Kurbaan, I Hate Luv Stories, Student Of The Year, Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani, 2 States, Gori Tere Pyaar Mein, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil
Things will be easier when we have one window permission system in place which is what, we as an industry, are actively working towards.
In most parts of the world, you apply to the local Film Commissions. They liaise with all the required departments of the city/ state to approve the Location filming permit and come back to you with the highlighted issues (if any) and work with you to either address the issues raised or come up with alternative locations to fit the filming requirements. This is an extremely effective process to ensure a smooth shoot without problems popping up on the day of filming.
Shoot-friendly locations in India
The most enjoyable filming experience that I have had was in J&K when filming parts of Student Of The Year and Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani. Right from the local people to local police and government officials, the whole state is so shoot friendly. They were extremely welcoming of us and provided strong logistic support.
We must accept our films’ biggest fans are the people of our own country. It is their love that gives our films the box office numbers. But the flip side is that when one is shooting in public places, everyone wants to catch a glimpse of the star they have watched on screen.
Of course, it’s never their intention to hamper you, but sometimes their enthusiasm leads to filming in public spaces getting affected. Like if the crowd becomes unmanageable, pedestrian and vehicular traffic are disturbed and the local authorities stall your filming. To address this issue, the authorities sometimes permit filming only on weekends in business districts of a city.
Why we should shoot in India
India has one of the most stunning and diverse landscapes in the world. I’ve been all over India and, believe me, it’s beautiful. From the Himalayan mountains to deserts to pristine beaches to fast paced cities, we have it all. While the metropolitan cities are brimming with energy, there are other cities with a different but equally exciting pulse… and so much of it is still unseen! India is vibrant, colourful, beautiful and definitely full of winning locations for filming.
Shooting abroad is equal to shooting in India
It’s a myth that filming overseas is more expensive. Flying from Mumbai to certain parts of India costs as much as flying to certain destinations abroad. The logistic support available in certain countries is sometimes more conducive to filming complicated film sequences – especially action. There are some countries that give great rebates and incentives, but when you take airfare and hotel costs into account, it works out to the same as shooting in India.
Things that need to be done
1.We don’t have rebates on film shoots, except for regional films of that particular state. We must look into setting up a rebate system.
2.A rebate system would also draw more international film shoots to India, which will excite tourists and help the economy.
We the people
It’s important to remember that wherever we go, internationally, we are always representing our country – doubly so, when filming abroad. We have to become more disciplined and not leave a bad impression when we are filming overseas.
If we are shooting in a residential area, we must be considerate of residents, especially if we plan to shoot for longer hours. Residents don’t get anything when we shoot in their locations, so it’s imperative to make life easier for them.
Baaghi, Woodstock Villa, Dus Kahaniyaan, Alibaug, Mission Istanbul, Do Knot Disturb, Anjaana Anjaani, Joker
An executive producer is the bridge between a producer and the rest of the members of the film. They ensure that the director’s vision is met, keeping the director’s wants and needs in mind. The EP also handles the film’s budget and see to it that they do justice to the film at the same time. From choosing a location as well as making sure all the permissions and arrangements are in place, becomes part of the executive producer’s role.
For example, we were shooting in Bangkok a few years ago. We actually wanted to shoot in Malaysia, but Bangkok is more shoot-friendly in terms of cost. It’s also better to shoot in Bangkok because they have their own film industry, whereas in Malaysia you have to import everything.
It’s the same with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh — unless the film demands a Taj Mahal, because you can’t cheat on the Taj. If all it demands is a housing colony or street in Bareilly, you can shoot in Lucknow instead because the infrastructure will be better. So you do all those adjustments, all the while keeping the logistics in mind – fly directly, choose a hotel close to the shooting location to save on time and make sure everyone is well-rested.
Getting permissions is the biggest problem we face in India. If I need to shoot in Mumbai, the police permission clearly slates that you can’t make noise above a certain level, so if someone complains, they can come and stall your shoot. Then, if you have to shoot in south Mumbai, you have to have permission from the police, traffic police, customs, heritage department and so many others. In addition there are political parties you have to take into confidence.
So you do the rounds and you get all your permissions and then you have to handle the crowds and visitors. If you are in a residential area, you can’t shoot till late night. I think Mumbai is becoming more and more difficult to shoot in. You think it’ll be cheaper because you don’t have to budget for boarding, lodging or transportation, but at times it turns out to be more expensive. This makes things quite challenging.
The following are shooting friendly locations in India:
We shot Baaghi in Kerala and it was really a pleasant experience. I got in touch with the tourism ministry and they helped us with everything – Kalaripayattu students, Kathakali dancers, certain authentic locations. When we faced problem in a crowded market where the shop owners created a ruckus, the tourism ministry helped us out there too. And then, something that has never happened in my entire career — after we came back, they called and asked what difficulties we had faced and how they could make things better for us if we were to return to shoot in Kerala. They also said we could approach them any time, so they could get all the approvals done prior.
Goa is also very shoot-friendly. Common people also help here and make things easier. Delhi is pretty much like Mumbai – you can shoot after spending a lot of money. And the bigger the star the more difficult it becomes to manage the crowds. As our industry is based in Mumbai, people are used to celebrities, but other states are not, so the moment you set up your camera, people gather.
Fiji started offering incentives and a lot of films were shot there. Then Georgia began providing good cashback facilities. The benefit with foreign locations is the one-window clearance and transparency. They go by the rules, so everything gets done in time. And they are very particular about their rules. If you are well-organised, it’s very easy to shoot abroad.
Advantages of shooting in India
Whilst shooting in India, you can bend a few rules and shoot for longer hours. You can also outsource things and, it might take time, but you can get pretty much anything you need. In the end, being an Indian born in such a blessed country where you have all kind of locations, you also want to shoot in our own country.
2.A proper Film Commission body
3.More rebates from every state
4.Tourism departments should help, allowing us to capture the beauty of different regions
5.More recoginition as an industry, rather than being seen as an entertainment medium, because the more a certain place is depicted in film, the more tourism increases for that place.