Now that the Government of India has opened business visas for overseas companies to travel into the country, global film producers and studios with Film Visa are exploring options to come and film in India. The aviation restrictions have been lifted for foregin business travellers and companies into India.
Already, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has announced guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for film shooting and media production in the country. Various State governments have also issued SOPs for film shooting in their respective States detailing dos and don’ts aligning with prevailing local Covid conditions.
Film Visa, a special category for foreign filmmakers, producers and crew members to shoot in India was introduced in 2017 on the initiation by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.
Dilip Singh Rathore, India’s most successful Line Producer for leading Hollywood Studios and European filmmakers, confirmed to Pickle that global producers are “expediting the process” to film in India in the new scenario of opening business to overseas companies.
Rathore’s On the Road Productions was the line producer for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ (Produced by Warner Bros’) for filming portions of the movie in Mumbai.
“We are constantly getting calls over the last two days on filming in India,” says Rathore. “Interest in film in India is top in the radar of global producers. I am very optimistic that foreign film projects which were stalled in the beginning of the year will soon get activated.”
Italian filmmaker and producer Sergio Scapagnini is soon set to shoot in India for the new India-Italy co-produced film directed by Goutham Ghose. UK-based Collin Burrows of Film Treats Production is looking to film in India for forthcoming projects. Late last year, Paramount Pictures had announced producing web series ‘The Bear’ for Apple TV to be shot in Madhya Pradesh. The Hollywood project was based on a bestseller novel by Gregory David Roberts ‘Shantaram’.
Business visits among global production houses are also likely to pick up in the coming days as India offers cost effective solutions for animation, VFX and gaming verticals of the Media and Entertainment industry. Major Indian production companies have strengthened their remote servicing capabilities in animation, VFX and digital intermediaries for collaboration.
Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), is currently accepting online applications for foreign producers to shoot in India.
FFO which was set up with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India has also been extended to Indian filmmakers as well.
In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Indian film locales have captured the attention of global producers and viewers. Mira Nair’s TV series ‘A Suitable Boy’, a six-episode, 349-minute long series, adapted from Vikram Seth’s classic novel, was extensively shot in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, India. It is currently streamed on Netflix across the world and BBC One (in UK and Ireland). Netlflix’s action thriller ‘Extraction’ starring Chris Hemsworth was filmed in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Netflix has revealed that ‘Extraction’ tops the list in its 10 most-watched original movies of all time, as of today.
Another leading line producer stated that in recent times Film Visas have streamlined foreign film shooting in India. “Quick visa clearances for the foreign crew is one of the reasons why more foreign filmmakers are coming to shoot in India. For shooting in India, foreign filmmakers have to get clearance from the I&B Ministry. The Ministry officials coordinate with the Indian embassies abroad, and help in getting visa clearances faster. “Over 118 international films have been shot in the last four years and the FFO has been offering all support to filmmakers to shoot in India.
COVID-19 has stunned film producers in India, who see the pandemic causing major disruptions in the way this unique industry functions. Here are some major challenges and remedial measures that can be taken to help the industry get back on its feet By Ravi Kottarakara
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has caused an irreparable damage to businesses and industries globally. Our film industry too finds itself into quite a predicament and the writing on the wall is absolutely clear. The Indian film industry has a peculiar ecosystem and its mode of functioning is entirely different from the normal industrial practices. In the past few years, the business in the Indian film industry has seen a lot of volatility—marked by lots of failures and a meager success rate of say 15%. Adding fuel to the fire, the COVID-19 pandemic has created so much havoc and pandemonium that it’s a difficult task to imagine recovery of the film industry anytime soon.
I have underlined some of issues of the film industry that need to be addressed before we resume business as usual:
PRODUCERS / PRODUCTION SECTOR
The film producers are stunned due to the several issues caused by the novel Corona virus and the lockdown that followed after its outbreak.
Released Films Losses
Some of the films that were released and screened at the cinema halls and were doing well in terms of box office collection have been abruptly stopped after the announcement of lockdown. This has caused irretrievable and permanent loss to the film producers and distributors [During the lockdown there were around 80 to 90 films in different languages running in various cinema halls pan India]. The financial loss accrued due to abrupt closure of cinema halls during the lockdown is alone expected to amount to more than Rs. 400 crores.
Shooting Locations and Sets
Some film shootings had to be stopped suddenly in the aftermath of COVID-19 crisis that has caused huge losses to film producers. Adding to the injury, many gigantic sets erected by them for shooting are now wearing out [the shooting sets are temporary and made from perishable materials, so lifespan of these setsis very short]. Besides the uncertainty that looms over the commencementof film shootings, the Monsoon season will be another factor leading to the total destruction of sets, thus creating irreversible losses to the producers as now they would have to erect new sets and structures again. The producers will also have to pay daily rent for the locations where these sets have been erected.It will be an additional cost to him.
Reorganizing and Rescheduling
To start the shooting process is another herculean task as the producers will have to now get new shooting dates from their respective artistes and technicians and reschedule the shooting. Adding to our woes, we are aware that some the artistes and technicians need to travel from different states for shootings. Some films have to be shot in outdoor locations like garden/ parks, bus stands, airports, roads, historical monuments, temples, and farmlands, etc, and shooting at many of these locations doesn’t seem a possibility in near future. Some of these films have to be shot in foreign locations and it looks like an impossible task to get permissions to shoot in those foreign locations in near future.
Unfortunate Loss of Lives & Displacement of workers
In this difficult time, we are experiencing another major issue. Unfortunately, some of our artistes and technicians have become victims of the COVID-19 pandemic and many are experiencing depression, tensions, mental ailments and other issues due to uncertainty in resuming shootings. Now all these film have to be reshot using new artists which would incur additional costs to the producer. Many of the daily wage/ contract and semiskilled workers have returned to their native states and it would be an uphill task to get them resume work.
Debts & Interest on finance
Meanwhile, one of the biggest issues we are facing is the interest accruing on loans after cancellation of shooting and delay in completing and recovering our investments from the projects. The interests to be paid to financiers are mounting by each passing day. Since films are not financed by banks as the film production is perceived as a high risk industry, film producers borrow money at a very high rate of interest of 30% to 48% per annum which is very exorbitant but there is no other option.
Release of films
Even if we complete with a film facing all these hurdles,another major stumbling block would be trying to release the film in these desperate times. The reasons are:
a) To think of a worldwide release looks like an impossibility at this time.We would lose money to be received from those territories/ markets.
b) The cine goers would think twice to watch films in theatres by taking undue risk of contracting the virus.
c) In this volatile market the distributors would not come forward to buy films.
THEATRES / EXHIBITORS
Social Distancing at Theatres Social distancing will be maintained very strictly at theatres. Tickets will be sold for every alternate or every third seat to maintain a gap between two occupants.
Further, prior to every show, before entry each and every individual going in for the show will be individually screened for temperature and sanitized before allowed in the premises.
Issues of Screening Films
Post screening, cleansing and disinfection and sanitizing of theatre hall, individual seats, corridors, toilets, will also be done. This will eat into the total time available for shows. The number of shows will have to be reduced to a maximum of three instead of four shows as the lot of time will go into screening, cleaning/sanitization of halls. The time between each show will increase due to checking and sanitizing each individual.Also, the interval time will have to be increased to avoid congestion at food courts/ stalls, etc.
As there exists a fear of Corona in the minds of the public and the entertainment is available to them on digital mediums like satellite TV and OTT platforms, the need for the public to watch cinema at theatres must be encouraged. Since cinema is still the cheapest form of entertainment in India, we are hopeful that the public will revisit theatres and watch films on large screens coupled with quality sound systems.
Relief sought from the State Government
50% reduction in property tax during lean period*
Flat 30% reduction in Electricity Tariffs/Bills for a limited period*[From rates of April 1st]
Local Body Entertainment Tax holiday for 5 years. [LBET]
No Ticket Price Capping and the unfettered Right to increase the ticket price by the exhibitors due a)restricted sale of 50% capacity of theatre.
All shooting Locations such as parks, roads, gardens, Bus stand, Beaches, etc should be given for shooting at Rs.1000/- per day only.
*Period is three years.
All Monuments, Temples, Archeological Sites, Railway stations, Dams, must be charge only Rs.5000/- per day[Indemnity Bond to be given by producer in case of any damages incurred]
Single window permission and clearances for shooting at any location within 72 hours.
TDS deduction on sale of copyright rights to Digital, OTT, Satellite, etc, to be reduced to 1%.
Instruct Banks to finance film producers/ distributors/ cinema hall at a concessional rate of interest. [the same Rate as for MSME sectors].
Central Subsidy of Rs 5 lakh only to be given to the film producer [whose name appears in Censor Board certificate] for every film released [minimum in 10 screens], irrespective of language and where the budget of the film is less than Rs 3 crores[based submissions to Income tax]. The amount to be paid within six months from the date of release of the film.
Reduction of GST from 18% to 12% and 12 % to 5% ( there are two slabs).
A service charge of Rs.30 at Non A/c Theatres, Rs.40 at A/c Theatres, Rs.50 at multiplexes could be added to every ticket purchased to recover the cost incurred for providing additional sanitization services at theatres and during Film Production [This is collectible by an additional coupon to be issued with every ticket]. The service charge money will be split three ways between the Exhibitor [where film is screened], producer [appears on the censor certificate] and the governments in the ration of 40:30:30 –exhibitor 40% ,producer 30% and government 30% [Central 15% & State 15%, respectively]
This service charge is to compensate the exhibitor/producer for the extra expenses/costs incurred on safety measures of sanitization procedures. These recommendations made by us is just to provide some sort of remedial help to the industry on a temporary basis, but in the long run we would only be able to ascertain the damage after the wrath of corona is over and the industry starts functioning.
India is committed to welcome the global film community to come and do business in the country and work closely with the domestic media and entertainment industry, said Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the 61st Cannes Film Market.
Amidst the pandemic of coronavirus, the Government of India has committed to welcome the global film community to come and do business in India and work closely with the domestic media and entertainment industry. This message was conveyed by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the 61st Cannes Film Market, virtually attended by over 2000 film industry professionals across the globe.
Calling cinema the “soft power” of India, Javadekar said his Ministry is continuously working towards making India as film shooting and film friendly destination for the audiovisual sector. “Our Film Facilitation Office has facilitated over 80 foreign film shootings. Now, it will function as a single window for all Central and State government permissions. I appeal to the global film fraternity, to come invest and shoot in India.”
In a clear message that the ‘show must go on’, the global filmmaking community and industry professionals were conveyed that the 51st edition of International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will take place between November 20-28 later this year. Javadekar also unveiled the poster and the booklet for the IFFI 2020.
Adopting the new normal, and to keep the ethos of the virtual Indian participation at Cannes alive, the Indian Pavillion is expected to be buzzing with activities around co-production, film shooting in India, exports of Indan films and content, post production and networking. The Pavillion will facilitate B2B meetings and linkages between filmmakers and other media and entertainment industries stake holders (June 22-26, 2020).
Over a dozen dignitaries participated at the e-inauguration of the India Pavilion at the virtual Cannes Film Market. Over 90 Indian industry professionals representing 60 companies are part of the virtual Cannes film market.
In his address to the global film community, Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India announced that along with the Indian film industry, centenary celebration of legendary filmmaker Satyjit Ray will be celebrated at the Cannes Film Festival 2021 showcasing a retrospective of the iconic filmmaker. The 74th Edition of Cannes Film Festival is slated for May 14-25, 2021. It was announced earlier that IFFI 2020 and IFFI 2021 will pay tribute to legendary filmmaker of India Satyajit Ray.
Atul Kumar Tiwari, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, in his opening remarks invited global film community to block their diaries to attend the 51st Edition of IFFI (November 20-28, 2020).
Michèle Waterhouse, Head of Coordination, Cannes Film Market said Marché du Film Online 2020 Edition is a a milestone in the history of the film industry. “It has been a difficult time for all with Covid-19 and the future remains rocky but we are here together and we thank all of you who have supported us in this endeavour. Together we are a strong force and we will continue to move forward to give Indian cinema its due place in the world,” said Waterhouse. India has been participating at the Cannes Film Market for over 20 years.
Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), moderated the inauguration of the India Pavilion and said the both physical and virtual markets are here to stay in the coming years and industry has to adopt to the changing needs. FICCI is managing the virtual India Pavilion at the online Cannes Film Market under the aegis of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.
Shrila Dutta Kumar, Minister (Consular) Embassy of India to France assured assistance to the stakeholders of Indian film industry representatives to promote cooperative ventures with France in the area of film co-production and visas.
“We are going through very tough times and people have started seeing cinema in a different way, like how they are seeing their life differently. People will change the way they consume media. Our films have to delve in newer and fresher subjects,” said Prasoon Joshi, Lyricist and Chairman, CBFC.
Joshi maintained that cinema is an essential medium. “We say human being is a social animal. When did human become social?. Somewhere social needs became part of your life and over the years generations cinema has got hardwired into an essential medium… there will be a need for entertainment in some way or other”.
Other dignitaries including Madhur Bhandarkar, National Award-winning Director, D Suresh Babu, National Representative, Active Telugu Filmmakers Guild, Colin Burrows, Special Treats Productions, Kangana Ranaut, film personality, Usha Jadhav, Actor, Mai Ghat spoke at the India Pavilion inauguration.
TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films) Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and MD, National Film Development Corporation thanked dignitaries in her vote of thanks.
TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of I&B, and MD, NFDC, Government of India said the country is open for business and filming for global studios and producers.
Even as over fifty countries across the world have announced resumption of film shooting with safety protocols, India has announced that once there will be normalcy in resumption of international travel, film shooting permissions will be accorded to global filmmakers to shoot in India with standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Participating in the e-panel discussion as part of the India@Cannes 2020 on the topic of ‘Come, Film in India’, TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of I&B, and MD, NFDC, Government of India said India is open for business and filming for global studios and producers.
“We will release Standard Operating Procedure for film shoots and other related works in the country, later this week,” said Kalyani.
Many Indian states including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala have permitted film shooting with guidelines on safety protocols.
In an attempt to woo global filmmakers, Indian government is ready with an incentive package for film shoots and co-production under the champion sector scheme.
Given the crisis the country is going through in the wake of Covid-19, the announcement will be made at the appropriate time. “We are ready with the incentive package. We are waiting for the appropriate time to announce,” stated Kalyani.
Kalyani confirmed that in addition to films, Web Series and Television Series will be included in the incentive package for co-production and film shooting when Michael E Ward, film producer specifically asked the question.
Kalyani said over 118 international films have been shot in the last four years and government has been offering all support to filmmakers to shoot in India and the country has a lot to offer to filmmakers from across the world.
The session, moderated by journalist Naman Ramachandran, was also attended by Vikramjit Roy, Head, Flm Facilitation Office, NFDC; Nitin Jawale, IAS, Managing Director, IPICOL and OFDC, Government of Odisha; Michael E Ward, film producer, Pravesh Sahni, ITOPS Film Production Pvt Ltd (line produced White Tiger in India) and Dileep Singh Rathore of On the Road India (line produced Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in India).
Vikramjit Roy listed out various initiatives of the government to make filmmaking easy in India. He said the Film Facilitation Office was set up with the sole aim to help filmmakers to obtain various permissions without facing any difficulty. The FFO is going all out to ensure that foreign filmmakers don’t face any hassle while shooting their movies in the country.
Jawale said Odisha is a beautiful state where filmmakers can find exotic locales to shoot their scripts. He spoke about initiatives by his department to facilitate film shoots in the state.
Michael E Ward appreciated the government of India for taking proactive measures to attract global filmmakers.
Line producer Rathore said they had shot Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (for Warner Bros’) in Mumbai and it was only possible because they got the permissions in time from the state government of Maharashtra and facilitation from FFO.
“We were super happy with the coordination and facilitation provided by Film Facilitation Office set-up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. It’s best of the facilitations one could get for a film shoot. We are thankful to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India and the co-ordinators at FFO.” said Rathore.
THE SHOW GOES ON, SAYS DR S RAGHUNATH, PROFESSOR OF STRATEGY, INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT (IIM) BANGALORE TRACKING THE CHANGING DIGITAL FACE OF MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT IN THE AFTERMATH OF COVID-19
In the Covid-19 era, it appears that in the immediate and the short term, production and consumption of cinema will undergo change driven by considerations such as social distancing and reduction of local travel for leisure activities including entertainment.
On the production side as the lockdown has impacted film shooting schedules, a whole lot of creative work is continuing to take place in various geographies. Therefore the content pipeline is stacking up well, while shooting schedules are being delayed. While the silver lining is in the learning curve amongst industry professionals who are increasingly interacting with each other and engaging on digital platforms with experienced experts to discuss and update their knowledge.
As social distancing is a necessary requirement on production sets, use of technology can improve processes in studios. Virtual post-production processes may find their way to replace the traditional ones such as dialogue replacement where actual dialogues are recorded in a studio but are dubbed over live footage. Actors might also choose to perform live within a digital environment.
Pre-visualization software is now available for directors to plan and visualize better to make creative choices and plan logistics taking the current realities into account. Tools and techniques are now available to virtually construct shots, sequences, or an entire movie, without physically visiting a location. The traditional format of development pre-production-production-postproduction sequential processing is going through radical change in productions that contain VFX or CGI. In a virtual production, it is possible for all the creative processes, including live action, video and CGI imagery – to begin simultaneously and in real-time within virtual environments – as the recent re-make of The Lion King demonstrated.
These are also days of potential opportunity for ready content shot on a low budget with clever camera work which can deliver closeup scene shots from a distance to stream their content on OTT platforms. Movie makers on a tight budget are trying to establish mass market connect through the OTT platforms. Therefore digital release of films is beginning to happen and will increase in the foreseeable future for modest budget movies especially with the increase in consumption of entertainment on OTT platforms.
We are witnessing an era where movie goers have turned into movie viewers consuming content in the digital space. This change in the habits of the audience changes the relationship between producers of movies and consumers of movies. As the audience have the privilege of choosing the mode of consumption, cinema has to evolve to deliver impact on multiple screens in multiple formats. Movies must be available on mobile phones, on touch screen tablets and consider the widespread use of a device in delivering cinematic experience to the audience.
There is also gradual change emerging in supporting independent artistes who are changing the art of storytelling through movies, media, live performance, music with the help of technology. With remote working becoming the norm and with educational institutions going online, people are looking for entertainment within self-quarantined areas. Therefore in the foreseeable future, the subscriber base and viewership levels will continue to rise on Amazon Prime, Netflix and pay TV channels. There are other emerging forms of entertainment which include online drama, Alternate Reality Gaming, etc. The action is on!
The Film Facilitation Office set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in NFDC is going all out to ensure that foreign filmmakers don’t face any hassle while shooting their movies in the country. Christopher Nolan recently shot his film Tenet in Mumbai in a smooth manner and his team is all praise for the Indian officials for their support
Gone are the days when shooting in India was a herculean task for foreign filmmakers. Things have changed for good with the formation of Film Facilitation Office (FFO), which is rendering all support to directors and producers from abroad to make their movies in India.
A classic example is Tenet, the Warner Bros produced Christopher Nolan film which was shot recently with ease in Mumbai, called as the business capital of India and home to Bollywood (Hindi cinema), thanks to facilitation provided by FFO. Over 160 foreign crew members, 600 Indian crew members and 2000 extras were part of the film helmed by Nolan.
This is New India and people are ready to help anytime, feel foreign filmmakers who have lately shot their movies in the sub-continent, land of colourful amalgamations of different cultures, multiple locations and beautiful backdrops.
And, the support by FFO is immense, which is rolling out red carpet to foreign filmmakers to make their vision a reality in India, with all ease.
Nolan’s shoot in Mumbai was rather extensive and ambitious. But, the filmmaker and his team didn’t feel the difficulty at all, despite shooting the movie in busy areas. In fact, the director wrapped up his shoot in well under a week.
Interestingly, Nolan had earlier shot his Batman: The Dark Knight Rises in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Tenet stars John David-Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Clemence Poesy, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Dimple Kapadia with Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine. Tipped to be an action thriller, it is slated to hit theatres next year, on July 17, 2020.
Says Dileep Singh Rathore, the India producer of Tenet: “I recently completed a six-day schedule of Tenet in India, and it was only possible because we got the permissions in time. As someone who has faced a lot of trouble in getting permissions in the past, now, it feels like a red carpet has been rolled out for foreign projects in India. I have four other international projects in the pipeline to shoot in India.”
According to Rathore, “We were super excited by the coordination and facilitation provided by Film Facilitation Office set-up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the state of Maharashtra. It’s best of the facilitation one could get for a film shoot. We are extremely thankful to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India and the co-ordinators at FFO and B A Gagrani, Principal Secretary at the Chief Minister’s Office, Government of Maharashtra. They were instrumental in getting all the permission clearances. This time for the first time, I saw that every department was accountable and FFO office was extremely supportive and they did wonders. I have to specifically point out FFO’s intervention in getting permission from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which provides permission for aerial shootings in the country. We could use helicopter for the Tenet film shoot.”
If figures are anything to go by, at least half-a-dozen foreign projects are currently being made in India. “Quick visa clearances for the foreign crew is one of the reasons why more foreign filmmakers are coming to shoot in India. For shooting in India, foreign filmmakers have to get clearance from the I&B Ministry. The ministry officials coordinate with the Indian embassies abroad, and help in getting visa clearances faster,.” says a leading line producer.
It is to be noted that the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, in 2017, consulted the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs, and introduced a special visa category for foreign filmmakers. Also, as foreign filmmakers often want to capture aerial scenes, a separate department has been introduced to cater to these requests. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) provides permission for aerial shootings in the country.
Earlier, getting the permission to shoot in India used to take five-six months. But now, it has come down to three-four weeks.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, set up the FFO in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India. The services rendered by the FFO have now been extended to Indian filmmakers as well.
It acts as a single-window facilitation and clearance mechanism that eases filming in India, as well as endeavouring to create a film-friendly ecosystem and promoting the country as a filming destination. The institution of the ‘Most Film Friendly State’ Award, which was won by the State of Gujarat in 2015, the State of Uttar Pradesh in 2016 and the State of Madhya Pradesh in 2017, is a unique initiative in this direction.
In the recently announced 66th National Film Awards, Uttarakhand bagged the honour for ‘Best Film Friendly State’ for ‘furthering the growth of the film industry in the State including creating an environment for ease of filming in the State, encouraging skill/talent development, incentivizing the re-opening of closed cinema halls, formation of film development fund, continuing with the earlier incentive plan for filming, formation of Utttarakhand Film Development Council among other pro active initiatives’.
FFO acts as a facilitation point for the foreign producers and production companies along with their Indian Producer/Line Producer in assisting them to get requisite permissions, disseminate information on shooting locations and the facilities available with the Indian film Industry for production/post production and works closely with State Governments in assisting them to set up similar facilities.
Foreign filmmakers desirous of shooting their Feature Films, Reality TV shows and commercial TV series in India, can apply online at the FFO website. And, the rest will be taken care of in a professional and friendly manner.
Veteran Indian film Producer Dileep Singh Rathore, who heads On The Road India, talks about how things have changed for better for foreign filmmakers who are willing to shoot their movies in India. Rathore shares his experience on the facilitation provided by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s Film Facilitation Office for Christopher Nolan’s film Tenet’s shoot in India
Tell us about On The Road India productions…
We are a 28-year-old company. I started very young when I was in my teens. We began our work, when there were no production service companies in India. I have worked with Shashi Kapoor and was with him in Russia for shooting. Then began, On The Road India and we have been working since then for many big projects. We have worked on projects for major studios like Warner Bros. Pictures and Walt Disney. We are production experts in the Indian and South Asian region with over decades of handling international feature projects, award winning documentaries, commercials and high-end still projects. In all these years, we have done over 35 major international projects. Our latest was Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (Warner Bros). We were the Indian producers for the project. We did the film shoot in Mumbai. We were super excited by the coordination and facilitation provided by Film Facilitation Office set-up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the state of Maharashtra.
Share your experience of Christopher Nolan’s film shoot in Mumbai…
It’s best of the facilitation one could get for a film shoot. We are extremely thankful to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India and the co-ordinators at FFO and B A Gagrani, Principal Secretary at the Chief Minister’s Office, Government of Maharashtra. They were instrumental in getting all the permission clearances. This time for the first time, I saw that every department was accountable and FFO office was extremely supportive and they did wonders. I have to specifically point out FFO’s intervention in getting permission from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which provides permission for aerial shootings in the country. We could use helicopter for the Tenet film shoot. We still have some issues related to Customs — because for this kind of film, we bring large quantity of equipment. I feel, if this could be streamlined, that would be wonderful. We paid all our fees to BMC and other agencies. They gave all local permissions, allowed us to park our vehicles, and set base camps. There was perfect synergy between the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the State Government of Maharashtra. We have to make sure, we help every filmmaker who come to India to shoot.
Do you see visible changes happening for film shoots in India?
Things are changing for sure. I can say with my 25 years of experience in this industry that it was difficult to get permissions. There were times Government used to behave that they do favours to local or international filmmakers who are bringing the films to shoot. With FFO, I can see visible changes in coordination. This is the first time, Government is taking the initiative that the filmmaker who is coming from abroad has to face no hassles. He gets his permission on time and he is assisted with the government machinery. The is a good example of ease of filming and doing business in India. Also, there is a realisation of money coming into the country. jobs getting created and helping tourism. A foreign film shoot creates job at every level from the film industry to affiliated industries (which support the film industry like hotels, transport, catering).
Will Nolan come back for another shoot?
Nolan was extremely happy and satisfied with the Mumbai film shoot. He had great time. Also, he loves India. There were no major hiccups and he had a fantastic time. He really enjoyed his filming, showcased India in a beautiful way. He loved Mumbai city and the food. This was his second film shoot. I was the India producer for his first film shoot Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. We had issues during that time. This time, it is different. He will definitely come back again. Because of his love for India.
Do you think more foreign films’ shoots will come to India…
With this great experience, Nolan would talk about it. Definitely, Warner Bros would want to come to India for another project. If filmmakers like Nolan or Peter Wier shoot in India, they bring lot of revenue. There is also a feel good factor to the country. There is a goodwill. That’s very important. And if people at level like Nolan or Warner Brothers talk about, global studios and filmmakers and will listen to that.
FFO had come to Los Angeles and we set up meetings with Warner Bros. They got convinced to come to India. Having done everything well, in a timely manner, it will boost the confidence to bring another project to India. I can clearly see new projects coming to India.
What is India’s biggest attraction to foreign filmmakers?
India is vibrant, beautiful and looks different from rest of the world. Why do people come to India all the way. They want to come to India for the elements they find in India. International filmmakers come for archaeological places like forts and palaces, Indian forests, Indian trains, vibrancy in Indian cities. If ease of permission gets better, India will find mentions in more scripts developed in the world. Even a small film brings couple of million dollars. Foreign film shooting and production services have to be recognised as an industry. This will send a great message, internationally. And lot more films will come to shoot for sure.
Tripura is a landlocked hilly State in north-east India with altitudes varying from 15 to 940 meter above sea level, though the majority of the population lives in the plains. Tripura has a tropical climate and it receives rainfall during the monsoon. It is surrounded on the north, west, and south by Bangladesh and is accessible to the rest of India through the Karimganj district of Assam and Mamit District of Mizoram in the east. The state can serve as a perfect backdrop of an adventure film that demands locales where the jungle plays an important part. Full of virgin locations that are awaiting to be explored, Tripura with five mountain ranges—Boromura, Atharamura, Longtharai, Shakhan and Jampui Hills—is a state full with surprises.
For More Information Contact Information And Cultural Affairs Department, Director, Ica Department, Govt. Of Tripura Tel: 0381-2324688 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org State Website:https://tripura.gov.in/
Already a popular destination with Bollywood filmmakers, Punjab with its ancient buildings erected by the Patiala dynasty, The Golden Temple and a vibrant culture of Amritsar, sunshine-yellow mustard fields, heritage sites, open spaces and effervescent lifestyle, has all the necessary ingrediants to attract global filmmakers. The land of five rivers, Punjab is also the land of food, colour, and happiness. Being one of the most significant places in India historically, this state is filled with wonderful architecture and places of worship.
For More Information Contact Malwinder Singh Jaggi, Special Secretary and Director Cultural Affairs & Tourism, Department of Cultural Affairs & Tourism Tel: 09780039112 Email: email@example.com State Website:http://punjab.gov.in/
A French colonial settlement in India until 1954, Puducherry has well preserved its French legacy in French Quarters, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas and chic boutiques. From its beaches to historical monuments and from its temples to churches, this Union Territory of India is an interesting destination. The laid-back charm of Pondicherry is clearly visible in the quaint French part of the town while visitors can also cherish the authentic Indian feel that the city brings through its culture and people.
For More Information Contact Ravi Chandran, Revenue Officer, Office of Distt. Collector, Pettiyanchatram, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com