Mathura/Vrindavan, 2014.12.02 (TNN): Tax sops for shooting in Uttar Pradesh by the state government has started to show positive results with a number of film makers scouting for locations in the Braj region.
Thanks to the exotic locales, advanced studios, budding local talent and, of course, the iconic 17th-century monument of love, the Taj Mahal, about a dozen films and TV serials have already been shot in the Braj region in the past couple of years.
In recent months, more than half-a-dozen film projects have taken off, which are being shot at various locations in Agra region, including the Shri Krishna-land of Mathura and Vrindavan.
“The new policies have been formulated with an aim to luring more film makers to the Braj region. A number of film producers are evincing interest in the region and studying the logistics. The results will show in coming years,” says Shiv Kumar Sharma, actor, director and producer of the first Braj Bhasha film Braj Bhoomi, which became quite popular in the Braj region.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav recently announced sops for Bollywood film producers, inviting them to shoot in the state and enjoy tax benefits.
The CM posted this on Facebook a few months ago. “When films are shot in Uttar Pradesh, they create jobs and increase tourism. To encourage more films to shoot in Uttar Pradesh, we offer a subsidy of Rs 1 crore…We are committed to providing facilities such as tax rebates and financial assistance to films which are based on Uttar Pradesh’s culture, tradition and lifestyle. This policy is in effect for any producer who films in Uttar Pradesh.”
He had further said the government would provide a grant of 25% of a film’s cost if the movie used local dialects and shot at least 75% of the film in the state.
Allaying fears of film units, the state government has promised full security, and a friendly ambiance for hassle-free shooting. An official of the state information department said police protection would also be provided to keep the crowd in check if any film unit requested for security.
In the past few years, a number of films have been extensively shot in UP. Several TV serials, too, have been shot filmed here. So have films. Notable among them are Omkara, Dabangg, Tanu Weds Manu, Ghoom Ketu, Guns of Banaras, Tevar, Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Mausam and Ekk Deewana, among others. A number of films have enjoyed tax exemptions in the past.
“A significantly large number of young local artists have impressed Bollywood in the past few years, as the Braj region is now emerging as a vibrant cultural centre,” Jitendra Raghvanshi, national general secretary of the Indian People’s Theatre Association said. “I think one reason is the growth of the hospitality industry with better hotels. Then you have a variety of exciting locations for outdoor shooting. The general ambiance of the area has also improved, particularly in the tourist complex area.”
Culture critic Mahesh Dhakar credits local talent for making Braj mandal a popular destination. Priyank, who runs dancing classes in Mathura, says, “The potential is there and the interest that young boys and girls are taking in learning Bollywood dances indicates a growing trend in people aspiring to join the Mumbai-based film industry.”
The 1982 film Brij Bhoomi on You Tube: