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May 25, 2024

Indian Film Industry Expands Shoots and Screenings in Russia

The Indian film industry is poised to rekindle its historical cultural connection with Russia, a nation where generations have grown up watching subtitled Indian films featuring stars like Raj Kapoor, Mithun Chakraborty, Hema Malini, and Shah Rukh Khan. According to a report in the Economic Times (ET), stakeholders from both countries are working diligently to increase the number of Indian film shoots and screenings in Russia.

In the wake of Hollywood’s withdrawal from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, there has been a concerted effort by film production and distribution companies to attract Indian filmmakers and promote Indian films in the region. This initiative is seen as a strategic move to fill the entertainment void left by Hollywood and strengthen Indo-Russian cultural ties.

Sarfaraz Alam Safu, proprietor of production line company Kartina Entertainment, highlighted his company’s significant role in recent Indian film productions shot in Russia. “We have served as the line producer for productions such as Sardar Udham, Pathaan, Tiger, and Jugjugg Jeeyo, all filmed in Russia,” Safu stated. He also revealed plans for a biopic of Rakesh Sharma, the first Indian in space, to be shot in Russia and produced by Siddharth Roy Kapoor. Prominent Indian production companies like Dharma Productions, Excel Entertainment, Emmay Entertainment, and Rohit Shetty Productions are in discussions for several upcoming projects.

Russian authorities are actively working to attract more Indian filmmakers by offering substantial discounts on production costs. Evgeny Kozlov, first deputy head of the office of the mayor and the government of Moscow, emphasized this initiative: “We are now like the front office or supermarket of any services for filmmakers, as we are trying to cut their production expenses as much as possible by offering a low price to shoot here.”

A significant milestone was achieved last month when the upcoming Tamil action film The Greatest of All Time became the first foreign production to participate in the “Moscow-City of Cinema” programme, which offers subsidies to filmmakers. Kozlov noted that the Moscow Department of Culture, which is responsible for attracting filmmakers, is actively establishing ties with Bollywood filmmakers.

In addition to increased film shoots, there has been a notable rise in the screening of Indian films across Russia. Indian movies are now showcased in more than 40 venues across the country, including major cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg, as well as in Arkhangelsk, Belgorod, Kazan, Penza, Saratov, Tula, Ulyanovsk, and Cheboksary. This widespread distribution indicates a growing appetite for Indian cinema among Russian audiences.

Mirzoyan Karen Rudolfovich, a general producer of Indian films in Russia, expressed optimism about the future of Indian cinema in the Russian market. He aims for Indian films to capture around 20 percent of the Russian film market in the next four to five years, a significant increase from the current market share of less than 5 percent.

The concerted efforts by both Indian and Russian stakeholders to increase film shoots and screenings highlight a promising phase of cultural exchange and collaboration. By leveraging discounted production costs and fostering strong ties between filmmakers, the Indian film industry is set to make a substantial impact on the Russian entertainment landscape.

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

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