Railways to rake in moolah with station devoted to film shootings

The railways have trained their sights on a blockbuster venture: a dedicated railway station for films in a city where big-ticket dreams are spun on celluloid.

Terminal idea: Wadi Bunder car shed, one of the possible locations identified by the railways for dedicated railway stations as sets for film shoots. Pic/Satyajit Desai

In news that will save directors and producers considerable location scouting, the Central Railway (CR) is planning to construct a dedicated station for shooting sequences featuring railway premises. The idea follows increasing demand for railway stations and trains to film scenes.

Atul Rane, chief public relations officer (CPRO), CR, said, “Though it is in its initial stages, the plan of allowing shooting in yards like Matunga workshop, Wadi Bunder or Kurla car shed, may be successful and also convenient for the crew.”

These spots -- that already have tracks and platform -- can be equipped with discarded rakes and other props, depending on the set requirements, officials said.

“This will help production houses shoot for their films at one place,” said a CR official, adding that the railways have been raking in big money by renting out premises for shooting. “We are seeing a tremendous increase in earnings from shooting this year as compared to last year.”

In 2011-12, Central Railway earned Rs 61.52 lakh, which distended to Rs 1.07 crore in 2012-13. This year, CR’s revenues through shooting surpassed earlier records with the authorities raking in Rs 91 lakh in just three months.

Chief PRO Rane added, “We have identified new locations for film shooting as people are looking for dormant locations.” The CR has also updated its list of locations where facilities of film shooting are available in Mumbai, Pune and Bhusawal divisions. Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (Kurla) in Mumbai division and Murtajapur in Bhusawal division are the new spots where CR has invited filmmakers for shooting.

One-stop process
If the authorities are to be believed, they have been receiving countless proposals from production houses for shooting in coaches or on station premises.
“Looking at the demand, we have set up a one-window clearance for such proposals. Now, the permissions are given in just 2-3 days depending on the script’s requirements. This is one of the biggest reasons for increased revenues from film shooting,” added the CR official.

Until now, getting permissions for shooting at railway stations entailed a long procedure.

There are formalities that the production house has to complete before getting the railways’ permit: insurance which may be anywhere between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 5 crore, agreement, indemnity bond and original script.

“Without these documents, we don’t accept the submission. Though as per our new rule, the permission is supposed to be given within three days of application,” the official said. To aid the film crew, CR has also assigned a special team that accompanies the film staff to avoid any hassles from the RPF and the GRP.

CR a favourite
Since April this year, 10 films and advertisements have been shot on CR premises which include: movies like Once upon a time in Mumbai Again, Gori Tere Pyar Mein, Dedh Ishkiya, Gunday and ads like those for Airtel and IPL team Mumbai Indians. However, the highest revenue generator is Yashraj Films’ Gunday. The production house has paid Rs 59.63 lakh to the railways for shooting at Wakad station near Pune. Shootings have also taken place at CST, Wadi Bunder, Chunabhatti, Satara, Apta etc. 

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