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Filmmakers Crack A Code To Successful Business, Shooting With Budget Control

While Indian filmmakers continue to look at foreign locations depending on their need, several states within the country have developed shooting-friendly policies.

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"The story needs to be in place and the locations can be cheated on and passed off as real ones sometimes. Also, being outdoors ensures the film shooting goes uninterrupted, and can be wrapped up in time." Pixabay

By Radhika Bhirani

It was the search for exact replicas of the gear and guns of Special Forces Officers which pushed the makers of “Uri – The Surgical Strike” to explore Serbia as a destination that would lend the film an authenticity that would go beyond its Kashmir-like topography.

“I couldn’t have got a better Kashmir outside Kashmir than Serbia,” director Aditya Dhar had once said of the southeast Europe country, now a hub for Indian film shootings owing to easy commute — no visa regime for India for 30 days — and an attractive 25 per cent cash rebate.

But Dhar’s reason to take the crew to Serbia was more than one.

He told IANS; “The kind of gear we were looking at for the film; the clothes, the guns, the night vision goggles, the helmets… Our requirement was very specific as we wanted to be as close to what real Special Forces Officers use. That kind of gear is not available in India. You get those kind of things in Europe or the US.

“Importing that to India may take you close to a year or two. And because the film was very time-specific, I couldn’t have taken that risk. That was one of the prime reasons why we went to Serbia.

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Filmmakers have to be smart about how they pull off films within a budget and with right locations because the stars charge a lot. So, they have to rationalise the shooting budget Pixabay

“The other was that the topography of Serbia is very close to Kashmir. That actually lent itself perfectly to the film. Another reason was that it was not a very expensive territory to shoot in, and was easy to commute to.”

“Uri…” was shot in 49 days and within a budget of Rs 25 crore. And Dhar was happy to have replicas of M4 carbine, M16 rifle and AK47.

“Somewhere, I feel if the law of importing the replicas into India can be eased out so that we can use them for film shooting purposes and we don’t have to go abroad so much. Instead we can create the exact same thing in India,” said the director, whose film has crossed the Rs 200 crore mark at the box office.

This is just one of the many examples of how, with tight schedules and smart choice of locations, our filmmakers are gradually moving towards an ecosystem where they are able to control the shooting budget to create content-driven movies that reap box office returns and audience appreciation.

“AndhaDhun”, shot in Pune, was a runaway success. “Stree”, shot in Madhya Pradesh, ran successfully and crossed Rs 100 crore. “Badla”, a story that largely oscillated between two rooms, was shot in Glasgow, Scotland, and has made close to Rs 90 crore. “Luka Chuppi”, shot in Gwalior, has surpassed that mark, as per industry sources.

Sometimes special shooting requirements, like in the case of “Uri…”, take filmmakers abroad — as it happened in the case of “Race 3”, when Hollywood stunt director Tom Struthers got UAE military support with a Blackhawk helicopter, Oshkosh trucks, NIMR military vehicles, and Humvees for action scenes. But that didn’t guarantee word-of-mouth success.

Trade analyst Komal Nahta told IANS: “Filmmakers have to be smart about how they pull off films within a budget and with right locations because the stars charge a lot. So, they have to rationalise the shooting budget. Plus, the audience is so discerning about the content that filmmakers can no longer sell stories on location alone.

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Filmmakers need to have better production planning and better integration with government authorities for a smooth process. Pixabay

“The story needs to be in place and the locations can be cheated on and passed off as real ones sometimes. Also, being outdoors ensures the film shooting goes uninterrupted, and can be wrapped up in time.”

Amod Mehra, another trade expert, said managing time and budget well can also be credited to how the industry has become very “professional and well organised” over the years. “Artistes do enough workshops before beginning the shoot so that no time is lost on sets. Plus, we are no longer shooting on reels,” Mehra told IANS.

While Indian filmmakers continue to look at foreign locations depending on their need, several states within the country have developed shooting-friendly policies. That is besides the single window clearance system put in place by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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Vikramjit Roy, a seasoned film fraternity member who now heads the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), told IANS: “The process of seeking permissions is not complicated anymore. In fact, the guidelines are very specific and there is no anomaly. Filmmakers need to have better production planning and better integration with government authorities for a smooth process.

“The government mechanism is in place, and the FFO now gives the comfort of single window clearance, so filmmakers can totally leverage that.” (IANS)

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Expectations From the Indian Mustard Oil Industry in 2020

Budget 2020 expectations of Indian mustard oil industry

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Mustard Oil is an integral part of Indian agriculture, cuisine and culture. Wikimedia Commons

BY VIVEK PURI

India has emerged as the largest importer of edible oil in the world. The country imported millions of tonnes of edible oil last year from October 2018 to November 2019, which is a record in itself. The nation’s dependence on imported oil is expected to reach alarming levels up to 60-65 per cent.

India continues to remain an oil deficit country and imports millions of tonnes of edible oil each year to meet the demand-supply gap, making it the world’s largest importer of edible oils.

Without a dedicated focus on and support for India’s own domestic oilseed production, it would be challenging to become self-reliant in the edible oil sector. There is an urgent need to have a vision and a plan for this industry. We need to learn from the oilseed producing countries and adopt their best practices, which in turn would enable us to work towards doubling farm incomes by 2022.

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Mustard is one of the most important winter oilseed crops of country. Pixabay

Mustard is one of the most important winter oilseed crops of country. The area under cultivation witnesses some fluctuations year-on-year and has been reported to have declined marginally by one per cent as compared to last year, although the yield has been reported to have increased marginally year-on-year. However, it is still lagging far, far behind the international standards.

During the eighties, the Oilseeds Technology Mission was launched to raise the productivity of oilseed crops, with a view to reducing the import bill, which was nearly 50 per cent of our domestic requirement at that time, and in a span of 10 years after its launch, India became almost self-sufficient in edible oils, in 1993-94, with only three per cent imports, 97 per cent of edible oils were produced within the country. However, over the years, the Oilseeds Technology Mission could not keep up with the times.

The government of India should formulate a favourable policy for the indigenous edible oils sector which benefits farmers, consumers and manufacturers equally. The objective underlying the creation of the commodity exchanges in India was to benefit farmers.

Unfortunately, since the majority of farmers do not transact through commodity exchanges, which was its prime objective, it has gone into the hands of speculators, which has artificially impacted the physical market. Hence, we require a regulator like SEBI, which can keep a watch on such malpractices.

For some time now, Puri Oil Mills Limited has been recommending the establishment of a Mustard Oil Development Board by the government. Largely, such a board can be modelled along the lines of the American Soybean Association or Spain’s International Olive Council that protects and promote the interests of olive and olive oil producers, or the Malaysian Palm Oil Board, established by the Malaysian government with the aim of promoting palm oil all over the world.

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The proposed Mustard Oil Development Board can play a pivotal role through research and development by developing value added products like the soya industry. Wikimedia Commons

The proposed Mustard Oil Development Board can play a pivotal role through research and development by developing value added products like the soya industry has done by developing soya protein, soya milk and soya nuggets, among others. Similarly, it can ensure an integrated approach to the development of the mustard industry by enhancing value addition across mustard-based products.

To conclude, Mustard Oil is an integral part of Indian agriculture, cuisine and culture. Such is the sanctity of Indian mustard oil that even our ancient treatises, find a mention of mustard’s virtues as a valuable food crop and for its medicinal properties. The medical and scientific fraternity has been rediscovering the significant health benefits offered by mustard oil.

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A series of studies have shown that it is the best edible oil for heart health in India, given the dietary habits, lifestyles and culinary practices prevalent across the country. Therefore, mustard seed and Indian mustard oil does not just have economic relevance but is also an integral part of India’s rich culinary heritage.

The Indian mustard oil industry hopes Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will take note of this in the Union Budget for 2020-21. (IANS)