Mauritius bound

Scenic surroundings and the Film Rebate Scheme attracted the makers of Humshakals, Ek Villain The Shaukeens and others to Mauritius

Written by Geety Sahgal | Mumbai | Published:September 5, 2014 1:00 am
Akshay Kumar amidst the tall palms in The Shaukeens Akshay Kumar amidst the tall palms in The Shaukeens

Director Abhishek Sharma who shot over 60 per cent of the recently completed The Shaukeens in Mauritius calls the exotic island ‘glorified Goa’ stating that it is an ideal shooting location when it comes to shooting sequences that require beaches and scenic surroundings. And if you club it with the 30 per cent rebate that the Board of Investments- Mauritius is giving as an incentive to shoot there, it’s not surprising that several film-makers are planning to shoot there. “Yes, the rebate was definitely an attraction. In fact, now that our shooting is over we will be submitting the bills to the Board and they will give the cash back. Getting permission to shoot there takes about a week after a request is put in,” said Murad Khetani, producer of The Shaukeens.

The first time

The scenic landscapes of Mauritius, however, caught the eyes of film-makers as early as 1977 when Sanjay Khan shot his Chandi Sona there. But the location shot into prominence after Sawaan Kumar Tak picturised his film Souten. The audience was mesmerised as Rajesh Khanna and Tina Munim’s romance sparkled in the clear blue waters and stunning skyline of the beautiful island.
Several film-makers then went on to explore the remarkable location including Aatish, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Chashme Badoor and more recently Go Goa Gone.
Says director Krishna D.K. who shot almost one third of Go Goa Gone in Mauritius. “Even though the film is based in Goa, we shot a large portion in Mauritius because we needed an idealistic beach place and Mauritius was perfect. Though the rebate facility was not available when we shot Go Goa Gone, shooting in Mauritius was a breeze. I only felt they need to set up a better infrastructure,” said the director.

The rebate

With the Government of Mauritius dangling the rebate bait, several film-makers are heading to the country. The rebate comes as an added bonus to shooting in scenic surroundings with easy access to locations like airports, ports and botanical gardens.
“We give a 30 per cent rebate to producers and production houses on the total expenditure they incur while shooting in Mauritius. This would include accommodation, food, hired equipment, manpower etc,” informed Nitin Pandea, Senior Director, Board of Investment-Mauritius.
This attractive incentive he says has upped the number of producers singling Mauritius for their film shoots. “Ever since we introduced the rebate last year, we have had 27 requests for film shootings out of which 13 are from India. This includes film-makers from South India as well. Tips and Balaji are two of the production houses besides others,” he said, adding that Humshakals and Akshay Kumar’s The Shaukeens were two films shot in Mauritius after the rebate was announced.
The procedures for obtaining permissions are quick and simple, requiring one working day. But, shooting in restricted areas like airports requires three working days. The minimum budget allocated for shoot in Mauritius has to be 100,000 dollars. “But there is no upper limit. Whatever the budget the 30 per cent rebate stands,” he states.

Shooting amenities in Mauritius

* Clearance certificate can be obtained within a day.

* Minimum budget for a film shoot to avail the Film Rebate Scheme has to be 100,000 dollars.

* Thirty per cent discount on all expenditure including accommodation, food, equipment hired etc.

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