The cooperation between India and the US in the
field of media and entertainment has grown exponentially
over the past two years. Despite the Reliance-
Dreamworks deal and the UTV partnership with Will
Smith's company Overbrook Entertainment, however,
there are issues that need to be addressed if
work done between the two countries is to grow,
was the consensus at the session on 'US India
Overcoming obstacles to doing business'.
and Young India advisory services leader technology,
communication and entertainment Farokh Balsara
noted that both countries would benefit from a
co-production treaty. He notes that it is often
cumbersome for Indian producers who want to shoot
in the US to get visas.
the US guilds are strong, often we can only use
local line support. Their working hours are restricted.
Then there is piracy of our films in the US. This
is because though there is demand, the theatre
chain owners are not supportive enough. They expect
us to rent out a theatre instead of going in for
revenue sharing. For an Indian producer, this
India, meanwhile, the customs duty on reels is
low. However, if a company imports a DVD for the
home video business, the customs duty shoots up.
The same is true for Indian channels like Zee
which import films to be shown on their channel,
speakers pointed out.
this view on the guilds was Anadil Hossain, who
co-produced The Namesake and The Darjeeling Limited.
Hossain said that Indians should recognise the
Union system. "With the union, production
has decent turnaround times. In the US, the set
up of production crews is different. Each unit
has a specific task. Production assistants, for
instance, do nor rig lighting. At the same time,
if Karan Johar wants to bring in his own director
of photography, nobody will obhect to that."
also feels that foreign companies who do co-production
work in India have difficulties in terms of transparency
and reporting back by the local company. Hopefully,
with companies like UTV getting into co-production
deals, there will be transparency, she said. "Also
things like sancity of contracts, contractual
budgets will come in."
School of Cinematic Arts dean Elizabeth Daley
said that there need to be training institutes
that can equip upcoming filmmakers and poroducers
with the complexities of the business. "There
should be training on production practices. Indians
should be more aware of scheduling, why and how
does one lock a budget, when is a script ready
to go into production? One complaint that students
from our school have had is that in India often
production starts before a script is finished.
We send out teams of students to work globally.
That way, best practices can be incorporated."
secretary Sushma Singh noted that there is an
ICT Media subgroup co-chaired by and the US, the
last meeting of which was held in December and
some issues raised will be taken up. Some will
have to be sent for inter ministerial consideration,