When Indian Filmmakers Shoot Abroad, It Spurs A Wave Of Tourism: Manish Tewari

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NEW DELHI:  As reported earlier, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari had announced that foreign filmmakers wishing to shoot in India would now find the experience hassle-free. (SEE REPORT HERE). As of 15th April, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has set up a 10 member inter-ministerial committee to promote and facilitate film and television production in a bid to promote India as an easy Global filming locale.

So what makes our government take this decision now?

The proposal to set up such a body, initially named ‘film commission’, has been in the books for years. The idea was to set up the commission similar to the Foreign Investment Promotion Board that gives single-window clearance to Foreign Direct Investment proposals. The film fraternity too has been demanding a mechanism to cut the red tape.

Parts of the final installation of the James Bond movies ‘Skyfall’ were to be shot in India, with scenes to be shot in the ‘Sarojini Nagar’ district of New Delhi and on railway lines between Goa and Ahmedabad. However the crew faced difficulties in securing authorisation to close sections of the ‘Konkan Railway’. Permission was eventually granted to the Bond Production crew; however, the production decided not to shoot in India.

Similar problems in attaining filming licenses were encountered by production crews for ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’.

The need to create such a body arose after the government realized that while India has emerged as a preferred destination for filmmakers from around the world. But the multiple levels of permissions and clearances needed to shoot in India often tired them out. So the increased need to create a friendly and easy one-stop clearance system in order to reassure foreign film makers a hassle-free shooting environment in India was becoming absolutely necessary.

I&B Minister recently said: “Films are a huge tourism multiplier and when Indian Film makers shoot abroad, it spurs an entire wave of tourism. But when we want to do it in reverse, we are told that there is huge bureaucratic delay in getting permissions to shoot here. We’re setting up an inter-ministerial committee with representations of the state government to see if we can create a single window clearance structure for foreign film makers who want to shoot in India”

Acclaimed film maker Rakeysh Om Prakash Mehra responds to this move by the government, “To make things easier for a person from an alien land is a good step. It will open great opportunities for tourism in India. Also, if foreign crew’s shoot in India is made easy, they will return, strike a synergy with Indian crews and generate employment.”

Rest assured we can safely tell the makers of ‘Skyfall’ ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and ‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’ that they and their peers won’t face licensing problems anymore!

How the committee will function

This committee will serve as a single-window mechanism enabling speedy and hassle-free clearances for film makers who would otherwise have to seek permission from as many as 30 different departments to shoot feature films, short films or television programmes. Significantly, both Foreign as well as Domestic film makers will now find it more comfortable to shoot their films in various places including historical sites in India.

The committee will be chaired by the Secretary in the I&B Ministry and include joint-secretary level officers from the Ministries of Home, Tourism, External Affairs, Culture, Railways, Civil Aviation and Defense.

“The proposed body would act as a facilitator as well as employment multiplier and present an opportunity to absorb creative potential of our younger people,” said I&B Minister Manish Tewari.

In a statement, the Ministry said the committee’s mandate would be two-fold: The committee shall facilitate grant of permission for both foreign and domestic producers from relevant authorities of central and state governments. “It shall meet regularly to monitor the progress of facilitation process and provide timely directions to the concerned authorities to fast-track clearances.”