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Last Updated 13.11.2019 | 9:58 PM IST
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Irrfan Khan’s son debuts with Metro

When it comes to mountains and scenic beauty, most producers think of Switzerland If it’s beaches, Mauritius [SOUTEN, GARAM MASALA, NO ENTRY] is the obvious choice… If the requirement is that of a bustling city, producers often turn to Singapore [BIWI NO. 1, VAADA, KRISHH] Thailand [KAHO NAA PYAAR HAI, CHURA LIYAA HAI TUMNE, MURDER, ZINDA, NO ENTRY, 36 CHINA TOWN, PYARE MOHAN] is another hot destination that’s attracting producers in hordes Australia [PREM AGGAN, DIL CHAHTA HAI, SALAAM | NAMASTE] and South America [DHOOM 2] have also caught the fancy of late…

South Africa [DIL KA RISHTA, ANDAAZ, NO ENTRY], Canada [BEWAFAA, DUS, HUMKO DEEWANA KAR GAYE] and U.S.A. [LAJJA, PARDES, KAL HO NAA HO, KABHI ALVIDA NAA KEHNA] have also been captured on celluloid by Bollywood producers… U.K., of course, continues to be the most favored destination and the list of Hindi and regional films that continue to be shot there is endless.

Now add Ireland as the destination film producers can embrace enthusiastically!

WHY IRELAND?

If Thailand is the land of smiles, Ireland is the land of 100,000 welcomes. Located next to United Kingdom, Ireland is ready to woo Bollywood now. Tourism Ireland and Gulf Air invited a delegation of Bollywood dignitaries to have a glimpse of the country and being avid travelers ourselves, you can’t help but declare, Ireland is incredible and irresistible.

It’s often said that people make a place and for film producers, the exotic locales is what does the trick. Fortunately, Ireland scores brownie points on both the counts. The Irish populace is humble, respectful and caring and the locales are mesmerizing and awe-inspiring. What more could a film producer ask for?

The Government of Ireland is going all out to welcome Bollywood. The infrastructure [studios, equipments, online producers] is in place and all one has to do is get in touch with the Tourism Ireland office in Mumbai [Huzan Fraser and Beena Menon on 32961624 / 32961725] and chalk out the plans. Watch a showreel of Ireland, if need be, see what suits your requirements and board the next available flight to Dublin and Belfast.

Although most Irish people may not have a clue of Bollywood movies and stars, the newspapers, radio stations and television channels spoke extensively of Bollywood when a hand-picked delegation flew from Mumbai to Dublin last week. In fact, Rajat Rawail [C.O.O./partner, Anil Kapoor Film Company and Director, B.S.K. Entertainment Network Ltd.] and Trade Guide Editor Taran Adarsh were interviewed by UTV, the national television [it was a Live discussion], about the changing face of Bollywood and the delegation’s impressions of Ireland. Bollywood is surely making its presence felt globally and how!

The delegation, comprising of Ashok Ghai [Mukta Arts Ltd.], Vishal Dembla [C.O.O. – Motion Pictures, K. Sera Sera], R. Karthik [President – Strategy & Business Development, Balaji Telefilms Ltd.], Rajat Rawail, director Lawrence D’Souza, Jitendra Chacha [international film locations’ consultant], Shyam Sunder [associated with Boney Kapoor’s productions] and the two writers, were the guests of honor of John O’Donoghue, Minister for Arts, Sport & Tourism at the Farmleigh House, Dublin. In fact, Adarsh had an exclusive, one-on-one discussion with the Minister, who promised all possible co-operation to Indian film-makers who plan to shoot in Ireland.

When Adarsh pointed out that there ought to be a one-window clearance for all facilities/permissions, the minister reiterated that the Ireland Film Board was prepared to go that extra mile to ensure that the producer feels at home once he arrives in Ireland.

STUNNING LOCATIONS

Although it’s physically impossible to have a tour of the Republic and North Ireland in a 4-day visit, Tourism Ireland, Northern Ireland Film & Television Commission and Irish Film Board ensured that the guests got a proper idea of a few breath-taking, virgin locales, never witnessed on the Indian screen ever.

Stephens Green and the Guinness Storehouse are two majestic structures of Dublin. In fact, you can get a 360 degree aerial view of Dublin city at the topmost floor of Guinness. The west wing of Crom Castle is another place that has been thrown open for public and film shootings. In fact, the castle has been refurbished and also has accommodation to offer.

Fermanagh, Londonderry and Limavady are visual delights as well. Every sight can make for an eye-filling locale and the lush greenery only acts as a topping. But the sight that takes your breath away is Dunluce Castle, built more than 300 years ago. Now in ruins [but well-maintained nevertheless], it’s one of the most spectacular sites of North Ireland. In fact, the drive to the Castle itself is stunning.

The Carraickarade Island Rope Bridge is another site that’s a complete marvel. But it’s not one for the weak-hearted. Jokes apart, the one question that crosses your mind when you walk on the rope bridge is, why hasn’t any film-maker, even from Hollywood, captured the beauty of this locale on celluloid? In fact, you can see the borders of Scotland on the other side of the sea.

Belfast, the capital of North Ireland, needs no introduction. Titanic, the ship that hit headlines in the early 20th century, sailed from this port-city and today, decades after Titanic lies buried in the sea, the conversation seems incomplete without the grandiose ship and Belfast.

The Indian delegation is greeted by Lord Rana and the Indian High Commissioner [London], Mr. Kamalesh, over tea in Belfast. In fact, Lord Rana makes a point to light the traditional lamp at the hands of Mr. Kamalesh, Huzan Fraser of Tourism Ireland and Adarsh to cement the Ireland-Bollywood friendship.

Wicklow is another destination that’s a must-see for Indian film-makers. Wicklow houses the state-of-the-art Panavision Studio and arrangements were made for the delegation to have a glimpse of the shooting of a Hollywood film called 13. The Brittas Bay Beach has attracted a number of directors, including Mel Gibson [BRAVEHEART] and Steven Spielberg [SAVING PRIVATE RYAN], to shoot portions of their film at this magnificent location. The Powerscourt Estate, with manicured gardens, is another regal structure that leaves you gaping in awe.

CONNECTIVITY

Reaching Dublin is very easy. You can board a Gulf Air flight from Mumbai, which flies via Bahrain or you can reach Dublin via any of the European destinations. Dublin is one of the key cities of Europe and one of the busiest airports of the world.

The Government of Ireland is ready to ease the process of issuing visas for Bollywood producers. The Embassy is located in New Delhi, while the Consulates are located in Mumbai and Bangalore. VFS [which processes visas for U.K.] also handles the Irish visas in other key cities.

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