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Why Film Makers Are Falling In Love With Madhya Pradesh

Offering various incentives to film makers, Madhya Pradesh is branding itself as a film-friendly state The state offers a diverse film making experience and subsidies through the Madhya Pradesh Film Policy 2020 It also has a dedicated online film portal to provide a single-point interface and time bound clearance mechanism for film makers
Indian Masterminds Stories

The last two years have witnessed the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh, becoming a hub of film making. With its rich and diverse locations ranging from heritage and religious sites to rural charm, forests and water bodies, the state has been attracting film makers from Bollywood, South India, television industry, OTT, and even overseas. 

The historical sites of Khajuraho and Sanchi, the forests of Kanha and Bandhavgarh, the forts and monuments of Gwalior, Orchha and Mandu, the culture of Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior offer film makers a most diverse film making experience. Hence, the popularity of the state as a film shooting destination has been growing steadily. 

To cash in on this trend and brand itself as a film-friendly state, and create more employment opportunities through the film industry, the state government launched the Madhya Pradesh Film Policy in 2020. 

Indian Masterminds spoke to senior IAS officer Sheo Shekhar Shukla, who is Principal Secretary of Tourism and Culture, Madhya Pradesh, to know how the state has positioned itself as an important destination for film shooting.

Shooting of the film ‘Selfie’ starring Akshay Kumar in Madhya Pradesh

FAVOURABLE CONDITIONS

Madhya Pradesh is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and wears the crown of the ‘Tiger and Leopard State of the Country’. 

A multitude of hit Bollywood films have been shot here over the years, from Dilip Kumar’s Aan (1952) to the most recent, Akshay Kumar and Pankaj Tripathy starrer OMG 2. Till now, more than 200+ projects including feature films, TV serials, TVCs and reality shows have been shot in various exquisite locations of the state. 

What makes the state ideal for shooting? Being located in the central part of India, it is very well connected with other states by air, train and road. The state is also blessed with 300 days of sunshine with favourable weather conditions which make it shoot-friendly all year round. 

Mr. Shukla said, “The low production cost, favourable weather condition, central location, and quick permissions and efficient hand holding by government enhance the state’s attractiveness as a film destination.” 

SINGLE WINDOW CLEARANCE 

To provide ease of filming, the state has a dedicated online film web portal in order to provide a single-point interface and time bound clearance mechanism for film makers. It also offers pre production and post production facilities. 

The pre productions facilities are casting, rehearsal with the actors, budgeting, script writing, location scouting, wardrobe, set design, pre visualization, and pre composition. And the post production facilities are picture editing (or cutting), sound editing, sound effects and mixing, visual effects, colour correction, animation, etc. 

Another advantage is the readily accessible infrastructure like lights, power, caravans and the Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation owned 70+ hotels across the state. 

FILM FACILITATION CELL

Further, to address the film makers’ issues, a dedicated ‘Film Facilitation Cell’ was created to act as a nodal agency for filming in the state. The cell works as an executive body to strengthen the relationship with various stakeholders and facilitates smooth administrative and law and order support. 

A Nodal Officer has been appointed for single point contact for measures or provisions for local departments and authorities that accord permissions. There is an online web portal for permission, payment and approvals, and a clear timeline for issuing approval or permission, and respond to producer’s feedback or grievances. 

Also, the state is a treasure house of skilled local artists and labour. It is the birth place of many Bollywood celebrities like Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Anu Kapoor, Salman Khan, Govind Namdev, Mukesh Tiwari, etc.

Amitabh Bachchan shooting for a film in MP

SUBSIDIES FOR FILM MAKERS

As per the Film Tourism Policy 2020, the state offers first time subsidies to makers of both international and Indian feature films, web series, TV serials and documentaries, and a time bound refund process of security amount.

The subsidy for first film shooting is up to Rs. 1 crore or 25% of the total cost of production, whichever is lower criteria, for minimum 50% of total shooting days in the state. 

There are additional incentives for southern regional languages films like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam. There is also a provision for capital subsidies to investors for establishment of filming infrastructures such as studios, film city, cinema halls, etc. Further, they can avail up to 40% discount on lodging in all MP Tourism hotels.

RESERVED LAND BANKS 

The state has also reserved land banks for film infrastructure development. More than 1000 acre of government land has been reserved for development of a Film City, studios, production, post-production and VFX, authentic shooting locations, theatre establishment with government grants, stable film industrial environment, and modern infrastructure and omnipresent hotels.

At the same time, the government is also encouraging the youth to take up careers in the film industry. “Youngsters are focusing their career in film making industry on a large scale and we have a provision to encourage and improve institutes for acting, direction, script writing, animation, camera techniques, etc,” Mr. Shukla said. 

Two other movies shot in MP: One a hit with the public, the other critically acclaimed

POSITIVE OUTCOME

Post Pandemic, the Madhya Pradesh Film Facilitation Cell got approximately 70 project inquiries including feature film, web series, TV serial and documentary. Over 20 projects’ shoots have been completed and 25 more projects’ shootings have been planned in the state. 

Amazon Prime feature film Sherni and Durgamati and web series Panchayat, Gullak and Maharani are the projects which were released recently, and were shot in Madhya Pradesh completely. 

In a nutshell, films are a good way for providing entertainment, branding of the state, and also creating employment with proper social, cultural and infrastructural development. We welcome film makers to our state for easy and quicker permissions and support, as per the Madhya Pradesh Film Tourism Policy 2020,” Mr. Shukla said in conclusion. 


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