters.
The waters of Kerala have never missed the eye of filmmaker Mani Ratnam. He has always let the dream sequences in his movies wander off into the woods and under the cascading waterfalls of the land. A song from his repertoire that encapsulated the beauty of three mesmerizing water-bodies of Kerala is Jiya Jale from the movie Dil Se.
Dil Se released in the year 1998, when Shah Rukh Khan reigned as the unquestionable heartthrob of the Hindi speaking part of the populace. And not so inclusive too! A story that revolved around the subject of terrorism in the country, it was Mani Ratnam's third in the trilogy of terror, after Roja and Bombay. Largely shot in Kashmir, Himachal, Assam, Delhi and Kerala, the film integrated romance into a script that essayed out serious turmoils in the political and military situation in India.
Stunning cinematography, high on style and vision, Santhosh Sivan got the frames scorching in the ravishing beauty of Kerala. A. R. Rahman's notes were bewitching, exuding styles hitherto un-experimented with. Among the songs, the one that exclusively soaked up the beauty of Kerala was Jiya Jale.
A lovely Preity Zinta couldn't help but romance Shah Rukh Khan in some of the most scintillating locales that Santhosh Sivan panned his camera across. The song Jiya Jale takes us through the backwaters of Alappuzha, renowned for its tranquil air and beautiful houseboats. The scorching heat in the song finds a balance in the calm waters of Alappuzha, where Preity Zinta, clad in modern variants of the traditional Kerala attire with a hint of gold, looks sensational against the backdrop of the serene waters.
The Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary in Thekkady, that inhabits a tiger reserve, is where the camera takes us to next. Nature's bounty at its best, we have wilderness, romance and more heat in the frames; Shah Rukh Khan serenading a beautiful Preity Zinta in the water - clothed again in a purple short blouse and dhoti-like pants with a golden zari border - a smart variation of the regional attire is probably a scene that became an indelible memory in the audiences' minds.
And then to top it off, we also saw the famed Athirappilly waterfalls in Thrissur district - a favourite among movie makers in India, also nicknamed 'India's Niagara'. Under the cascading falls is a Preity Zinta in deep red, looking every bit as arresting as the falls. The song also included lyrics in Malayalam, sung by M.G. Sreekumar that caught the attention of the Hindi audience. While the lyrics roll out to the pace of this song that alternates between high octane notes and mellifluous ones, Shah Rukh Khan moves to the rhythm in perfected steps with unparallelled grace.
This is not the only Bollywood movie shot in Kerala. We will be back with more.