The Central Railway is not making as much money by letting out its premises for film shoots as it was a couple of years ago. Although we have seen glimpses of stations and trains in recent Bollywood flicks such as Ra.One,Mere Brother Ki Dulhan and Mausum ,statistics show that fewer production houses are shooting on Central Railway property and revenue from the outlet has seen a sharp 60 per cent drop between 2009-10 and 2010-11.
One of the reasons that have led to this dip is the improved technology and the increasing use of visual effects or VFX. With VFX,we dont need to shoot on the location for a long time. We just need the basic shots and then we can intersperse them the with objects,people and effects. This way we save time as well as money, said an official from Eros International Media,a media production and distribution company.
For instance,the shooting of Ra.One required the use of Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus only for a day,though it had an elaborate sequence of a train barreling into the station,cutting through the platform and the station boundary walls on to the road only to be stopped by Shah Rukh Khans character with one hand in the exteriors of the station. The producers paid Central Railway Rs 1.25 lakh for this shoot. With the help of VFX,a few shots of the train and the station sufficed and the crew did not even need to get Shah Rukh to the spot,the Eros official said.
Only 13 production houses,including Red Chillies Entertainment,Excel Entertainment and Yash Raj Films,shot at Central Railway locations in 2011-12,compared to 28 in 2009-10 and 19 in 2010-11. CST,Apta station,Lonavala and Pune are the most preferred locations.
We do not publicise our premises for film shoots. We dont even go seeking offers, said Vidyadhar Malegaonkar,spokesman,CR. There are over a hundred non-commercial films for which we had given our premises for shooting free of charge in the past year. The railway charges Rs 1-1.25 lakh for big stations,Rs 50,000-60,000 for smaller ones and Rs 30,000-35,000 for the smallest ones.