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With Film Visa, Global Producers Can Now Shoot in India

admin   January 10, 2021

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.

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No Business as Usual for Film Industry

admin   July 13, 2020

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:


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.


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.

Screening Sanitizing

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.

Reduced Footfalls

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.

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FFO Rolls Out Red Carpet For Foreign Filmmakers

admin   February 20, 2020

Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, is at Berlinale 2020 to act as the single point of contact for filmmakers to get all the relevant information about India’s film industry ecosystem, and help them navigate through the maze of permissions, treaties and guidelines of key Central Government Ministries and State Governments

India, with its huge diversity of cultures, contradictions and paradoxes, is fast emerging on the global film industry map as one of the last frontiers for filmmakers to bring millions of untold stories to live on screen. To facilitate this process, Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting under the aegis of National Film Development Corporation, Government of India, is in Berlinale 2020 to reach out to filmmakers and producers interested in filming in India.

FFO, as a one-stop solution for all filming needs in India, has been at the forefront of developing a filmfriendly outlook to capitalise on the beautiful shooting locales of the country.

FFO will act as the single point of contact for filmmakers to get all the relevant information about India’s film industry ecosystem, and help them navigate through the maze of permissions, treaties and guidelines of key central government ministries and state governments.

To bring more transparency, coherence and convenience, FFO’s web portal http://www.ffo.gov. in equips filmmakers to submit their applications online. It enlists India’s co-production treaties with many countries across the world along with guidelines of key central government ministries/ departments, which is often a gamechanger leading to greater ease of navigation, and thereby easing filming in the country.

Reflecting the new spirit of India, the portal also has the details of the Nodal Officers of the Indian States and Union Territories to further provide a personal touch to the services on the offer. While the web portal is an endeavour to reach out to the filming fraternity across the globe, the FFO has been proactively trying to achieve creative collaborations on a global scale.

In the larger scheme of things, FFO is an important part of the government’s endeavour to serve the flavours of India to the world cinema and disseminate knowledge and entertainment to all sections of the society.

Since the launch of FFO, many success stories have emerged to testify for the efficacy of this initiative. For instance, Christopher Nolan’s film Tenet got shooting permissions approved within a week’s time–thanks to facilitation provided by FFO which has drastically reduced the time taken to procure permits for foreign crews.

Similarly, for foreign filmmakers, one of the biggest hurdles to shooting in India was the huge cost involved in temporary import of filming equipment. Taking note of this issue, FFO has created a mechanism through which customs clearance process has been smoothened for filmmakers.

As the number of films shot in India is going up, a special visa category for foreign film crew has been introduced by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs. The ministry officials coordinate with the Indian embassies abroad to help filmmakers get visa clearances faster.

Also, as foreign filmmakers often want to capture aerial scenes, a separate department has been created to cater to these requests. Now, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) provides permission for aerial shootings in the country. For Tenet, the permission to use a helicopter was very smooth and quick. Efforts have also been on to bring on board other institutions like ASI, DGCA, and Railways to further reduce the time required for permissions.

“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, but I can’t disclose their names,” says Dileep Singh Rathore, reflecting a change in outlook of foreign filmmakers when it comes to shooting in India.

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 started to promote filming in India. For furthering the growth of the film industry in the State, Uttarakhand bagged the honour for ‘Best Film Friendly State in 2018. To encourage more filmmakers to shoot films in the state, the Uttarakhand government has provided various subsidies.

Most states in India have also formulated their filming policies, which offer certain incentives to foreign filmmakers. FFO can help connect with the right officials in the state administration to take a filming proposal forward.

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.


Register yourself with the FFO website www.ffo.gov.in to start your application process


Fill out the application form for seeking permission for film shooting in India


Upload script, synopsis of the script, passport details of the crew, details of shooting locations in India & period of shooting


An application fee of INR equivalent to USD 225 needs to be paid online. (For International Productions) The fee is non-refundable


Submit the form on your own or through an Indian Representative / Line Producer

Shooting Locales in India – Tripura

admin   August 1, 2019

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: icadirector.tripura@gmail.com
State Website: https://tripura.gov.in/

Shooting Locales in India – Punjab

admin   August 1, 2019

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: directorculture@yahoo.com
State Website: http://punjab.gov.in/

Shooting Locales in India – Puducherry

admin   August 1, 2019

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: ro-rev.py@gov.in; dcrev.pon@nic.in

Shooting Locales in India – Nagaland

admin   August 1, 2019

A state that is on the world map for Hornbill Festival and music, Nagaland has much more to offer as a pristine shooting location. The mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar, has immense potential to emerge as a filming destination with the government making an all out effort to put in place film-friendly policies in order to attract shootings from outside. The first Nagamese language movie made its debut recently at Nagaland Film Festival. Based on the inspiring story of Mhonbeni Ezung, the youngest recipient of National Bravery Award for Children, the film was entirely shot in Nagaland.

For More Information Contact
Tokishe Sema/ Asangla Imsong,
Addl.director/ Deputy Director
Tel: 9436005383/ 9436011753
Email: tokishey@yahoo.co.in/ asangim@yahoo.com
State Website: https://www.nagaland.gov.in//portal

Shooting Locales in India – Mizoram

admin   August 1, 2019

Mizoram in North-East India is inhabited by numerous tribes practising a wide range of religious customs. Blessed with a diverse range of geographical features, this small state offers excellent opportunities for film makers to explore its splendour. The landscape of Phawngpui Hills, Vantawang Falls and Palak Lake are just waiting to be captured by camera. Mizoram recently organised a three-day Indian Film Festival at Vanapa Hall in Aizawl. The state government is ready to provide any assistance in terms of infrastructure or logistics support if interested filmmakers would venture in this picturesque state.

For More Information Contact
Joint Director, I&PR Department,
State Nodal Officer for Visual Arts,
Mizoram Information Service, Directorate of Information & Public Relations Department
Tel: 9436158348
Email: lallianpuiiapril@gmail.com
State Website: http://mizoram.nic.in/

Shooting Locales in India – Meghalaya

admin   August 1, 2019

Meghalaya, or the abode of clouds, remains a virgin territory waiting to be exploited for film shootings. Improving its infrastructure manifold, the state recently agreed to come on board the Mumbai Academy of the Moving Image (MAMI) and aspires to become a preferred destination for shooting films. Star attractions in the state are its waterfalls, caves, rainforests, hill stations and a lot more. There are numerous places that are well-known all over the world as it boasts some of the most spectacular waterfalls like Nohkalikai Falls, Elephant Falls, and Mawlynnong Falls; the longest caves like Krem Liat Prah and Mawsmai Caves; and the wettest places in the world like Cherrapunji and Mawsynram. The crystal clear water of Umngot River in Dawki, the sacred forests of Mawphlang, and the world-famous living root bridges in Cherrapunji can form a beautiful backdrop of any film and mesemerize the audience world over.

For More Information Contact
State Website: http://meghalaya.gov.in/megportal/

Shooting Locales in India – Manipur

admin   August 1, 2019

Tucked in the beautiful North East India, Manipur has to offer some of the most scenic shooting locations in the country. Home to the beautiful Loktak Lake, picturisque Leimram Waterfall and the majestic Kangla Fort, Manipur is a paradise for filmmakers. The state is also rich in historical monuments like the ancient Kangla Fort or Willong Khullen, an extraordinary place resembling Stone Hinges, that can form a perfect backdrop for a film. The state also has a rich cultural heritage and its numerous festivals have much to offer a film maker. The state also has to offer exotic wildlife, and warmhearted people. It’s simply impossible not to fall in love with this state, which is rightly called the Switzerland of India.

For More Information Contact
Hamom Nabachandra Singh,
Secretary of MSFDS, Manipur Sate Film Development Society
Tel: 0385 – 2451861 (0),+91 8132818015
Email: mfdc_manipur@yahoo.com
State Website: https://manipur.gov.in/