It’s said that a piece of your heart always gets left behind in Kerala. If there is a place that truly deserves the moniker ‘God’s Own Country’, it is this land of verdant beauty. Situated on the Malabar coast of India, its calming backwaters, lush green forests, sandy beaches, thunderous waterfalls and picture-perfect locations give Kerala this unique distinction. No wonder then, that our filmmakers can’t get enough of its charm.

Kerala

From the raging Athirapally Falls to the luscious tea estates of Munnar and Kochi’s picturesque promenades—there’s something about these places that filmmakers have often returned to capture them in myriad ways to enhance the audience’s cinematic experience. Here’s a look at some movies which have given Kerala its due on screen.

Chennai Express (2013)

Meenamma (Deepika Padukone) and Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) might have been singing about other places in India in ‘Kashmir Main Tu Kanyakumari’ but the song was actually shot amidst the lush greenery of Devikulam, around eight kilometres from Munnar. The winding roads and the beautiful tea plantations added a colourful touch to the fun track.

Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

Karwaan (2018)

For his directorial debut, filmmaker Akarsh Khurana took his lead cast Dulquer Salmaan, Mithila Palkar and the late Irrfan Khan from Bengaluru to Kochi. The road film was mostly shot on location, which meant that a lot of the shoot happened in Kochi and Kumarakom. In fact, the narrow bridge on which the three sit and have a heart-to-heart discussion and which also features on the poster of the movie, is located in Thrissur district of Kerala.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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Guru (2007)

In Mani Ratnam’s Guru, Gurukant (Abhishek Bachchan) meets Sujata (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) at their village in Gujarat but the audience meets her much before that, when she is singing her heart out in a downpour. A major portion of the song ‘Barso Re Megha’ was shot at the majestic Athirapally falls in Kerala. Remember that lovely shot of Aishwarya dancing atop a huge rock with the falls in the background?

Streaming on Netflix

Life of Pi (2012)

Much of the first half of Ang Lee’s epic adventure movie Life of Pi was set in Puducherry but for an important segment of the film, the crew shot in Munnar. As a young boy, Pi Patel (Ayush Tandon) is shown visiting a church, which has a temple and a mosque in close proximity. It is here that he realises that all religions lead to the same path. The verdant beauty of the tea gardens has been stunningly captured in the sequence.

Available to buy on Amazon Prime Video

Bombay (1995)

The raging Arabian sea on one side and the massive Bekal Fort in Kerala on the other—could there be a better location for a song of love and longing that Shekhar (Arvind Swamy) sings for his beloved Shaila Bano (Manisha Koirala)? The rain-drenched fort serves as the perfect backdrop for the couple to profess their love. The romantic drama set against the backdrop of the Bombay riots was both a critical and commercial success.

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video

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Raavan (2010)

The lush green forests with a beautiful flowing river running through it serves as a hideout for Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) in this action adventure film directed by Mani Ratnam. The location is the Silent Valley Forest Reserve in Kerala and reportedly, the filmmaker had to take special permission to shoot certain portions of the film there. The director also returned to his favourite Athirapally Falls to shoot the sequence where Ragini (Aishwarya Rai Bachchan) flings herself into the water, only to be rescued by Beera.

Streaming on Disney+ Hotstar

Chef (2017)

After getting fired from his job in New York, chef Roshan Kalra (Saif Ali Khan) moves to Kochi to spend some time with his son and former wife. In the official Hindi remake of the 2014 Hollywood film of the same name, the father and son spend some quality time together on the houseboats at Alleppey and enjoy idiyappam at a small joint, giving the viewers a glimpse of the local culture. Later in the movie, they drive their food truck through many idyllic locations at Alleppey Backwaters.