What makes Madhya Pradesh the most cinema-friendly state in India?

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It was in 1951 when Madhya Pradesh saw its very first film shoot starring Dilip Kumar’s Aan. 71 years and over 600 film projects later, the state has added another accolade to its bag. At the 68th National Film Awards, Madhya Pradesh (MP) was declared the most film-friendly state in the country. The various movies and shows shot through MP are a testament to the fact that it has become a favorite filming destination for the entertainment industry. What makes MP a suitable location for filming?

Talking about the reasons that put Madhya Pradesh on the filmmakers map, Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Principal Secretary and Managing Director of MP Tourism Board, shares, “The award is definitely a boost to continue working as we do. Our local machines also ensure that shoots are completed without any problems with law and order. We are also working on setting up infrastructure for film studios, post-production houses and virtual studios, for which we are in talks with a few production houses in Mumbai. MP was one of the first states to open post-COVID filming permits, with every protocol and bio-bubble in place. Adding more on the same Shukla says, “Our political leadership has been a visionary for film tourism in the state, he has issued clear guidelines that we must allow crews to operate smoothly during their time here.”

Umakant Choudhary, Deputy Director of the Board of Directors, who manages the filming aspect, explains: “The one-stop authorization for filming authorizations, via the online portal set up by the Film Facilitation Cell of the ‘State, has been a huge attraction for filmmakers. We also offer competitive prices on the necessary equipment and logistics. Under the State’s 2020 Film Tourism Policy, we have provided various grants to encourage more films to be shot here. Starting with 1 crore up to 10 crore, grants are available depending on the criteria. Between the years of 2020-2022, over 90 movies, web series, and TV shows have been filmed in various destinations across the state.

Harsh Dave, another executive producer from Indore, who has managed projects like Dabangg 3 and Ponniyin Selvan:I, shares, “The state has so many beautiful destinations that can serve as options for showcasing any part of the countries, in some movies he is Maharashtra, or places in South India or Uttar Pradesh too. The locals go out of their way to accommodate the filming, even agreeing to temporarily stay at another location if necessary. All of this makes filmmakers want to return to the state to shoot.

Over the past 15 years, various destinations have seen filming take place. Bhopal-based executive producer, Syed Zaid Ali, who has handled the work of many big budget films like Rajneeti, shares upcoming film Selfiee, “MP offers diversity in terms of locations, culture, talent and more which many other states are unable to offer.Word of mouth from producers has helped a lot like Prakash Jha who shot Rajneeti here seamlessly and talked about the opportunities the place has to offer. Even when we ran into problems while filming a recent series starring Bobby Deol, the issue was quickly resolved and filming resumed the same day.”

For projects shot in MP, the state government has set up grants ranging from Rs50 lakh to Rs 10 crore (approximately), depending on various criteria such as production cost, total filming time in the State, the involvement of local resources, etc. An additional grant of Rs 50 lakhs is applicable if MP is also indicated as MP in the project. Participation by local artists also attracts a grant amount, in accordance with the state’s 2020 Film Tourism Policy.

Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior, Chanderi, Maheshwar, Orchha, Ujjain and the forest area around Jabalpur

“I love shooting in MP because the people are of course warm and welcoming. At the same time, I get visual variety in terms of locations. We’ve shot in other states, but MP comes up with something new every time” – Laxman Utekar, filmmaker

“I’ve shot in a remote area of ​​MP as well as in busy markets and we’ve never had a problem. People are welcoming. Even in crowded areas, it’s never been a security issue because the koi interfere with the problem because nahi karta hai waha.” – Vishal Furia, filmmaker

“The kind of support we get working there – one-stop permits, infrastructure, security, police help and support from local band artists and the list goes on.” – Raaj Shaandilyaa, writer and filmmaker

“People here are very disciplined and peace-loving. They are very cooperative here compared to cities like Kanpur and Benares, and things are relatively relaxed here. – Anurag Basu, filmmaker (in a previous interview with us)

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