Light, camera, action! Movies, OTT projects, TV shows head to Madhya Pradesh

A multitude of attractive locations, a diversity of destinations and favorable government policies – all these factors have combined to help Madhya Pradesh emerge as a preferred choice for film shoots for the showbiz industry.

Footage of more than 175 movies, OTT (over the top) series and TV shows, including some international projects, has been shot in various parts of the state over the past five years, according to government officials.

From feature films to shows on the rapidly expanding OTT platforms to television programs, Madhya Pradesh – located in the heart of India – has become a popular filming destination.

Producers of all genres, not only Indian but also foreign, are showing keen interest in telling their stories against the backdrop of the central state.

Since its very first film shoot in 1952, the state, which boasts of numerous scenic spots, historic sites, wildlife hotspots and pilgrimage centers, has come a long way in its journey down the road of film tourism.

The state government has seen immense potential in promoting film tourism and has started developing policies and offering incentives to film and show producers who are now heading to Madhya Pradesh, the officials said.

“The number of movies and series shot for TV and OTT platforms in Madhya Pradesh from major production houses was less, possibly due to the lack of policy for the showbiz industry.

“But now things have changed and footage from more than 175 projects has been shot in the past five years alone at various locations across the state,” said Sheo Shekhar Shukla, Principal Secretary, Culture and Tourism.

He said filming for five movies/TV series including “Vistaram”, “Mahal”, “Hariom” and “Buffer Zone” started last month in MP.

Not only producers from Bollywood or the southern film industry, even international directors have shown immense interest in shooting their projects in various locations in the state.

Footage of ‘Lion’, a film directed by Australian Garth Davis which won several international awards, was shot at selected MP locations.

The 2016 Oscar-nominated film is about a young Indian boy who is separated from his brother and mother when he finds himself 1,000 miles from home and then adopted by an Australian family.

Other international projects shot in MP include TV series “Shantaram (The Bear)” and Mira Nair directed TV drama “A Suitable Boy”.

Nair’s film – “Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love” – ​​was filmed in the state two decades ago.

English films like “White Tiger” from Pivot Pictures LLC, California LA and “The Lovers,” directed by Roland Joffé, have also been filmed in the state over the past five years, another official said.

Principal Secretary Shukla said Madhya Pradesh has now acquired the image of a film-friendly state in national and international forums.

Popular destinations like Orchha, Mandu, Maheshwar, Ujjain and Chanderi and unexplored areas around Bhopal, Indore, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Raisen and Sehore have become favorite filming locations for filmmakers, the senior official said.

Footage from movies and TV projects like ‘Rajneeti’, ‘Asoka’, ‘Sherni’, ‘Gullak’, ‘Panchayat’, ‘Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya’, ‘Durgamati’, ‘Chhori’, ‘Nirmal Pathak Ki Ghar Wapsi ‘, ‘Janhit Me Jari’, ‘Motichoor Chaknachoor’, ‘Kalank’, ‘Gangajal-2’, ‘Revolver Rani’, ‘Tevar’, ‘Dabangg-2’, ‘Bajirao Mastani’, ‘Mohenjo Daro’, Y’ amla Pagla Deewana’, ‘Stree’, ‘Sui Dhaga’ and ‘Padman’ in addition to several other prominent showbiz projects have been filmed in the state.

About 100 movies, web series and TV shows have been shot in various destinations across MP over the past two years despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

The journey of filmmaking in the regions of Madhya Pradesh (which originated in 1956) began when sequences of Dilip Kumar’s legendary film “Aan” (1952) were shot in the picturesque town of Narsinghgarh in the Rajgarh district, an industry insider said.

Since then, more than 500 showbiz projects have been filmed in the state, which has won praise for becoming one of the top movie shooting locations in the country, he said.

Madhya Pradesh was declared the ‘most film-friendly state’ in the country at the 68th National Film Awards ceremony in July this year.

Bollywood actor Mukesh Tiwari, who has worked in over 200 films including Telugu, Kannada and Tamil, told PTI that Madhya Pradesh still has many unexplored places.

“Friendly people and easy administrative approvals, in addition to beautiful unexplored places, make Madhya Pradesh an ideal destination for filmmakers. Bhopal’s rich theatrical culture provides a pool of quality local actors, just like in Mumbai,” said Tiwari, who hails from MP’s Sagar town.

Tiwari, who began his film career playing “Jagira” in Rajkumar Santoshi’s “China Gate” (1998), said that although several films were shot in locations around Bhopal, Indore, Maheshwar and Omkareshwar, the region of Bundelkhand remains largely unexplored.

He said well-known filmmaker Shyam Benegal, considered the pioneer of parallel cinema, shot footage for a movie, “Samar”, in Bundelkhand two decades ago.

According to the officials, an online portal has been set up by the Film Facilitation Cell, which is under the Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, for one-stop clearance of filming permits.

The state government is also providing grants to filmmakers, up to Rs two crore based on meeting different criteria, to encourage more producers and directors to pitch their projects to the MP, as part of the tourism policy cinematic-2020, an official said.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)