Delhi Tourism has been nominated as the nodal agency for facilitating film shootings in Delhi, says S P Singh, CEO & MD of Delhi Tourism & Transportation Development Corporation Ltd, Government of Delhi, adding that the soon to be implemented Single Window Clearance Mechanism will make things easy for filmmakers.
What’s your objective at forums like Cannes to woo filmmakers?
Delhi has emerged as one of Bollywood’s favourite shooting destinations. Several globally acclaimed filmmakers have either shot for their movies or are scouting for locations in Delhi. In the past two years, due to improvement in the support system and nomination of Delhi Tourism as the nodal agency for facilitating film shootings in Delhi, global cinema is looking towards Delhi like never before. The number of films shot in the city has substantially increased.
Delhi apart from being a filmmaker’s delight also has availability of an incredible talent pool, lower production cost, international connectivity, better infrastructure and more than 200 locations to shoot at. Delhi Tourism itself has a few properties which can be used as ideal locations to shoot at.
Delhi is one of the most beautiful capital cities in the world. What steps are being taken to bring global filmmakers and production houses to the Indian capital?
Delhi is the National Capital of India and has been its capital since ancient times. The city has a continuous living history of more than 5000 years. Our legacy has the enduring imprint of outstanding universal values. They reside as proud symbols set within Delhi’s monumental heritage sites as well as in Modern India’s exuberant expressions. All within the same frame. It also has the singular honour of not one but three UNESCO’s World Heritage Monuments in its midst. The Qutub Minar, Red Fort & Humayun’s Tomb.
Delhi Tourism has been nominated as the nodal agency for facilitating film shootings in Delhi. The soon to be implemented Single Window Clearance Mechanism of Delhi Tourism makes it convenient for film producers to get shooting permissions as there is no need to contact multiple agencies to shoot at various locations. We hope that this initiative will bring global and Indian filmmakers to discover the beauty of Indian stories, locations, art, culture and rich legacy.
How film-friendly is Delhi government?
Many eminent filmmakers have been on record highlighting the immense help they have found from Delhi’s government and its people while shooting their movies. The fact is that filmmaking is one of the most strenuous human activity which requires a heightened, nuanced, ever careful and secure environment within which filmmakers can create. We have always striven to ensure that and will continue to do so.
What has been your experience engaging with film producers in recent times?
It has been a very encouraging experience engaging with film producers. In last 5 years, over 200 films have been shot in Delhi. As films and tourism go hand in hand, shoots have had a significant impact in our promotion of Delhi as a tourist destination.
What are the positives you see in Delhi to be in league with global film locales – Berlin, LA, New York, Toronto and other cities?
Delhi has all ingredients and essentials which make for excellent cinema. That a number of international success stories have been spun in Delhi prove our point. Both blockbusters and critical successes trace their roots to our proud eternal city.
Delhi is stunning visually and is the immortal stage for many “qissas” to be told. Ranking in the same frame of global cinematic favourites like New York, Paris, Rome, Toronto, London, Madrid, Moscow, Istanbul and Mumbai. Delhi is many cities forged into one. Bearer of multiple identities, Delhi still is singular in its virtue, beauty and intrinsic charm of its people.
Its six seasons and seven incarnations. Its proud sense of hospitality. Its global cuisine and culture with proud legacies in dance, music, fashion, visual art and theatre. The state-of-the-art infrastructure, its gallies and avenues. Its magnificent architecture that include President House, Parliament House, North & South Block. The path-breaking work of evolved architects like EdwinLutyens, Charles Correa, Joseph Allen Stein and Balkrishna Doshi. The profound existence of National School of Drama that has given a steady flow of rich talent that form our cinema.
It is no wonder then that some of the finest auteurs of Indian and global cinema have repeatedly sought Delhi as their muse and motivation to create.
What according to you are the advantages of getting a film shot in Delhi?
As stated earlier Delhi has the proud infrastructure that hosts excellence of all kind. Hotels, transport, communication, film shooting equipment and film processing. Trained, multi-skilled, multi-dimensional manpower for cinema is available in Delhi coupled with relatively low production costs. The international airport here is among the top four airports in the world and is capable of handling chartered flights and big international crews. Further, the Delhi government facilitates all required permissions and assistance with film production in Delhi. Any filmmaker can send in application directly to Delhi Tourism stating the desired locations to shoot at to and our Film Shooting Facilitation Cell, Delhi Tourism will do all the groundwork for you. It can also facilitate air bookings, hotel accommodation, ground transport and catering support for the entire film unit in Delhi.
What are the locales that you would like to promote in Delhi?
Delhi is not only the capital of India but is also is the perfect combination of primed instincts and positive motivations. It is a filmmakers’ delight to work in our city. The city is full of beautiful locations and sites to suit distinct cinematic themes. In the last five years more than two hundred films have been shot in Delhi. Most of them have been outstanding successes and audience favourites, Some of them are Rang De Basanti, Chak de India, 3 Idiots, Dev D, Band Baja Baraat, Agent Vinod, Vicky Donor, PK, Kill Dil, Kick, Tanu weds Manu Returns, Piku, Pink, Sultan and Dangal. Amongst the international productions set here are important projects like Jobs, Holy Smoke, Eat, Pray Love, 2012 and Gandhi.
They have been shot against the magnificent backdrops which enumerate both our syncretic expressions and legacy coupled with our eminently modern outlook.
Do you have a redressal mechanism in place for film producers to contact when they face problem during a film shoot?
We will be happy to assist the filmmaker through the course of shooting and would try and eliminate any problem or difficulty faced during the shoot.
Will you be forthcoming if any of the foreign film producers want to project Delhi as a backdrop city for a feature film?
Gladly. We are committed to creating great cinema from across the world. We see ourselves as part of the international filmmaking community which will be proud to see more of Delhi and our people in international cinema. We are committed.