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Siraj Syed

Siraj Syed is the India Correspondent for and a member of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics. He is a Film Festival Correspondent since 1976, Film-critic since 1969 and a Feature-writer since 1970. He is also an acting and dialogue coach. 



India’s Ministry of Tourism holds Seminar on Film Tourism

India’s Ministry of Tourism holds Seminar on Film Tourism

India's Ministry of Tourism in association with Ministry of Information & Broadcasting organised a Symposium on Film Tourism at Taj Land’s End, Mumbai, on November 8, 2021. The symposium aimed to promote Film Tourism by exploring opportunities available in the states for conducting film shootings. 

What is Film Tourism?

‘Film Tourism’ is when a viewer gets induced to visit a particular location after seeing it in a movie. It refers to the growing interest among general public for the places, which became popular owing to their presence in certain scenes of movies.

Role of State Governments and Film Promotion Office

The Secretary, in the Ministry of Tourism, Mr. Arvind Singh, while speaking about film tourism said that, “The federal system of our governance makes such (film) incentives, mostly, a state subject (as opposed to a central/federal subject), and I must say that there are many states which actively encourage film tourism. The Ministry of Tourism recognises such efforts through the National Tourism Award, given each year under the category, ‘Most Film Tourism Friendly State’.

He also suggested that, “State governments should consider establishing a film promotion office, preferably in Chief Minister's Office, for timely shooting permissions.” He observed that this is required, since most of the issues regarding approvals are localised and within the purview of the State Governments, there needs for the State Governments to consider establishing a film promotion office at the highest level preferable in the Chief Minister’s Office, which can coordinate with the various departments and institutions and get the permissions processed on time. The film promotion office should also have the authority to intervene and sort out issues at the local level, wherever required

Mr. Singh also highlighted the vast potential of India in the field of Film Tourism. “India’s varied landscape, seasons, colours, wildlife and more importantly, our culture and heritage, along with availability of world beating technicians, make India an ideal location for film shoots. However, we acknowledge that there are several bottlenecks and there needs to be a concerted push. This should be a two-pronged approach, one at the policy level, by making it procedurally easy for the producers to shoot in India, and the other with a promotional effort, by making them aware of the vast potential of India as a film shooting destination,” he stated.

Mr. Arvind Singh also gave information about the initiative of the Tourism Ministry in promoting Film Tourism. “Ministry of Tourism had signed an MoU with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) for promoting Cinema of India as a sub brand of Incredible India, at various international film festivals, like International Film Festival of India (IFFI) Goa and Cannes Film Festival, to develop synergy between Tourism and the film industry, and to provide a platform for enabling partnerships between the Indian and global film industry.”

MIB to come out with Model Film Policy

While addressing the symposium, the Mr. Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) said that, “14 states have come out with film facilitation policy, and the MIB is planning to come out with a draft Model Film Policy, based on some of these policies, and will circulate to other states also, so that they can also adopt it. While saying that “18 states are giving incentives too for film making” Mr. Chandra insisted about the need for ‘Ease of Filming’ scenario. “More than the incentives, ease of shooting and easy of clearances are important,” he said.

Mr. Chandra also spoke about the reasons behind Indian films being shot outside India. “Despite cost being much lower in India, film makers feel that getting permissions for shooting in India is costlier, whereas it is easier to shoot abroad. And for that we have to look at ourselves. Especially state governments, since it is they who give permission,” he stated. “The purpose of today's symposium is to understand from the film industry what they want from each state in order to come and shoot there. States play a very big role in this,” he added.

FFO facilitated 120 International Films, 70 Indian Films

Speaking about the role played by the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), he stated that, “FFO has facilitated 120 international film-makers from 27 countries to shoot in India, in last 5-6 years, since its formation, in 2015; however domestic films number only 70!”

Mr. Chandra also shared how films play an important role in promoting tourism. “Even when I travel, the locations which I have seen in the films are at the back of my mind.  One of the trains in Switzerland is named as B R Chopra Express, a valley in Jammu and Kashmir state is called Betaab valley as the film Betaab was shot there. In Tawang, there is a lake which is named after Indian actress Madhuri Dixit,” said Mr. Chandra.

Best State Film Friendly award

Mr. Chandra also spoke about the initiatives of the MIB, to promote Film Tourism. “We have started the Best State Film Friendly award, given by the President of India. It is an invitation to all states to compete for this award, facilitate film shooting and reap benefits of shooting and filming in India.”

Film in India

Ministry of I&B’s Film in India initiative and setting up of the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) at the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) is a step in this direction. The FFO is mandated to promote and position India as a preferred destination for filmmakers across the world and create an environment that eases filming in the country. Its web portal,, is India’s single window clearance and facilitation mechanism for International and Indian film-makers and also the online repository of filmic information. The FFO signifies the Government’s endeavour to reach out to the filming fraternity across India and the world.

Representatives of nine States, namely, Jammu & Kashmir, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Maharashtra were present on the occasion, to showcase the initiatives undertaken by them towards ease of filming, as well as the opportunities available in their jurisdictions.

Film Tourism has a multiplier effect on the economy, since it brings enduring tourism, as also benefits the local economy in the form of employment, income generation, skill development, hospitality, transportation, catering, presenting a location in an attractive manner.

Producers’ Trade Associations, and Film Chambers of Commerce from across the country, participated in the symposium. The organisations include Film Federation of India (FFI), Indian Film & TV Producers Council (IFTPC), Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA), Producers Guild of India (PGI), Motion Pictures Association, India, Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), Indian Film & Television Directors Association (IFTDA), Akhil Bharatiya Marathi Chitrapat Mahamandal (ABMCM), Western India Film Producers Association (WIFPA), Film-Makers Combine, Asian Society of Film and Television (AAFT), MX Player, Amazon Prime, Voot, The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce, The Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, The Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce, Producers’ Council, Assam, Filmmakers Association of Nagaland (FAN), Bengal Film and Television Chamber of Commerce (BFTCC), Sikkim Film Cooperative Society and Film and Television Producers Guild of South India, Motion Pictures Association of America (India Office) among others.

Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Ganji Kamala Vardhana Rao, Additional Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Ms. Rupinder Brar, Director and Ministry of I&B, Dhanpreet Kaur, also spoke during the event. Head, Film Facilitation Office, National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), Mr. Vikramjit Roy gave the vote of thanks. 

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About Siraj Syed

Syed Siraj
(Siraj Associates)

Siraj Syed is a film-critic since 1970 and a Former President of the Freelance Film Journalists' Combine of India.

He is the India Correspondent of and a member of FIPRESCI, the international Federation of Film Critics, Munich, Germany

Siraj Syed has contributed over 1,015 articles on cinema, international film festivals, conventions, exhibitions, etc., most recently, at IFFI (Goa), MIFF (Mumbai), MFF/MAMI (Mumbai) and CommunicAsia (Singapore). He often edits film festival daily bulletins.

He is also an actor and a dubbing artiste. Further, he has been teaching media, acting and dubbing at over 30 institutes in India and Singapore, since 1984.

Bandra West, Mumbai


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