The Indian Motion Picture Producers’ Association has written a letter to the Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in support of the Mumbai film industry, along with suggestions to sustain the entertainment industry in the time of crisis.
The complete letter reads: “We are happy to note that your kind self has reacted positively to the development where the UP Chief Minister has reportedly visited Mumbai to promote Film City in Uttar Pradesh in which connection you have very vocally and clearly stated that Maharashtra is the birth place of the film industry and you will not allow anybody to take the film industry from Maharashtra and will do whatever is needed to ensure that the film industry remains in Maharashtra and does not shift to any other state.
“Bollywood and the Hindi film industry have been born and have grown in Mumbai as it is a very vibrant city with excellent weather throughout the year enabling comfortable working / shooting of all films because in other parts of the country except those which are close to the sea like Kolkata, Chennai, Kerala, Hyderabad and Bangalore is not really possible because of extreme weather conditions as in UP, MP and Rajasthan you have severe heat during the summer and chilling cold during the winters thereby totally changing the background scenario due to which continuity of scenes shot in summers cannot be maintained and shooting becomes very difficult.
“Mumbai is the heart of the Hindi film industry and nobody can take it anywhere because the industry consists of its people, which are producers, directors, artistes and other technicians are the ones who form the core of the industry, and we can assure you that our members will definitely not lose out on opportunities made available to them by other states and countries, but they will never shift their base because the Hindi film industry considers Mumbai to be its heart and soul and can never live anywhere else, as Mumbai has magnetic energy which invigorates the creative energy for which majority of Hindi films which are released and became popular are those which are produced in Mumbai because of their superior quality, and majority of films produced in other states and centers have never become popular with the people due to their quality.
“It is noteworthy that Mumbai produces majority of films in Hindi language which is the one language in the country which has kept Indians all over the world connected to each other due to the entertainment and drama provided to them by Hindi films which are the main source of saluting our culture and social fabric and keeping national integrity alive and intact.
“In the present economic scenario as the lock down pandemic continues to wreak havoc the birth place of Hindi Cinema is gradually becoming the graveyard and we have repeatedly pleaded that necessary steps need to be taken to save the Hindi film industry. We are happy that at least now you have kindly realised that this industry which has provided tremendous tourism promotion and generated heavy employment despite tremendous harassment by various workers unions headed by various political leaders of various political parties despite which the Hindi film industry has tried to survive in the state of Maharashtra and they should be encouraged to stay and in order to see that the industry remains, survives and prospers in Maharashtra it is very important that proactive steps be taken immediately to assure the Hindi film industry that it is a high priority sector and will be provided all benefits and incentives which are available to all entrepreneurs who are setting up any industry and who can avail various subsidies, tax holidays and cheap availability of resources because we all have to realize that the Hindi film industry is also a business which needs to be nurtured and looked after and hence all benefits available to other industries have to be made available to films and entertainment industry if they are going to be a sustainable and viable proposition.
“We request you to kindly consider our following suggestions which will go a long way in ensuring that the film industry not only survives but also prospers and regains its lost glory in the State of Maharashtra :-
“Subsidies and Entertainment tax exemption which are made available only for all Marathi films by the Government at its expense should also be made applicable to all Hindi films because the film industry today is in dire need of financial assistance and today Hindi film producers are getting subsidies from various State Governments including UP and many others and also heavy subsidies / tax exemptions whenever they are shooting their films in UK, Mauritius and various other parts of the world where because of the shooting the income from tourism increases manifold and therefore various countries and State Governments are providing liberal amounts as grant, subsidies and tax refund due to which the producers prefer going to these locations as they get new locations at reasonable costs which are very much lower than shooting in Maharashtra and therefore everyone is preferring to shoot outdoor which situation needs to be rectified.
“Shooting in Maharashtra needs to be encouraged and locations should be provided with minimum permissions and free of cost as done in various countries as well as states of South India where to encourage recovery of the film industry shooting locations owned by the Governments are being provided free of cost so that production restarts and it is essential that locations particularly in Dada Saheb Phalke Film City should be made available at the lowest possible cost and the regular discount of 25 per cent offered by Film City should be made applicable for Hindi films also as Hindi films are becoming extinct now and need support of the Government for their survival.
“There are too many unions of workers and each political party has its own film based union who visit and cause disturbance and disrupt shootings on one ground or the other forcing the producers to shift out of the state for harmonious working environment and therefore provision of trouble free labour force and personnel is the need of the hour. The Government needs to ensure that harassment of producers is stopped as there are too many unions most of which are illegal and none of which are recognised by the Hindi film industry and the Government should provide adequate protection to producers by taking strict and severe action against such unions.
“The Maharashtra Government should amend the decades old rules & regulations which do not apply to any other industry but apply to the film industry as a result of which most single screen cinemas of Hindi film industry and major studios in Mumbai are closing down while under the new rules Multiplexes are encouraged with 5 years tax breaks and other advantages which should be made available to single screen cinemas also to save them from extinction.
“You will kindly agree that the need for one window clearance arose because of substantial and numerous difficulties being faced by producers while shooting in the State of Maharashtra as a result of which producers were shooting in the state only if absolutely necessary because other states of the country as well as foreign countries had no such restrictions or permissions required and besides paying subsidy of up to 50 per cent of the production cost the State Governments as well as Foreign Countries were making public locations available free of cost to all producers and there were no restrictions or conditions imposed on shootings in privately owned locations where the amounts to be paid for the locations were mutually decided by the producer and the location owner without any involvement of the State or Foreign Country Government.
“Like many Countries as well as State Governments in India it is necessary to provide Government locations for shootings free of cost and with full security as presently all shootings are regularly disturbed by one authority or the other due to multiplicity of permissions required for shootings.
“It is very important to have Single Window Clearance with minimum paperwork and all authorities including Municipal bodies, Police, Coast Guards and Defence Forces for giving permissions for shooting on roads, beaches and other public areas as despite paying heavy fees producers are harassed due to the numerous permissions required.
“We are sure that after considering our above request you will kindly ensure that needful is done to ensure that Mumbai remains the heart and soul of Bollywood which is the symbol of the Hindi film industry and despite all offers and favours conferred upon the producers who will do what is best for their business but they will never leave Mumbai as long as the Government of Maharashtra continues to make the atmosphere work-friendly and welcoming and we are sure that you will kindly do the needful in the matter,” concluded IMPPA in the letters.