Uttar Pradesh poll effect: Bollywood goes on a break
Shoot of several big-banner films in Uttar Pradesh suspended until mid-March in view of upcoming elections; makers hope current government's sops will stay
Director Ratna Sinha with Gaurav Dwivedi of UP Film Development Council on location hunt in Allahabad for Rajkummar Rao's next, Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana
The high-stakes Uttar Pradesh assembly elections have put a brake on the filming of Bollywood movies in the state. Polls will be held in seven phases from February 11 to March 8, and the counting of votes will take place on March 11. Due to the political heat, filmmakers are playing safe and have rescheduled their shoot dates to after mid-March.
For a while, UP has been the go-to place for Bollywood filmmakers because of the Akhilesh Yadav government's film-friendly policies. Filmmakers are offered incentives to showcase the state's culture, which, in turn, generates local employment and helps boost tourism.
Leading stars like Shah Rukh Khan, Sanjay Dutt and Farhan Akhtar have shoots lined up. Gaurav Dwivedi, vice-chairman, UP Film Development Council, says, "Due to election fever, filmmakers have decided to shoot after the polls are over. Elections go on for almost a month, and right now, the state machinery is tied up."
The uncertainty around the poll outcome [whether Akhilesh, one who has initiated the trend, will win or not] is reason for worry. Dwivedi adds, "Everyone is hoping for a positive outcome. We will be extending support to the state [new govt] even post polls. There is a lot of enthusiasm among Bollywood filmmakers to set their stories in UP. We provide logistics and administrative support to them."
B-Town's presence in UP soared during Akhilesh's tenure as reported 'UP is the new UK' (hitlist, November 23, 2016). Last year's Saifai Mahotsav, an annual cultural event in Etawah, was attended by Saif Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor and Ranveer Singh. However, it didn't happen this year due to turmoil in the Samajwadi Party.
Abhishek Bachchan, Farhan Akhtar and Diana Penty
Lucknow Prabhudheva's Mr Lefty starring Abhishek Bachchan
Meerut Aanand L Rai's film starring Shah Rukh Khan
Agra Omung Kumar's Bhoomi, starring Sanjay Dutt
Lucknow Tito Juneja's film with Boman Irani
Raebareli Anurag Kashyap's Mukkebaaz with Vineet Singh and Jimmy Sheirgill
Lucknow Nikkhil Advani's Lucknow Central with Farhan Akhtar and Diana Penty
Allahabad and Lucknow Ratna Sinha's Shaadi Mein Zaroor Aana with Rajkummar Rao
Benares and Allahabad Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan's space adventure, Chanda Mama Door Ke, with Sushant Singh Rajput