The Gujarati film industry, popularly called as Dhollywood, which is riding high following the box-office hits of some films with contemporary and socially relevant themes, got a shot in the arm from the Gujarat government Tuesday. The state government announced its new policy for the promotion of quality Gujarati films. Under the policy, a gradation system has been introduced for providing financial assistance to Gujarati film producers that will range from Rs 5 lakh to 50 lakh.
Apart from this, films which win national or international acclamation at events like Oscar, Cannes Film Festival, France Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival etc. will be given additional award of up to Rs 5 crore.
This comes three years after suspending its policy of giving Rs 5 lakh subsidy to Gujarati films. The old policy was discontinued from August 31, 2013.
Senior cabinet minister Nitin Patel announced the new policy at a press conference here. He said that with the new policy, the government was confident that the number of films produced in Gujarat will increase from present 35 films per year to around 100 films per year.
The policy document says that through past experiences it was realised that the main intention of old policy had not been attained. “As a result, an image prevails that Gujarati films are not quality products. And it used to attract a lot of criticism for this. And so, to increase quality of Gujarati films and to create an atmosphere that inspires more and more people to watch Gujarati films, the latest policy was under consideration,” it adds.
In-charge Secretary of Information & Broadcasting Department, Ajay Bhadoo, who was present in the conference said that the policy is modeled on similar Maharashtra policy, but it would give more benefits to films compared to Maharashtra Government.
The new policy has introduced a gradation system for providing financial assistance to Gujarati film producers. According to which, based on the average marks given by different members of a Film Screening Committee (FSC) to a particular film, its grade will be decided. The FSC will be consisting of four government officials associated with the subject and 10 experts on various components of filmmaking.
Based on the average marks it gets from the FCC members and the commercial tickets it sells, each film will be given grades; A, B, C, and D. ‘A’ grade movies will get financial assistance of up to Rs 50 lakh, ‘B’ grade of up to Rs 25 lakh, ‘C’ grade of up to Rs 10 lakh and ‘D’ grade movies will be eligible for up to Rs 5 lakh assistance.
Total marks for the gradation will be 80; 20 of them will be on commercial tickets sold by the film. Rest of the marks will be based on marks given by FSC members on various film making components like script, direction, acting, lyrics, music, editing, cinematography, composing, art direction, sound recording, visual effects, locations and makeup/costume.
Films getting less than 41 marks of FSC will not get any financial assistance under the policy. Also, films based on the theme of children and women empowerment will be given additional 25 per cent financial assistance by the state government.
Apart from this, the government has also announced increase in the prize money for best films and for individual performances related to films like best director, best writer, best actor, best playback singer etc.. The maximum prize amount for best film will be Rs 2 lakh and for best director it will be Rs 51,000.
The policy has earmarked criteria as minimum qualification grounds for a film to get benefit of the promotional policy. The film must have ‘U’ or ‘U/A’ certificate of Central Board of Film Certification; no film with ‘A’ Certificate will be eligible for the benefits of the policy. The film also must have been shot on 35 mm or 2K Resolution or Higher Format and it must be of duration of 100 minutes or more. Patel said that no film which promoted social evils like superstition & ‘Sati’ Custom or issues jeopardising national interests would be eligible under the policy. When asked, if a film that got clearance from CBFC, but was based on issues like Patidar reservation stir would be eligible under the policy, Patel said that the committee of Gujarat Government formed under the Policy could take independent decision in that regard to implement the State Government’s policy.
The policy has put no compulsion on multiplexes and single screen theatres on reserving minimum prime slots for screening Gujarati films. Bhadoo said, “We have kept minimum 49 shows per year of Gujarati films in theatres, but there is no provision for reserving prime time slot there.”