India pushing plans to make it easier for filmmakers to shoot films

Narendra modi
Narendra modi

Producers of 2012 James Bond flick Skyfall had approached the Indian government with a request to shoot a part of the film in the country, but a high number of clearances required had prompted them to cancel the plan.

James Bond may not have to go back disappointed the next time he wants to come to India as the government is pushing a plan to make it much easier for both domestic and international filmmakers to shoot in the country.

I&B secretary Sunil Arora said a three point agenda to facilitate filmmakers with faster clearances to produce and shoot films in India is being worked out by bringing together central ministries, departments, state and district level institutions and officials. Archaeological Survey of India and Indian railways have been roped in too, he said.

According to officials, India receives around 30 requests from international filmmakers annually. This number is expected to rise several fold once the country comes up with a policy to promote itself as a destination for filmmakers.

The I&B ministry is expected to bring out a proposal to expedite permissions for filmmakers by early next year, Arora said.

It is now working with the home ministry on how film clearances with no “security issues, threat to conservation of heritage and environment” can be expedited.

The National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) will run film facilitation offices in centres such as New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata that will function as a one-stop facility for filmmakers to apply for shooting and production clearances.

“By the end of this year we plan to have a meeting of all stakeholders. This includes reaching out to secretaries of states where filmmakers want to shoot often and those where more facilities are needed,” Arora said.

The ministry has already handed over to states a checklist of provisions to be considered while clearing filmmakers’ requests to shoot.

Assisting the government in this endeavour are film makers Shyam Benegal, Ramesh Sippy, Anubhav Sinha, Sudhir Mishra, Kabir Khan whose suggestions will be drafted and taken into account, he said.

The push comes four years after the idea was initially mooted.

Junior I&B minister Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurated the first film facilitation office (FFO) on Saturday as part of NFDC’s film bazaar at the International Film Festival of India in Goa.

NFDC managing director Nina Lath Gupta said the FFO will facilitate permissions for feature films, TV series and advertisement films to be shot in India, and also expedite clearances from various government agencies to help in creating on-the-ground support crew for film.

To further make it easier for international filmmakers, accredited services by empanelled operators, hotels, hospitals and production houses will be offered as part of a new portal, Gupta said. “We are asking all states to upload pictures and details online so that the filmmakers don’t have to look further for information,” she said.

Officials cite Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Jammu & Kashmir among states that are most friendly to filmmakers.

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