Bhopal: In a bid to woo filmmakers and bring big-ticket Bollywood projects to the state, the Kamal Nath-led Congress government has decided to introduce a film tourism policy.
Tourism Minister Surendra Singh Baghel told News18 the government is trying to work out a policy that would offer cost-effective facilities to filmmakers and producers, besides simplifying the process of approvals.
Baghel said Madhya Pradesh has a lot of picturesque locations that could be utilised by filmmakers. Several film personalities had met the chief minister in the past and expressed their desire to work in the state, following which the state government decided to rework the existing policies.
They only want simpler approvals and better facilities for filmmaking, said the minister.
This will also generate employment and business opportunities for locals, said Baghel, adding that in a bid to promote not-so-popular destinations and heritage sites, his department plans to hold special events and festivals at places, including Mandu, Orchha and Hanuvantia.
The central Indian state has always been associated with Bollywood movies, but it could never emerge as a popular destination for filmmakers.
In 1957, renowned director BR Chopra had shot his film ‘Naya Daur’, followed by many of his colleagues. In the last few years, movies including ‘Rajneeti’, ‘Arakshan’, ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, ‘Chakravyuh’, ‘Gangaajal’, ‘Revolver Rani’, ‘Neerja’ and ‘Bajirao Mastani’ were shot in the state.
The producers of upcoming movies ‘Dabangg3’ and ‘Lion’ (a Hollywood film) found Maheshwar and Ujjain, respectively, suitable for their storylines.
Besides, a film city has also been in the pipeline for years and discussions are on with investors for coming up with one where the state government would offer 15% capital rebate, an official said.
Noted Bollywood personalities, including Jeetendra, Boney Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha and Vasu Bhagnani, had expressed their willingness in setting up the film city in Madhya Pradesh at different points of time, but the project could never see the light of day.
The MP Tourism Development Corporation (MPTDC) had also planned a film city in Bagrauda, around 15km from Bhopal, but the project could never take off after no investor came forward.
Later, a similar project was envisaged at Depalpur, close to Indore, but this too did not work out.
However, this time, the state government seems serious to develop MP as a preferred destination for filmmakers and producers and the MPTDC has already uploaded various related information on its official portal. It includes a list of sites that in the past had attracted directors and a list of technical experts and required infrastructure.
Ram Kumar Tiwari, Deputy Director of Film Tourism, told News18 at present, three international projects are being shot in MP, including ‘Shantaram’ by Paramount Pictures, ‘Suitable Boy’ by BBC and ‘White Tiger’ by Netflix.
Many more projects, including one by noted director Mani Ratnam, are also lined for the state, he said.
The government had also sent a delegation to the International Film Festival of India held in Goa to promote the state’s potential in this regard. Recently, the Indian Television Awards was hosted in Indore.