Magazine article Screen International

Delhi Discusses Future as Filmmaking Centre

Magazine article Screen International

Delhi Discusses Future as Filmmaking Centre

Article excerpt

Indian filmmakers, industry execs and government officials gathered in Delhi during the on-going Osian's Cinefan festival to discuss the future of the Indian capital as a filmmaking hub.

Some high-profile films such as Delhi 6 and Rock Star have recently filmed in the city, which has experienced line producers, great locations and much more space than the epicentre of Bollywood and the Hindi-language film industry, Mumbai.

But although it's the seat of power and decision-making in India, Delhi can't boast of studios, post-production facilities, crews and equipment on the same level as Mumbai or India's regional filmmaking cities - Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Bangalore. As a result, young filmmakers such as Dibakar Banerjee and Anurag Kashyap, who lived and studied in Delhi, usually end up moving to Mumbai.

"Mumbai is a bad place to shoot yet you can't move out of the city," said Banerjee, who is attending the festival with political thriller Shanghai. "Film is a team effort and when a good group of people come together that's when it really starts to happen with consistent quantity."

On a separate panel, Elizabeth and Four Feathers director Shekhar Kapur agreed that it's a gathering of writers, filmmakers and technicians that make a filmmaking centre, rather than building infrastructure or insisting that films actually shoot there. "Look at Los Angeles - films are not shot in LA, they're shot all over the world, but distribution comes out of LA, so what actually makes a film hub?"

Neville Tuli, founder of arts auction house Osian's which organises Cinefan, suggested that Delhi should be "a great cultural city in which film plays a pivotal role," rather than a filmmaking centre. Banerjee agreed that "social and cultural history determine a film hub - you can't turn any city into a filmmaking centre overnight."

Local filmmaker Ramesh Sharma commented that Delhi could become the centre of India's independent cinema scene, although at present there are no theatres or other outlets to show arthouse or non-mainstream films. "We shouldn't just follow what Mumbai and Chennai are doing. We seldom see great regional cinema being shown here - Bollywood takes all the attention."

There were some points everyone agreed on - as with many Indian cities, Delhi could remove some of the expense and red tape involved in location shooting and introduce rebates for the city's expensive hotels. Banerjee suggested that scriptwriting workshops, a digital film festival and encouraging a leading post-production house to set up an outpost in Delhi would go some way towards spawning a filmmaking culture. …

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