SMALLER IS NICER FOR NEW-AGE BOLLYWOOD
Films high on emotional content draw upon the distinctive setting of non-metro cities and towns
Novelty is the name of the game in the show business. And a film’s setting is an integral part of that. Non-metro cities and smaller towns in India are attracting more and more Bollywood filmmakers for their distinctive setting, nicer landscape, and in some cases, shoot subsidies offered by the local authorities.
Filmmaker Aanand L Rai, who has produced Nil Battey Sannata (2015) and Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, believes that while cinema, in general, is not dependent on subsidies, a small-budget film can really benefit from such perks. Rai says, “I don’t work on stories for subsidies and I have my own reasons for placing my stories in small towns. However, when we try to make a film like Nil Battey Sannata — where you put up a certain fight to reach your audience — and (this year’s) Newton, then a certain kind of support from the authorities is required.”
For Bareilly Ki Barfi director Ashwini Iyer Tiwari, the landscape and emotions in a non-metro city are very different. “The most important thing is the emotion. A story [set] in metro cities is different from that in a smaller town,” she says. “Another important thing is that the landscape in heart of the country is more beautiful than in the metros.”
With several new-age films shot in Uttar Pradesh, we look at the support it offers. Gaurav Dwivedi, vice-chairman, UP Film Development Council, mentions a single-window clearance for permissions that a shooting team needs, and also subsidies of up to `2 crore if a certain percentage of the film is shot in the state.
That amount, says Toilet: Ek Prem Katha director Shree Narayan Singh, who has shot in Hoshangabad, MP, and Nandgaon, UP, isn’t a big enough lure for films that already have a budget of, say, `20 crore. He adds, however, that even a small subsidy can cover some of the publicity spend required for a film.
But trade analyst Atul Mohan says, “The thought of getting a subsidy is certainly there on a filmmaker’s mind. Otherwise, why would a film suddenly be shot in a state like Uttar Pradesh? Even if the subsidy is 10%, it makes a lot of difference. It definitely helps a producer; that’s why we have so many film teams shooting there.”
Stills from Behen Hogi Teri (right) and Bareilly Ki Barfi (below), both of which have been shot in Lucknow, UP. Filmmakers get some subsidy from the UP govt