New Delhi: India has registered the highest-ever number of clearances given for shooting of foreign films, seeing an increase of over 33 per cent, after the Narendra Modi government pushed a single-window clearance scheme for them.
In its first year of creation, the Film Facilitation Office secured shooting permissions to 40 film crews to shoot in the country in 2016. Government statistics revealed that the number of clearances given to foreign film producers for shooting in 2015 was 30, 25 in 2014 and 33 in 2013.
The FFO was setup to facilitate a single-window clearance for film makers, and is being considered one of the most busness-friendly steps initiated by the government in the sector. The FFO acts as a facilitation point for film producers and assist them in obtaining requisite permissions, disseminate information on shooting locales as well as facilities available with the Indian film industry for production and post-production. The FFO came into existance in December 2015.
Among the movies and programmes cleared by the I&B ministry during 2016 include nine approvals to production houses based in the US and seven to those based in the UK.
Eight clearances have also been given to film crews based in various Eureopean countries and a similar number to producers from Bangladesh, sources added.
In another step to help foreign filmmakers, the Modi government has asked all state governments to facilitate foreign film crews and production houses. The states have also been asked to appoint a nodal officer to interact with these crews so that they do not face trouble in shooting of films.
Most of these steps for the foreign film makers come as Union I&B minister M. Venkaiah Naidu has been takeing up their cases with various ministries in the government.
The Modi government had also introduced the concept of “film visa”, as reported by this newspaper on March 1. The film visa has been created as a separate category under the “liberalisation, simplification and rationalisation of visa regime in India” by the introduction of a new category of visa titled “Film (F) Visa”.