With Lok Sabha elections round the corner, the Gujarat government is warming up to Bollywood.
The Narendra Modi government has literally rolled out the red carpet by for the film and advertising units to make Gujarat a hot shooting destination. This has been done with promises to provide prompt liquor permits for the unit, accommodation at 50 per cent concession, free police bandobast at locations and permission for shooting in just seven days, among others.
This is being seen as an extension of Modi’s own bond with Bollywood celebrities coupled with the next step in promoting tourism after the much successful ‘Khushboo Gujarat Ki’ advertisement campaign featuring Amitabh Bachchan to attract more tourists.
While the budgetary provisions were made for the same in March 2013, the department is all set to implement it now.
In a general resolution by the Industries and Mines department dated January 2 a special Film Shooting Cell will be opened within the Tourism Corporation of Gujarat Limited (TCGL) at Gandhinagar and Mumbai branch office, which will include four consultants. “Be it about getting alcohol consumption permission for the crew or other logistics, the facilitation centre will guide the unit,’’ said a top-level official from the industries department.
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Along with carrying out marketing activities, the special cell will also function as a facilitation centre.
“Gujarat with its long coastline, white Rann, religious and historic places and walled cities can be developed as an ideal location for shooting films and serials. We only need to encourage the industry. If prompt approval and adequate facilities are provided to the producers then tourism industry can benefit vastly,” said an official from the industry department.
If local authorities like commissioner of police, municipal commissioner and collector fail to reply to the shooting request for a particular location within seven days of filing of application, the permission will be deemed to have been granted.
For police bandobast at outdoor location and public places, the government will not charge any fees.
The doors of the tourism department-run Toran Hotels across the state have been opened for the shooting units. “Rooms at all Toran Hotels will be available at 50 per cent concession to the crew,” an official added.
Last year saw Gujarat featuring in many prominent A list Hindi movies including Kai Po Che, D Day, Saheb Biwi Aur Gangster 2 and Ram-Leela among others.
It also witnessed Bollywood celebrities coming closer to Modi with many of them including John Abraham, Akshay Kumar and Paresh Raval paying him visits. Ajay Devgan also hosted a Google Tent event for Modi, while Priety Zinta has shown interest in starting a film studio.