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Making film shooting easy in the City

Archana Mishra, Feb 5, 2013, DHNS:

In 1981, director Sai Paranjpye chose national capital for Chashme Badoor. She along with her crew made a one-of-its kind romantic comedy film by not only portraying some interesting characters on screen but by highlighting certain locations of Delhi like Lodhi Road, Defence Colony and Mandi House too.

It remains etched in our memories till date. As time passed, Shekhar Kapur too followed Sai’s path and shot Masoom in Delhi in 1983. It is as if, only Mumbai-based filmmakers have opted to shoot in the national capital, even Malayalam film director Joshiy too came all the way to Capital to shoot his thriller New Delhi in 1987.

It can be easily gauged that apni Dilli has always been a popular destination for directors. Since 1980s, filmmakers have loved shooting in Delhi – either because its more green than the other metros or because it has a lot of history or the charm of Chandni Chowk is just too much to resist. Delhi has hosted several films including well-known ones like Band Baaja Baraat, Delhi 6, Delhii Heights, Khosla Ka Ghosla, Love Aaj Kal and Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and keeping the trend going are another 30 projects which are slated to be shot within this year alone!

Now it seems Delhi Tourism has woken up to the possibility of making Delhi more film friendly destination. The Delhi Tourism and Transportation and Development Corporation (DTTDC) has been recently appointed as the nodal agency for co-ordinating and getting clearances from all other agencies. Efforts are being made to introduce single-window clearance for making the City a more attractive option for film shooting.

“It is a novel move by the Delhi government. By introducing a single-window clearance, the production teams will not have to run from pillar to post to get clearances from different agencies like Archeological Survey of India (ASI) and others for shooting their films,” says Luv Ranjan, director of movie Pyaar Ka Punchnama and AkashVani. Luv has shot near Jama Masjid and Paranthe Wali gali in Chandni Chowk.

Cinematographer Kartik Vijay who has worked on Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! opines, “Getting consent from ASI to shoot movies is not easy. In order to take permission there are a lot of bureaucratic hurdles. If this nodal agency simplifies the overall process it will undoubtedly ease the burden on production teams and things will be easier to manage.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Tourism assigned with a new set of responsibility is hoping to introduce single window clearance from 2014 onwards. Senior Chief Manager and the head of Films Division, KB Sharma says, “We are planning to set up a Film Commission, a statutory body to take charge of shootings in Delhi. The proposal is still in its initial stages though.
Meanwhile, Delhi continues to host films and their makers. Abhay Deol and Tamil actor Dhanush shot for their upcoming film Raanjhnaa at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, JNU. Shoojit Sircar who has earlier shot Vicky Donor here returned for his next Madras Caf while Tigmanshu Dhulia also shot parts of Sahib Biwi aur Gangster Returns in Delhi.

What attracts these filmmakers to set up their filmstage in Delhi? Director Anand Kumar who recently shot a few scenes of his upcoming movie Zila Ghaziabad starring Arshad Warsi and Boman Irani at Qutub Minar says, “First, it is the story that demands shooting in Delhi. Secondly, being born and brought up in Delhi, there is an easy connectivity to the city. I cannot think about a story staged in Rajasthan or Bihar because I won’t be able to explore the best of it whose impact will be visible in the movie,” says Anand, who has shot his earlier two movies Delhii Heights and Jugaad too, in the capital.


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