Coming soon, separate visas for foreign film-makers

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani |Shishir Sinha | | Updated on: Dec 06, 2021

BL30_01_RATHORE | Photo Credit: Ramesh Sharma

Move aimed at marketing country’s movie-making prowess, locales

“Lights, camera, action.” These are perhaps the three words that transcend every divide in India, with movies made in dozens of states and languages.

Inspired by Hollywood movies like The Life of Pi and Zero Dark Thirty , shot on Indian locations, the Centre wants to market aggressively to film producers abroad the country’s movie-making prowess — technically-qualified manpower, pool of talented actors and a variety of shooting locations, especially the last.

It plans to make it easy for film professionals to come into the country by offering them separate visas. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry is already in discussion with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on the proposal, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, told BusinessLine here.

Business visa issues “Today, those who visit India for scouting locations for shooting films come on a business visa. Since there is no separate category of visa for these professionals, they face various challenges. We are looking to address these concerns. We have taken up the case with the MEA. The idea is to give such film production professionals easier and quicker visas, which are separate from business visas that allow them to do a reconnaissance of film locations and shoot,” Rathore said.

He pointed to the government is already working towards making it easy for shooting films in India through a single-window clearance mechanism.

Entertainment is among the 25 focus areas under the “Make in India” campaign and the I&B Ministry has been promoting India as a filming destination the past few months. The Minister led a delegation to the just-concluded Cannes Films Festival and had discussions with film-makers who have worked in India to identify areas of concern. The Ministry officials also had discussions with the organisers of Cannes Film Festival on areas of co-operation for the International Film Festival of India.

Co-production pacts Already, India has signed several audio-visual co-production agreements with countries such as China and France. The agreements, which offer financial sops too, are expected to give impetus to economic activity and employment generation in India. Additionally, it increases the visibility of India as a film shooting destination. Rathore said the government is also actively looking at making the National Film Development Corporation of India a film facilitation centre.

Published on May 29, 2015
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