PANJIM: Last year, Shahrukh Khan and Anuskha Sharma pranced on the streets of Lisbon, as cameras rolled. They were shooting for a song from the film ‘The Ring’. The movie has not yet been released, but Portugal is already on the way to become the new flavour of the Indian film industry.
So, surprising as it may seem to many, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa, during his stay in Goa, is slated to have an interaction with representatives of the Indian film industry and the discussion will veer around ‘Portugal as an ideal destination and location for film shoots and the advantages the country offers to facilitate the process’.
India-Portugal trade relations may be showing a negative growth, -11.43 per cent in the year 2015-16 according to the website of the Indian Embassy in Portugal, having dropped from $ 1 billion in 2013-14 to $ 700 million in 2015-16. So, are future business ties between the two industries resting in film shoots? That the interaction is being organised by the entertainment department of FICCI, indicates that exploring film shoots is serious business for Portugal and India.
When he was elected for a third term as Lisbon Mayor in 2013, Costa had spoken of strengthening links with the Indian film industry and mentioned that the Lisbon Film Commission had been set up in 2012 as the Portuguese capital was much sought after for shooting films and advertisements. Now, as Prime Minister he is going to be directly interacting with film industry professionals in India.
He won’t be the first Portuguese leader to eye the Indian film industry. A decade ago, in January 2017, during then Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva’s visit to India, the two countries had signed a MoU that would permit better interaction and easy clearance for Indian film crews to shoot in Portugal.
And, there have been Indian films shot in Portugal. Telugu film ‘Balupu’ and Bengali film Bachchan have had some song sequences shot in the Iberian country. The Hindi film ‘Airport: Shaira and Me’ set to release in 2017 has been shot entirely in Portugal. Thursday’s interaction will add to these.
For Portugal, it is also a way of marketing the country to Indian tourists, where they hope that films shot in Portugal will sell the country to Indian audiences. The country already attracts a fair number of Indian tourists and in 2014 India was among the top 5 countries for inbound tourism into Portugal. The Portuguese hope is that Indian films will add to the number of tourists.