TBILISI: Six out of 16 foreign projects which have registered in the Film in Georgia programme since its launch in 2016 are Indian, and four of them have already been rebated. Indian films are spreading across Europe using locations from Latvia to Poland and from Bulgaria to Croatia.
“The average number of shooting days of Indian productions in Georgia is 35 days. The longest they have stayed for shooting was for a month and a week”, Melano Durmishidze from Film in Georgia told FNE. The four Indian projects that have already been rebated are: Machine by Abbas–Mustan, Gautamiputra Satakarni by Krish, PSV Garuda Vega by Praveen Sattaru and Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety by Luv Ranjan. Another Indian film directed by Dr Anil Viswanath and produced by Veeranjaneya Productions wrapped shooting in March 2018, but it has not applied for rebate yet.
“Indian producers are interested in Georgia because it offers inspirational locations, such as subtropical, coastal, alpine mountains, desert and beautiful forest scenes in one day. Georgia’s six climate zones and long sunny days are appealing, as well as its unique and captivating architectural fusion”, Melano Durmishidze said when questioned about the attraction that Indian producers have for Georgia.
Moreover, Georgia is welcoming businesswise. “The country itself has a modern infrastructure and it offers a business-friendly environment with flexible labor market, cheap energy and low taxes. It’s remarkable that we offer a competitive financial incentive of 20-25% cash back, which is very easy to apply for”, Melano Durmishidze also told FNE.
The first Indian production was shot in Latvia in 2010. Latvia and India's first-ever joint-venture film, Agent Vinod, was partially shot in Riga by Bollywood film studio Illuminati Films and Latvia's Film Angels Studio.
The first Indian feature came to Romania in 2013. Sohail Khan‘s Jai Ho starring Salman Khan had five days of shooting in 2013 with Family Film providing services. In 2014, the same company provided services for the new project of the Indian cult producer and director J. P. Dutta. Saaho, directed by Sujeeth and produced by UV Creations, is expected to shoot its last leg in Romania soon.
The first Indian films shot in Poland’s city of Krakow were Aazaan, an action spy film directed by Prashant Chadha (in 2011), and The Rhythm, a romantic musical film by Vivek Kumar (in 2012).
Warsaw saw its first Indian big project shot in 2014. It was Sajid Nadiadwala’s Kick, starring Salman Khan and with the Polish part of the production done by Film Polska Productions. “When we heard that Sajid Nadiadwala plans to shoot his newest blockbuster in Europe, we decided together with our partners to focus all activities into convincing him that Warsaw is a great place for making this movie at a very high, international level”, Krzysztof Solek, CEO of the Film Polska Productions, said in a statement.
Indian filmmakers first visited Slovenia in October 2015 to film Mahesh Manjrekarja’s Rubik’s Cube and returned in May 2016 to shoot 20 minutes of Babu. They shot in Maribor, Ljubljana, Bled and Velika Planina. “Indian filmmakers love locations in Slovenia because they are very romantic and they usually include the locals because they seek authenticity and variety”, Rok Ribič from Azaleja Global told FNE. The Indian producers originally decided to shoot in Slovenia based only on what they saw in photographs and recommendations from their tourist agencies.
Two major Indian productions were shot in Croatia in the last years – Fan by Maneesh Sharma, which was shot in Dubrovnik in March 2015 with Formula Film providing services, and Prisoner no. 150, by V. V. Vinayak, whose dance scenes were shot in Croatia in November 2016.
Indian film actor/director/producer Ajay Devgn shot his second feature in Bulgaria at the beginning of 2016 and decided to also shoot a promotional video aimed at encouraging his colleagues to work there.