The road to better ties between Delhi and Beijing is set to run through Bollywood, amid an ambitious push by the information and broadcasting ministry to open up India’s entertainment sector to foreign investment.
Bollywood actors Anil Kapoor (L) and Anupam Kher (R) pose with industrialist Anil Ambani (2L) and Chinese Director Zhang Yimou (2R) as they attend the opening ceremony for the 14th Mumbai Film Festival in Mumbai late October 18, 2012. (AFP PHOTO)
Here’s the story behind the new foreign-relations soap opera: Mainland China is India’s second-largest film market, after the US. A co-production agreement with China is now being vetted by the external affairs ministry.
Chinese producers are also set to make the first Chinese film, Golden Truck, with a “Bollywood flavour”. To be sure, China is set to be the “focus country” in this year’s International Film Festival of India in Goa.
Minister Manish Tewari has led an high-profile initiative to offer India’s under- tapped infrastructure to foreign production houses. India gets at least two applications from global producers a month to shoot in the country, most of which don’t get cleared in time.
Makers of the last Bond movie, Skyfall, had changed their decision to shoot in India after bureaucratic hassles. Tewari then proposed a single-window clearance system, now being finalised.
I&B secretary Bimal Julka is currently at the Berlin Film fest, where India has pitched tents to tap foreign producers. “Berlin has offered us a key platform to boost this mission,” Julka said. Tewari had set up a panel to revamp the archaic Cinematograph Act, which governs cinema administration.