Bollywood says to America: Thanks, But No Thanks

Shah Rukh Khan
MUMBAI: Shah Rukh Khan’s recent victimization at White Plains Airport, New York, has provoked questions in Bollywood – whether shooting in the US is really worth it. With repeated ‘racial profiling’ and difficulties in procuring visas, Indian filmmakers are now looking to shoot in other hassle-free locations.

Until recently, US was amongst the topmost shooting destinations, but now the craze is withering out.

While in 2008 to 2009 Dostana, New York, Kambakkht Ishq and Love Aaj Kal were shot in America; the figure dwindled to three in 2010 to 2011 with My Name Is Khan, Anjaana Anjaani and Kurbaan. In 2012 so far, only ‘Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu’ has been shot there.

Having to jump over many obstacles, the directors seem to be fed up. Speaking to a daily, director Kabir Khan said, "My visa was rejected thrice before I got permission to shoot for New York."  He expressed happiness for not having to go through the turmoil for his upcoming ‘Ek Tha Tiger’. Impressed by the warmth shown to his cast and crew in other numerous shooting locations for Ek Tha Tiger, he added, "It is really upsetting when some of unit members’ visas are rejected."

Taking large units to US is also an issue. Moreover, the visa procedure is unusually long. Producer Rajat Rawail clarified, "Visa and permit delays is one of the main reasons for not taking films to America, which is not friendly towards Indian films. Unlike it, other countries go out of their way to woo Bollywood."

Countries like Thailand and South Africa have now become the most favoured destinations for Indian filmmakers.