Here’s Why Gujarat is the Most Film-Friendly State in India
At the recent National Film Awards, Gujarat was named the most film-friendly state in India (this is a new award category that has been introduced recently to promote healthy competition among Indian states to attract filmmakers).
The factors that work in Gujarat’s favour are its picturesque locations & friendly people, low cost of shooting, proximity to Mumbai, but more importantly its robust infrastructure and efficient administration who are keen to attract more business to the state.
The Tourism Department of Gujarat is aiming high to develop film tourism by creating state-of-the-art infrastructure besides promoting exotic locations.
Here’s Why Gujarat Attracts So Many Bollywood Film Shoots & Movie Stars
Come festive season, and Gujarat is where most of the filmmakers and stars descend to shoot their respective projects. Here’s what makes the state attractive for filming in India.
Just take a look at the big Bollywood films that are lined up for filming in Gujarat, and the ones that have finished shooting in the recent past, and you would know that the Gujarat Tourism department is doing something right. Of course, having a Gujarati as the PM of India only adds to the aura of the state.
- Salman Khan’s Prem Ratan Dhan Payo was recently shot in Gondal.
- Khiladi star Akshay Kumar finished shooting of evacuation drama ‘Airlift’ in Kutch.
- Hrithik Roshan is currently shooting in Kundaliya village in Kutch for Mohenjo Daro.
- Sardar Gabbar Singh (sequel of Gabbar Singh) is also being shot in Kutch.
- The final schedule of Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming ‘Raees’ will be shot near Ahmedabad.
Gujarat may not be the most sought after tourist location in India (compared to Rajasthan), be it among Indians or foreigners, but it surely seems to be attracting several Bollywood film shoots. No doubt, it is home to good locations, but proper marketing product placement seems to be working in its favour. In the past, several films have been shot at locations like kutch-bhuj, Ahmedabad, Vijay Vilas Palace in Gujarat, and more and more filmmakers are heading to Gujarat to shoot their films.
From Umargam in south Gujarat to Kutch and heritage locations in Gondal and Rajpipla, all have wonderful locations and highly untapped. The unexplored scenic locations, proximity to Mumbai, and the availability of cheap labour is drawing several India filmmakers to Gujarat.
Since January 2014 (when Gujarat announced single window clearance facility for film shooting), there has been a surge in the number of film shootings in the state, especially of regional language films (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu Bhojpuri). And the biggest beneficiaries of this scheme are the filmmakers with smaller budgets.
That’s indeed commendable, and shows that when it comes to doing business, Gujarati’s are at top of the game.
Bollywood Film Shot in Gujarat
In the past, several Bollywood films have been shot in this state, some of the prominent ones include: Singham Returns, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela, Kai Po Che, Lagaan, Refugee, Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam. Bollywood classics like Guide and Mother India also had scenes that were filmed in this state.
The popular ‘Nagada Sang Dhol’ Song from the movie ‘Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-leela’ featuring Deepika Padukone
Salman Khan & sonam Kapoor were in Gondal recently to shoot for their upcoming film ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Pao’. Several Bollywood films have already been shot at various locations in Gujarat.
And now, it seems the movie based on former Indian cricket captain Mohammad Azahruddin’s life will also have several scenes shot in Gujarat. Surat’s Lalbhai Contractor cricket stadium is being considered for the film shooting. The film, to be produced by Balaji film’s Ekta Kapoor, will give us a peek into cricketer turned politician Mohammad Azahruddin’s life, his two marriages, his alleged involvement in betting, his forced departure from cricket etc.
Government Keen to Promote Tourism Using Bollywood
Gujarat government is very keen to use Bollywood to promote tourism in the state. Not only have they roped in Megastar Amitabh Bachchan to promote the state, Gujarat is also offering incentives to filmmakers, when they film in the various tourism destinations of Gujarat.
Gujarat Tourism Ads featuring Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan promoting Kutch in Gujarat Tourism Ad
Need for Better Studio Infrastructure
Bollywood biggies feel that the state needs to invest in better studio infrastructure, if it really wants to attract big film studios & filmmakers.
Zoya Akhtar, director of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ and daughter of legendary lyricist Javed Akhtar was in Vadodara recently for a workshop on the art of filmmaking. Zoya says, “A lot needs to be done by the state machinery to ensure that filmmakers start shooting here more often. Things like tax rebate and less of bureaucratic procedure will be most welcome. Also, there should be proper studio infrastructure, so that filmmakers can shoot indoors as well. Besides, there should be a proper website dedicated to this, so that filmmakers can take a virtual tour and decide.”