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I&B ministry may introduce film visas for foreign filmmakers

I&B ministry is considering introduction of a film visa for foreign crew and productions

In a positive step towards making India a more friendly country for foreign filmmakers, the Union government is said to be considering a proposal to grant them film visas for hassle-free shooting.

A still from the recently released film The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which was shot in India
A still from the recently released film 'The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel', which was shot in India 

Filmmaker Kinjal Tanna, who represents the Association of Advertising Producers (ASAP), recently met Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Rathore in this regard. Says Tanna, "Foreign crew frequently visit India for shooting commercials and feature films, but various unions harass them and even ask them to pay a fine for shooting 'illegally' in India. So, we have requested the minister to introduce a 'film visa' category in all applications forms for foreigners applying for visa to India."

Cyrus Pagdiwala, secretary of ASAP, says for every shoot that's organised in the city, permission is required to be secured from various bodies. "The number of administrative bodies keeps increasing as obviously the bribes, extortion and red tape. Our business of filming is perfectly legit.

Yet we get constantly harassed. So, we have suggested for the introduction of a film visa. This will be exclusively for the crew coming to shoot in India and be available on fast-track basis. The producer here will stand guarantee for such imports. This model is already existing in many places like Malaysia, Thailand and Dubai," he adds.

Tanna says the proposal was received positively and would be discussed further with the Ministry of External Affairs. "Once this is introduced, it will also benefit Indian filmmakers as they frequently hire foreign crew for specialised categories," he states. During his meeting with the minister, there was also a discussion on introducing a single window clearance for all shoots across the country, like it has been done by the Gujarat government.

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