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.
Leaving his fans asking for more after his last film ‘Dhadak’, actor Ishaan Khatter is now gearing up for his next release ‘A Suitable Boy’, this time on the OTT platform. Directed by Mira Nair and based on Vikram Seth’s sweeping tale of four families set in the post-Partition era, the film will be streamed on Netflix.
Ishaan plays playsMaan, a politician’s son (Kapoor), smitten by a courtesan Saeeda Bai (Tabu). “‘A Suitable Boy’ has been an enriching experience and I’m ever so excited for people to see it. Maan is one of the most interesting characters I’ve read and portraying him on screen has been a delight,” Ishaan said in a statement.
Described as a panoramic tale charting the fortunes of four large families, the story is set in the North India of 1951, the same time the country was carving out its own identity as an independent nation and was about to go to the polls for its first democratic general election.
A Suitable Boy is among the 17 new films and series teased by Netlfix in their latest sizzle reel.
Other than A Suitable Boy, Khatter has romantic action thriller KhaaliPeeli with Ananya Pandey. After debuting with Majid Majidi’s Beyond The Clouds, Ishaan made a mainstream foray with Dhadak. He has got another film in the pipeline, PhoneBhoot with Katrina Kaif and Siddhant Chaturvedi.
Besides, Ishaan is excited about another biggie in the kitty. Khatter is all set to play Brigadier Balaram Singh Mehta, who played an important part in the 1971 war against Pakistan that eventually led to the creation of Bangladesh. Titled Pippa, the upcoming movie is being produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Sidharth Roy Kapur while Raja Krishna Menon will don the director’s hat for the film based on Brigadier Mehta’s book, The Burning Chaffees.
Talking about the project, Ishaan tweeted, “I’m exhilarated to be a part of a film of such magnitude and importance, and getting a chance to play the role of the suave and spirited tank commander, Brig Mehta is a true privilege. I’m honoured by the faith shown in me by Ronnie sir, Siddharth sir and Raja sir and I’m looking forward to the exciting experience of Pippa.”
The two-film-old actor recently talked about being labelled as Shahid’s brother despite making a place for himself in the audience’s hearts. In an interview, he said that he understands the entire discourse but he doesn’t mind ‘being recognised as his (Shahid’s) brother.’
Ishaan added that he has got to learn a lot from his brother and he feels that he’s fortunate he could always have someone to share his experiences with and guide him in the industry. “I do not feel irked by the fact that I am often recognised as his brother. I came into the public eye at a young age of 15 and have been associated with him since then. That image has lived longer than the independent actor that I am now,” he said.
Talking about the film, Siddharth Roy Kapur said: “While the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 is widely documented, one of its less-known chapters is the covert operation that became the Battle of Garibpur, which played a significant part in India’s eventual victory. This is the war that is often heralded as the only ‘just war’ in history because it was fought to save human lives and free a nation.”
To this, Ronnie Screwvala added: “The story of the 45th Squadron led by Captain Balram Mehta is one that needs to be told to this generation. This film is a visual celebration of not only India’s valour but also the sharp strategy shown by us in 1971 along with our alliance with Bangladesh, all seen through the eyes of the Mehta family and their stirring internal and external conflicts.”
The six-part series tells the story of spirited university student, Lata, coming of age in Northern part of India in 1951 at the same time as the country is carving out its own identity as an independent nation and is about to go to the polls for its first democratic general election
A Suitable Boy, based on the critically acclaimed best-selling book by Vikram Seth, was shot by Lookout Point Production for BBC One and later bought by Netflix. It will be first seen on BBC One on July 26 in the UK and available on Netflix globally except in the United States, Canada and China. A Suitable Boy will be available on Netflix in UK and Ireland 12 months after its release on BBC One.
It tells the story of spirited university student Lata (Tanya Maniktala) as she comes of age in North India in 1951, at the same time as the country is carving out its own identity as an independent nation and is about to go to the polls for its first democratic general election.
Lata, who is averse to marriage, must choose between several suitors put forward by her mother. Set in the fictional Indian city of Brahmpur, relationships play out against the raw backdrop of early ’50s India; newly partitioned, violently divided, with Muslims brutally separated from Hindus and Sikhs.
Intertwined is the tale of a condemned love affair between a politician’s son, Maan, played by Khatter, and a courtesan, Saeeda Bai, played by Tabu. A series of exquisitely filmed weddings frame the tale, but it’s no fluffy period piece. Set in the aftermath of the Raj, when the British have exited, it is a historical TV drama set in India and transports the viewer to ’50s India
A Suitable Boy is adapted by Les Misérables and War & Peace writer Andrew Davies and the director is Mira Nair, the Golden Globe-nominated Monsoon Wedding helmer. It stars Bollywood leading man Ishaan Khatter, Indian screen star Tabu and rising actress Tanya Maniktala in the central role of Lata.
Says Mira Nair, “I am really honoured and terribly excited to make Vikram Seth’s great novel, which I’ve loved since it was published — A Suitable Boy. I’m very excited to be director of all six hours of A Suitable Boy. And it’s with 110 Indian actors: It’s a great opportunity to tell the story of independent India. Portions of A Suitable Boy was shot in Uttar Pradesh, India.
She adds: “The casting is full of bounty and full of beauty. A Suitable Boy is an incredible canvas of very rich characters. Tabu plays Saeeda Bai, the courtesan based on Begum Akhtar. Randeep Hooda, my discovery from Monsoon Wedding, is this cool stud in Calcutta called Billy Irani. Shefali Shah, a wonderful actor, plays Roopa Mehra, the mother of the young woman, for whom she wants the suitable boy. Vivaan Shah plays this wastrel lout who turns good.”
Says Tabu, “Mira has the same energy that I had seen during The Namesake. I don’t think she has aged at all. Mira keeps collaborating with people whom she has worked with earlier. To be able to form such bonds in today’s world is a beautiful quality. She is like a rock who will never move. It’s always so wonderful reconnecting with Mira. Her quality of work is reassuring. You can submit yourself to her, knowing that she will create something magical.”
Damian Keogh, Managing Director of Lookout Point, said: “We’re hugely excited to be partnering with Netflix to bring A Suitable Boy to international audiences, hot on the heels of its UK debut on BBC One. This epic tale speaks of human truths of life, love and family amid a country in rapid transition – themes and experiences as relevant today as when they were written.”
Caroline Stone, Director of Independent Drama at BBC Studios said: “The demand for quality British drama is higher than ever globally so we are thrilled to be partnering with Netflix on this wonderful series to bring audiences around the world Vikram Seth’s literary classic reimagined with such colour and vigour. The talent on and off screen for A Suitable Boy are exceptional and have helped to make this a series of which we are very proud.”
Executive Producers are Andrew Davies, Mira Nair and Vikram Seth; Faith Penhale, Laura Lankester and Will Johnston for Lookout Point; Lydia Dean Pilcher and Aradhana Seth (who also produce); and Mona Qureshi and Ayela Butt for the BBC. BBC Studios distributes the series internationally.
Lookout Point, which is wholly owned by BBC Studios, is one of the UK’s leading producers of television drama, known for delivering highly authored series with scale, ambition, and global impact.
A SUITBALE BOY SNAPSHOT
1951. In a newly independent India, passionate literature student Lata Mehra (Tanya Maniktala) is looking towards her own future.
Her mother Rupa (Mahira Kakkar) has successfully arranged the marriage of her eldest daughter Savita (Rasika Dugal) to Pran Kapoor (Gagandeep Singh Riar), a university lecturer. Now Rupa has her sights set on her spirited younger daughter but Lata wants to make her own way in the world. She isn’t interested in romance but her resolve is challenged when she starts to fall for a mysterious fellow student, Kabir Durrani (Danesh Razvi).
Pran’s brother is the charming but directionless Maan Kapoor (Ishaan Khatter), who becomes bewitched by the singer and courtesan, Saeeda Bai (Tabu). Maan is a worry to his father, the progressive Revenue Minister Mahesh Kapoor (Ram Kapoor), who can’t let anything unbalance his political career at a crucial moment.
As religious tensions mount between Muslims and Hindus in the wake of Partition, India’s first national democratic election approaches.