An exclusive Film Policy rolled out by the Odisha government has some of the country's noted production houses hooked to it. Known for its historical strengths in mining, metals & power sectors, the eastern state is out to woo the movie makers to have a slice of the scintillating world of celluloid.
The policy strives to position Odisha as the ideal venue for film shoots with its tapestry of art, culture and tourism. A swarm of incentives are on offer for film producers who set aside a portion of their screen time to promoting the state's culture and its tourism hotspots.
In less than a month of its unveiling, the Odisha State Film Policy, 2019 has struck the chord with the production houses.
“Without much of a publicity blitz, our Film Policy has resonated with the movie makers. We have got encouraging responses from more than 10 production houses with bases in Delhi and Mumbai. Building on the response from here, we are keen to approach film makers in other states and reach out to international makers. The Film policy laden with incentives is the best in the country”, said an official source.
All films who devote some screen time to promoting Odisha can avail the incentives but our focus is more on drawing films of social import instead of the ones focused on crass commercialization, he added.
The policy dangles some attractive sops- it offers a subsidy of 25 per cent of the total cost of the film (ceiling at Rs 1.25 crore) to English, Hindi, international and other language movies for earmarking at least five per cent of the screen time in promoting Odisha. The subsidy will be enhanced to Rs 2.5 crore if the screen time is doubled.
The state government is also providing Rs 10 crore assistance to filmmakers for the first three Hindi and international language films with a budget of at least Rs 50 crore if they meet the stipulation on screen time.
The policy also promises a subsidy of 25 per cent of the total cost of the film for Odia movies which convey aesthetic excellence, high technical standards and social relevance. However, the amount of subsidy is capped at Rs 1.25 crore for films and comes with a rider on shooting time- at least 50 per cent of it has to be scheduled in the state. If a film producer devotes 90 per cent of the shooting period to Odisha, the subsidy rises to Rs 2.5 crore. For subsequent film shoots in the state, producers can avail sops embedded in the policy.
Incentives also abound for developing film cities and reviving the now decrepit Kalinga Studio which once enjoyed its pride of place in shooting films of yore.
The policy is not sans promise for development of multiplexes and screen halls in the state. The promoters are entitled to a capital investment subsidy of 20 per cent with a cap of Rs four crore. The sop, though, will not be extended for multiplexes set up in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
Eligible investors are also assured of an ease in tax burden. The State Goods & Services Tax (SGST) will be reimbursed for seven years from the date of start of commercial operations. Moreover, the new investors will be exempted from electricity duties for five years and stamp duty waiver.
The state had its brush with Bollywood investments when filmmakers of consequence like Ketan Desai and Mushtaq Nadiadwala evinced interest to set up a film city during the inaugural edition of Make in Odisha in 2016.