Two years after flash floods wrecked havoc in Uttarakhand, the state government is planning to produce a film that will promote its picturesque locales and send a message that the state is safe for tourism.
The Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) is planning to hire a production house to shoot a 22-minute film that will be televised on national television channels, said tourism secretary and chief executive officer of UTDB, Umakant Panwar.
The film besides showcasing the state’s natural splendor will be packaged in such a way that it will convey a message that the state is safe for holidaymakers, he said.
"We are looking at a wide range of target audience, including religious, spiritual and adventure tourists… We want to convey the message that the state is safe and the roads have been restored," Panwar told Hindustan Times.
“We plan to telecast the film during prime time on national television channels with the message that Uttarakhand is safe for tourists. The project is likely to be completed within two months,” he added.
The move, however, has not gone down well with the state’s film fraternity.
Similar efforts to promote Uttarakhand's scenic beauty have largely gone unnoticed due to the absence of a film policy even after 14 years of the state’s formation , they said.
A popular locale with both Bollywood and regional film industry, Uttarakhand never managed to profit from its popularity due to the lack of a policy.
In January this year, the state government had released a draft of Uttarakhand's film policy 2015, with an aim to promote tourism through increased visibility of the region in films.
The policy proposes to offer financial support of Rs 5 lakh to filmmakers who promote tourism in Uttarakhand besides bearing 20 to 30% of editing cost for films, which are extensively shot in the state.
The government provides no support to local filmmakers, who are promoting the state’s scenic locales, said Pithoragarh-based filmmaker Ahsan Bakhsh.
"My films showcasing beautiful locales of Uttarakhand have received rave reviews abroad but sadly, such efforts have largely gone unnoticed and unsupported by the government in the absence of a film policy," said Bakhsh whose short film 'Aakhiri Munadi’ has been screened in more than a dozen international film festivals.
Bakhsh’s second production, a feature film, 'Under The Sky' has been selected for the 55th Zlin Film Festival to be held in Czech Republic in May this year.
The film has already been screened at three international film festivals, he added.
Producer-actor Urmi Negi, whose latest Garhwali film, Subero Gham that was extensively shot in picturesque locales, including Ukhimath, Guptkashi and Chopta, said both local and Bollywood film units shooting in the state have been suffering due to lack of a film policy.
“Films have a huge potential to attract tourists to the state but that can happen only when the efforts are duly supported by the government," he said.
Surendra Kumar, the media in-charge for chief minister Harish Rawat said that the government was "very serious" in its efforts on the film policy to promote tourism.
"A draft proposal has already been issued and the process of finalising it is going on at present…We are trying to launch it as soon as possible so that films can act as a major tourist puller," Kumar said.
Some films shot in Uttarakhand:
Dum Laga Ke Haisha
Student of the Year
Paan Singh Tomar
Bunty Aur Babli