Twenty-two feature films, including six Bhojpuri films, have been the beneficiary of the Yogi Adityanath government’s film policy. “Nearly 35 more films have been cleared by the finance committee. Bill vouchers of such films have been deposited and this means that these films would be next in line for subsidy which is cleared in a phased manner,” said an official of Film Bandhu, the nodal body for film clearance and subsidy in the state.
The Uttar Pradesh government has, so far, cleared subsidy worth over Rs 112.4 million for 16 Hindi and six Bhojpuri films.
“The subsidy amount for 22 films is being transferred directly into the filmmakers’ accounts through real-time gross settlement (RTGS),” the official said.
Among these 22 films are ‘Anaarkali of Aarah’, ‘Shaadi Main Zaroor Aana’, ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’ and ‘Behen Hogi Teri’. Interestingly, Anurag Kashyap’s ‘Saand ki Aankh’, which the Yogi Adityanath government had declared tax-free in 2019, is not among the subsidy beneficiaries. ‘Saand Ki Aankh’ stars Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar.
The film is based on the life of Chandro Tomar and Prakashi Tomar, the two grandmothers from Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh who learnt shooting at the age of 60 years and then went on to earn accolades.
Anurag Kashyap, the producer of ‘Saand ki Aankh’, has been vocal in his opposition to the new citizenship law and was also among 49 celebrities who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi against growing intolerance.
Bollywood celebrities like Madhur Bhandarkar had criticized Kashyap for seeking subsidy from the same government which he was criticizing.
Meanwhile, Film Bandhu spokesman said that, on an average, three films were seeking subsidy every month in the state. There is a craze among filmmakers to shoot in Uttar Pradesh locations like Varanasi, Mathura, Agra, Sarnath, and Sonbhadra.
In 2018, the Yogi Adityanath government had revised the existing film policy. Under the new policy, if half of a film has been shot in the state, the producer would be eligible for a subsidy of Rs 1 crore, while shooting two-thirds of the film in the state would make the producer eligible for Rs 2 crores.
In March 2019, Adityanath had personally given away cheques worth Rs 7 crores to 14 filmmakers for movies shot in the state and had even suggested a film on Prayagraj’s ‘Kumbh’.
The Yogi government has also given subsidy to hit films like Boney Kapoor’s “Mom”, “Toilet– Ek Prem Katha” and “Nil Batey Sannata” among others.
In the new policy, including four to five actors from the state in his film also makes the producer eligible for Rs 25 lakh, while an all-UP star cast make a producer eligible for Rs 50 lakh.
The government had also reworked the policy to extend cash subsidies, which were till then available only to Hindi films and those made in UP regional languages, to films shot in English or any regional language.