CM Thackeray talks better film facilities in Mumbai to counter proposed Film City at Noida

CM Uddhav Thackeray

A “perturbed” Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said his government would ensure the best film production facilities in Mumbai in the wake of UP chief minister’s announcement to set up a mega film city in Noida, a couple of months ago. Inaugurating a three-day webinar to discuss a policy for the entertainment sector in the state, the chief minister Thackeray also said his government will work on setting up affordable theatres as well as dedicated theatres for Marathi films. There are talks to take the Mumbai film city to Uttar Pradesh. Let them take it if they have capabilities. The state will focus on quality and state-of-the-art production facilities, he said.

The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had announced setting up country’s ‘biggest’ film city around Noida. Within the next 48 hours of the announcement, the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) claimed that it has identified 1,000 acres land and has already sent the proposal to the state government.

The decision for an alternate Film City also comes at a time when Bollywood is bitterly divided on ideological lines, particularly after the death of Sushant Singh Rajput and Kangana Ranaut-Shiv Sena row. The industry known for promoting liberal-left causes is increasingly being challenged by right-leaning filmmakers and actors who feel their voice was stifled for too long. Many of these filmmakers see Mumbai as the bastion of the Left ecosystem and may think of moving out their base from Mumbai to Noida, provided they get better infrastructure and cheap workforce.

Thackeray during the webinar asked the film industry stakeholders to prepare an action plan for strengthening the film infrastructure, including post-production facilities. He said that constructing affordable theatres and having dedicated theatres for Marathi films was a good concept and his government will work on it.

The film industry was not just an entertainment sector, but also a means to create a good society, he said and added, “My government will do all it can for the progress and growth of the industry, whose foundation stone was laid by Dadasaheb Phalke, in its birthplace.”

Meanwhile, the Yogi government is working hard to realise its plan to set up the Film City at Noida, soon. Bollywood’s experiments of 60’s and 70’s could well be repeated in the NCR now. The Film City will also give a big boost to regional cinemas, especially Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Bundeli and Braj films which are struggling to survive amidst commercialisation. Additionally, with many studios and news channels Noida already has a robust infrastructure of video-production.

Being a media hub will further come handy for film promotions and publicity. Being an emerging hub of IT industry Noida can well offer the ancillary work of film processing and animations. Since love and romance has been the dominant theme of Hindi films for long, Taj Mahal the greatest symbol of love is also not very far away from the proposed city.