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Single Window clearance for filmmakers in three to six months: Varma

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NEW DELHI: A single window clearance structure for filmmakers would be in place within the next three to six months.

This was stated by information and broadcasting ministry secretary Uday Kumar Varma during a round table event at Cannes over the weekend.

He said the government was working on four priority areas relating to the Indian film industry, which is celebrating one hundred years of cinema this year. He identified film finance, film industry promotion, production facilitation and human resource development, and said that changes to promotion and facilitation systems would happen first.

Though he did not use the words ‘single window clearance’, he said his department is moving in that direction. "This is not coming from a recommendatory body, this is from government itself," he said. "The state governments are on board. I have written to the executive heads of each state."

"We have looked at the film commission model in France, the UK and New Zealand," he said, but said that government is making a "very, very sincere effort" and could make a definitive announcement in three to six months.

He indicated that the National Film Development Corporation (Nfdc) would play a major role in film funding. He said that Nfdc could be the conduit for the launch of state funding initiatives. "The Nfdc is fully funded by the government of India and is able to fund and be involved in co-productions," he said.

He said that Canada and Australia are the two countries with which India is closest to agreeing on co-production treaties.

Varma said that Indian cinema’s success lay not in its acceptance among a larger global audience but in its unique cinematic approach.

He also added that in order to enable young independent filmmakers to showcase their work, the ministry was intending to create special screening facilities to promote cinematic hubs.

Producer Guneet Monga regretted that films which are considered as Indian national productions are subject to a different tax regime, but the Indian government ‘penalises co-production films’ compared with imported films.

The India pavilion at the Cannes film festival in France has organised a series of panel discussions on contemporary topics related to Indian cinema to create a global footprint for Indian cinema in its centenary year. The objective has been to enable the collaboration and partnerships for promoting India as a filming destination for films and documentaries.

Key events include celebrating significant projects which were a part of Film Bazaar 2011, The Lunchbox, and Monsoon Shootout. There are panel discussions on contemporary topics related to Indian cinema.

Acclaimed film critic and TV presenter Rajeev Masand engaged filmmakers on sessions which included breaking barriers in filmmaking and the current scenario of Indian cinema. The participants in these sessions include Karan Johar, Anurag Kashyap, Dibakar Banerjee, Zoya Akhtar, Ritesh Batra, and Amit Kumar.

Special sessions and discussions also seek to highlight recent successful Indian co-productions with international producers. The interactions and discussions at India pavilion bring to the fore, the films scenario in India and aim at giving the films their due credit not only in India but at a global level.

With India celebrating 100 years of cinema, there has been a significant rise in the number of delegates to the festival from the previous years, to celebrate this great occasion amongst the global film fraternity. This year, the Cannes film festival is celebrating the centenary of Indian cinema where India has been accorded the status of ‘Special Guest Country’. The Indian pavilion has witnessed the participation of key stakeholders who are keen to know about Indian Cinema. This year is seeing five Indian films in diverse sections at Cannes. These are Anurag Kashyap‘s Ugly, Ritesh Batra’s debut feature film The Lunchbox , Bombay Talkies, Amit Kumar’s Monsoon Shootout , and veteran filmmaker Satyajit Ray’s Charulata.

The 66th Cannes festival this year was inaugurated by megastar Amitabh Bachchan with actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

Baz Luhrmann’s "The Great Gatsby" was the opening film of the festival. Bachchan features in what he calls "a blink and miss role" in "The Great Gatsby" which marks his Hollywood debut.

Bachchan used the opportunity to speak in Hindi and later said in a tweet that this was necessary in view of the centenary of Indian cinema.

Vidya Balan, who is on the jury this year, said later: "Personally, for me to have shared the stage with him and on an international platform where the talk is about India celebrating 100 glorious years, it felt really special. These are the times when you have to pinch yourself and say ‘oh my god, this is for real."

Bachchan also appears in Bombay Talkies which will have a gala screening to mark the 100 years of Indian cinema. Anurag Kashyap‘s segment in the portmanteau film is about a Bachchan fan.

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