Interim Budget 2019: Single-window clearance for film-makers to get cameras rolling

Anti-camcorder rules to curb piracy

February 01, 2019 10:40 pm | Updated 10:40 pm IST - NEW DELHI / Mumbai

A few weeks after representatives from the Hindi film industry met PM Narendra Modi, Bollywood found more than a mention in the 2019 Interim Budget. Along with praises for the recently released film on surgical strikes, Uri , Union Minister Piyush Goyal announced that there will be a single window clearance for Indian filmmakers and anti-camcorder regulations will be introduced in the Indian Cinematograph Act to prevent piracy.

The single-window clearance mechanism, which provides a one-stop shop to seek permission to shoot at locations within India, was limited to foreign filmmakers so far.

“It is a significant step and has the potential to play a huge role in boosting tourism in the country,” said Siddharth Roy Kapur, President, Producers Guild of India. Single-window clearance is expected to save pre-production time for filmmakers and producers.

“It will also eradicate hidden costs involved in the procedure,” said Sunir Khetrepal, CEO, Azure Entertainment. However, trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai said that most properties open to filming fall under the State governments, which will lead to a conflict of interest with the Centre. “Single window clearance maybe good for Hollywood films which require a single clearance but for local industries I don’t see much benefit,” said Mr. Pillai.

The clampdown on piracy by introducing anti-camcorder norms has been unanimously welcomed by the film industry. “All measures towards anti-piracy safeguard the hard work and investments made by filmmakers,” said director Milan Luthria.

Trade analyst and producer Amul Mohan said the regulation would help the government track down the source of piracy in cinema halls, especially in small towns. “The government will have to be more stringent not just against camcorders but online piracy as well and have more muscle power in... bringing down torrent sites,” said Mr. Pillai.

According to a report by Irdeto, piracy costs the industry about $2.8 billion in annual revenue.

Frank D’Souza, partner and leader, entertainment and media sector, PwC, said, “With over 2,000 movies made in India annually, the move to extend the single window clearance even to Indian film-makers could have a substantial impact on the time and effort spent on such approvals from a plethora of agencies.”

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