The Uttarakhand government is taking various steps to encourage filmmakers to shoot their movies in Uttarakhand.  This includes constituting the Uttarakhand Film Development Council, exempting all films shot in the state from shooting charges, focussing on development of Film City at selected location and selection and development of places for outdoor shooting.

The two-day Film Conclave 2019, held in Mussorie on 7th and 8th November, is another step in this direction. The APN Group was the media partner of this film conclave. A galaxy of film producers and directors attended this event, where Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat lent a patient ear to their demands and requirements.

The Conclave was inaugurated with much fanfare with Chief Guest and Central Minister Smriti Irani and CM Rawat lighting the lamp and Editor-in-Chief of APN Group, Rajshri Rai being the master of  ceremonies.  Chairman of the APN Group and senior lawyer Pradeep Rai presented a token of gift to the two dignitaries, before the renowned singer Shoma Ghosh rendered Ganesh Vandana.

Later in his address to the filmmakers, CM Rawat promised all help to them for organising shoots in Uttarakhand. He said the government will soon come up with a single window system to avoid any delay and red tapism in approving their shooting schedules.

Smriti Irani had the audience in splits when she said she was confused as to whom she should represent – the film fraternity to which she once belonged or the government, in which she is presently serving as a minister. Irani stressed the need of multi-language content and the use of high quality technology in producing films. She said that the art and culture of Uttarakhand must be preserved.

Different sessions on ‘My film and experiences in Uttarakhand’, ‘Uttarakhand’s Film Policy – Today and Tomorrow’ and on other engrossing topics were competently conducted by Rajshri Rai, where renowned film makers  Muzaffar Ali, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Vishal and Rekha Bhardwaj,  Abhishek Dogra,  Ajay Arora, Director, Sanjay Dutt Productions, film producer Sandeep Singh, Dharmendra Mehra, President, Western India Film Producers Association, Komal Nahta, film trade analyst, actresses Pooja Bisht and Pooja Balotia putforth their views.

The idea of organising such a conclave and inviting film-makers to choose Uttarakhand as their shooting destination seems to have already paid dividends, when one of the invitees said that he will never forget the morning he spent in Mussoorie  where  he could see nature in full bloom and a pollution-free environment. Another guest said he was bowled over by the pristine beauty of hills which can anytime give the locales of Switzerland or New Zealand a stiff competition.

Indian film industry is the biggest in the world in terms of the number of films produced with around 1,500 to 2,000 films produced every year in more than 25 languages.  And Uttarakhand government is leaving no stone unturned to lure producers to the state. As a result of this, films like Student of The Year, Koi Mil Gaya, Lakshya, Paan Singh Tomar, Kedarnath, Badrinath were shot in Uttarakhand. Uttarakhand was also given a Special Mention Certificate during the National Film Festival 2017 to recognise the efforts made by it towards creating a film-friendly environment in the state.

And the way the present conclave has concluded, it seems Uttarakhand will soon have its plate full.

Krishna Rajit