Telugu films were made in Visakhapatnam long before the Telugu film industry shifted from Chennai to Hyderabad during in the early 1990s. It was only due to sops announced to the industry by then Chief Ministers that the industry had shifted to Hyderabad. The ideal choice to set up the film industry is Vizag, said Natti Kumar, film producer and former chairman of the AP Film Producer’s Council.
“On an average 14 films are being shot in Vizag every day as against 40 to 50 a day being made in Hyderabad. Once Vizag is made ‘film capital’ of Andhra Pradesh, the number would go up to 50 within a few years. We had already given a report to the Group of Ministers and the Antony Committee in this regard in the past,” Mr. Kumar told the media here on Tuesday.
The late Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had already sanctioned 317 acres at Nidigatlu in Visakhapatnam district for setting up of film studios about a decade ago. The industry had sought 1,000 acres . He hoped that Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu and elected political representatives from the film fraternity would ensure that the demand for relocation of the film industry in Vizag becomes a reality.
On the advantages of Vizag, Mr. Kumar said there were a number of tourist spots and film shooting locations in the city, district and in north Andhra besides those in East Godavari and Yanam, which could all be reached in about three hours by road. The film industry would also generate employment to locals in the backward north Andhra region. Saying that 5 lakh people were dependent on the industry, he demanded revival of subsidies to small budget films, which were withdrawn by Mr. Chandrababu Naidu during his earlier stint as the Chief Minister.
The other demands include: grant of ‘special category’ status to films produced in backward north Andhra for 10 years and making it mandatory for the industry to employ at 70 per cent of people belonging to north Andhra.