By Archana Sharma
Jaipur, July 2 (IANS) Udaipur has been eagerly awaiting an official Film City in its vicinity for over a decade now.
Setting up a Film City in Udaipur is an ambitious project which has the potential to change the economic and tourism landscape of the state. However, the project is yet to see the light of day for years due to the “other” priorities of the successive state governments, said Mukhesh Madhwani, President, Akhil Rajasthan Film Samiti.
According to Madhwani, “Udaipur, also known as the City of Lakes, has already been host to over 500 film shoots, both Hollywood and Bollywood, in the last 40 years. Yet, the city is yet to get the official tag of as a hub for film tourism.
The setting up of a Film City in Udaipur shall bring in revenue of Rs 500 crore to government coffers and lakhs of people will earn their livelihood through jobs being created there.
Even investments to the tune of Rs 1,000 crore are already lined up for the project, but neither the Centre nor the state government is paying heed to the project. The investors who are ready to shell out big amounts for this project include Bollywood stars, a few Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises as well as business tycoons from Dubai, Madhwani told IANS.
Recently, Madhwani wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to draw his attention towards this issue.
“In our letter, we apprised Modi that Udaipur has hosted around 500 shoots of Hollywood and Bollywood films in the last 40 years. Besides these, many TV serials, musical albums and advertisements have also been shot here.
“The setting up of a Film City in Udaipur will be a historic step as it will create ample employment opportunities and shall also fill the coffers of the government,” he said.
The Lake City was recently ranked third among the top 15 beautiful cities of the world. Many hit films, from “Guide” to “Dhadak”, have been shot here. The setting up of a Film City will also boost tourism prospects, Madhwani wrote in the letter.
“We have requested the Prime Minister to allot us around 300 beeghas of land outside the city where widespread land is available,” he said.
The Congress in its manifesto for the Assembly elections held last December had announced the setting up of a Film City in the state. However, there has been no development on this front till date, Madhwani said.
“I have met former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje thrice and have also met Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot recently. However, why the allotment of land is coming up as a challenge is beyond my understanding,” he said.
Jayanti Bhai Gada, co-producer of many Bollywood films such as “Kahaani”, confirmed that the scenic location of Udaipur has everything which tourists as well as film producers want.
“Once the Film City comes up, Udaipur can definitely become the hub of film tourism with lakes, palaces and lush greenery all around. Tourists coming here are also eager to the shooting locations,” he told IANS from Dubai.
Anup Desai, a businessman who has been bringing in film crews to Udaipur from Mumbai, said, “The coming up of a Film City in Udaipur can change the fortunes of the state. When it rains in Mumbai, the Bollywood visits Udaipur for shooting. The location is scenic and people love watching the different assets this city has to offer.
“I am yet to understand what stops government from implementing this proposal which can boost business in the state. I am quite keen to invest a big amount once this project comes up. Everything, including hotels, logistics and transportation etc. will benefit once the Film City comes up. I am sure that the Bollywood shall park itself here for four months when it rains in Mumbai once the Film City is set up.”
Madhwani said implementation of the project will help Udaipur get a credence of Film City just like Dubai and Hyderabad.
Noted Sufi singing duo Nooran sisters during their recent visit to Udaipur had picthed for the need of a Film City here. Even Sanjay Dutt, during his visit to this city, expressed his interest in the project, Madhwani said.