MUMBAI: Undeterred by the Uttar Pradesh government's film city plans, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday said his government would ensure the best film production facilities in his state.
Inaugurating a three-day webinar to discuss a policy for the entertainment sector in the state, 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. We will focus on quality and state-of-the-art production facilities," Thackeray said.
Notably, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath recently unveiled an ambitious plan to set up a film city in UP and rolled out an open offer to the film fraternity to come to the state.
Thackeray during the webinar asked the film industry stakeholders to prepare an action plan for strengthening the film infrastructure, including post-production facilities.
"We also need to prioritise our plansin the wake of COVID-19 as to what should be taken up first," he said.
Thackeray said constructing affordable theatres and having dedicated theatres for Marathi films was a good concept and his government will work on it.
He recalled that his father late Bal Thackeray, who was a cartoonist, would prepare show cardsfor production houses and studios.
"My father had warm relations with Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and other artists," the CM said.
The film industry was not just an entertainment sector, but also a means to create a good society, he said.
"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," he said.
Maharashtra Culture Minister Amit Deshmukh said the government plans to expand the film city in different parts of the state.
Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar in a video message said the decision for one-window clearance for film shootingshas already been taken and an office has been set up at the films division in Mumbai.
"We hope that once the COVID-19 pandemic is over, the effort will gain momentum," he said.
Javadekar said Maharashtra is blessed with diverse natural resources which is good for film shootings.
Film producer Sidharth Roy Kapur sought financial incentives for producers and single-window clearances.
Producer-director Rakyesh Omprakash Mehra suggested a PPP (pulic-private partnership) model for strengthening and creating infrastructure for the film industry.
He also demanded an increase in screen density where ordinary people can afford tickets.
Mehra also said another film city should be created in between Mumbai and Pune.
Marathi actor Subodh Bhave demanded dedicated theatres for Marathi films and said tent cinemas should be popularised in rural areas.