The Uttar Pradesh Film Policy has been actively implemented under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav. As a result of this policy, filmmakers shooting in Uttar Pradesh will now be given subsidies. To encourage regional talent, films in local dialects such as Braj, Awadhi, Bundeli and Bhojpuri will also be given subsidies. It has also been decided that regional films will be screened for at least two weeks every year. The subsidy limit has been set at a maximum of 50% for Braj, Awadhi, Bundeli and Bhojpuri films, and 25% for Hindi movies.
As many as 250 members of the India diaspora got together in Agra on the second day of the Uttar Pradesh Pravasi Diwas, and discussed about cinema and the arts. The NRI population has emerged as a powerful force in India in recent times. One of the reasons of the growing popularity of India on foreign shores is the growth of Indian cinema. Cinema has emerged as a powerful movement today and everyone is influenced by it in some way or the other. A growing number of films in Bollywood are now filmed in Uttar Pradesh.
During a seminar in Uttar Pradesh at the Pravasi Diwas, a number of people got together to discuss things that Indian cinema is doing right, and things it needs to be going ahead.
The seminar was targeted at creating awareness about encouraging filmmakers to invest in Uttar Pradesh as a market for making films. Personalities such as Sudhir Mishra, Rahul Mitra, Anoop Jalota took part in the event. Speaking about the event, producer of movies such as Bullett Raja, Sahib Biwi Aur Gangster, Rahul Mitra said, “Cinema has the power to influence tourism a lot. Film-induced tourism is a very interesting concept and has the chance to go places. Movies have the power to influence people to do things. For instance, when I was a young boy, I was deeply influenced by Shammi Kapoor in the song “jungli”. I convinced my parents to take me to the place that it was shot in. They finally relented and took me there. And now, I see my son doing the same thing to me. This goes to show that the film industry has a firm grasp on the pulse of the people and that it influences people all over.” He went on to add, “I believe that movies being filmed in Uttar Pradesh are a good move. However, the films made here need to be checked if they are critical of the state.”
As a result of the Akhilesh Yadav government’s policy, filmmakers shooting in Uttar Pradesh will be given subsidies. To encourage regional talent, films in local dialects such as Braj, Awadhi, Bundeli and Bhojpuri will also be given subsidies. It has also been decided that regional films will be screened for at least two weeks every year. The subsidy limit has been set at a maximum of 50% for Braj, Awadhi, Bundeli and Bhojpuri films, and 25% for Hindi movies.
The event was aimed at filmmakers who wish to make movies in Uttar Pradesh, but shy away from doing so. Another of the panelists at the event included director of movies such as Hazaaron Khwahishein, Chameli, Sudhir Mishra. He said, “India is a dynamic and young place right now. The young India does not want to be dictated to and stands up for itself. I find the Uttar Pradesh government’s offer of a subsidy for films a welcome move. It gives us incentive to give back what we have got.”
Disagreeing about Mitra’s point on censorship, and elaborating on the idea of freedom of expression, Sudhir Mishra said, “I do not believe that movies that are critical of Uttar Pradesh should be clamped down upon. A boy who grew up in U.P. and has firm knowledge of it should be allowed to be critical of it as well. Gagging a filmmaker goes against the idea of freedom of expression.” He added, “The community has a lot to do with cuisine. One of the main paths towards equality is eating. People who eat together are seldom bothered by petty issues such as religion. That is one of the reasons why I find U.P. a tolerant place.”
“One of the things that attracts me to the culture here is the affection for cuisine. When one can eat together with anyone, one can be extremely tolerant of everyone. Speaking about the plan for a subsidy of filmmakers, he said: “I think it’s a good move. However, there needs to be more steps that need to be taken. For instance, when I was in the city, it was much easier for us to practice theatre. But if they were to do it now, there would be very few places for them to practice their craft. We need to do more for the local artiste as opposed to helping those who are relatively established.” Speaking about the state of films here, he said, “I’d like the U.P. government to start a film institute. I would be willing to come here and teach every two months if required.” Addressing his concerns, it was announced that a film institute is in the works. Former director of Film and Television Insitiute of India D.J. Narayan will be helping in setting up the institute.
Apart from filmmakers, there were also personalities such as devotional singers Anoop Jalota present at the ceremony. Jalota, who is a renowned exponent of devotional music, was educated in Lucknow. He dwelt on the lack of attention that many classical musicians are deprived of every day. He said, “There is a wide range of musicians in Uttar Pradesh. Ranging from someone like Pandit Ravi Shankar to someone like Kanika Kapoor, there is a wide spectrum of artistes out there. Aside from names such as these, there are a number who go undiscovered and don’t get the recognition that they deserve.” Jalota was also critical of the government at times. He said, “When an artiste of the stature of Bismillah Khan has to struggle financially at the end of his years, it’s a sad moment for the government. We need to focus on classical musicians. In fact, movies should be made on legends such as Bismillah Khan.”
Following this, Jalota announced that he planned to open a music institute in Lucknow, which would house 50 students.
Meanwhile, Meera Ali discussed the opening of a possible food festival featuring Awadhi cuisine.