London beckons Bollywood with new tax reliefs
With an attractive new Creative Sector Tax Relief (CSTR) coming into effect 2013 in Britain, London has thrown open its doors for Bollywood and the Indian television industry to plan their future ventures in that city, a top visiting dignitary said here Thursday.
Visiting London Mayor Boris Johnson said the new CSTR, along with the existing tax benefits already available to filmmakers and film co-production agreement between India and Britain, would make London even more attractive for members of Indian showbiz.
Addressing a high-level summit with top film and television executives here, Johnson disclosed that two new Bollywood movies will be shot in London next year.
The third movie in the highly successful comedy franchise, "Housefull", "Housefull 3" starring Akshay Kumar, will be shot entirely in London, he said.
Johnson said he has invited Indian producer Sajid Nadiadwala to shoot his directorial debut, "Kick", starring Salman Khan in London.
The post-production of both movies - "Housefull 3" and "Kick" - with a combined budget of around 35 million pounds, would be done in Soho, London.
"I am thrilled that Sajid Nadiadwala has chosen London as the backdrop for not one, but two of his brand new blockbusters. As our recent World Cities Culture Report shows, London and Mumbai are major players on the international stage for creativity and the arts," Johnson noted.
He said that filmmaking is hugely important for the two cities, with 2012 having been a bumper year for the industry in London.
"I want to make it as easy as possible to film in the city, whether you want to feature an iconic landmark as a backdrop, take advantage of our second to none post-production facilities, or be amongst the first to use our incredible Olympic Park as a location," Johnson said.
Incidentally, London is the third busiest production city in the world - daily, an average of 40 crews are on its streets making films - coupled with studios in and around the capital, making up 75 percent of Britain's film industry.
The city is also home to some of the world's best post-production companies, offering award winning, state-of-the-art facilities that are in demand for the world's biggest effects movies.
It helps provide around 1,17,500 jobs and contributed 4.6 billion pounds to the UK exchequer, he added.
Earlier this month, Indian audiences were wowed with "Jab Tak Hai Jaan", the final film of ace Bollywood director, the late Yash Chopra. The Shah Rukh Khan-starrer was mostly shot in London.
Johnson said it received significant assistance from Film London, the city's film and media agency, to ensure the shooting went off smoothly,
The chairperson of Film London, David Parfitt, who was present here too, said that it offers a one-stop shop for film crews wanting to shoot in the city, help them gain access to locales, provide skilled crews plus cutting edge facilities and other guidance for the foreign film makers.
Other prominent personalities who took part in the summit included Lee Stone and Jeremy Gawade from a leading media and entertainment law firm Lee and Thompson, and Frank Stehling, CEO of Primehouse GmbH, who act as consultants on a range of issues to film and TV producers, as well as games developers.
The Indian side was strongly represented by officials from leading studios like Yash Raj Films, Reliance Media Works; Studio 18 and Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment.
Johnson is in India on a five-day visit as part of a series of trips to China, Brazil and Middle-East over the next 18 months to cash in on the huge exposure London received in the wake of this year's 2012 London Olympics and Paralympic Games.