While including the NMR as a World Heritage site, UNESCO report had mentioned:
The construction of the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, a 46-km long metre-gauge single-track railway in Tamil Nadu State was first proposed in 1854, but due to the difficulty of the mountainous location the work only started in 1891 and was completed in 1908. This railway, scaling an elevation of 326 m to 2,203 m, represented the latest technology of the time.
It is a sign of our collective idiocy that a train which has such a rich history, which traverses such a picturesque route, which holds such memories for travellers over several generations and which can boast of a few engineering firsts should come to be better remembered as the “Chaiya Chaiya” train on which some actors were filmed shaking bottoms of assorted shapes and sizes.
If you took a guided tour of Ooty today, chance are that you would be shown several spots where different scenes from different movies were shot, complete with description of the actors who were involved. As if the mountains and the sceneries that have existed for several eons, could finally derive legitimacy only through their appearance in some movie or other.
What explains this madness? Watching a movie takes us on a fantasy trip for a mere couple of hours. But the extended activities such as idolising actors, worshipping sites that the scenes were shot on, forming fan clubs, etc can keep us engaged full time, and help us escape into alternate realities of our choice on a 24 x 7 basis. In earlier eras, mythology served this purpose. Now, movies provide that escape route. Everybody has to help in this process and fan the flame. Even TOI.