India is one of the most vibrant and exciting entertainment industries in the world and is on the
brink of its true emergence globally. The ongoing investment into high technology, proactively
growing its domestic and international customer base and greater levels of governmental support
have all played a role in India’s positive trend.

Film distribution and production of feature films continues to grow with over 1800 digital feature
films produced and released across the country in 2018. To put this volume into perspective, during
the same period, the United States produced slightly over 500 films. The disparity in film production
volume is the largely down to the available market and the culture of the Indian population
preferring to watch movies in the cinema as opposed to alternative mediums, inclusive of streaming,
albeit the number of screens has started to decline in recent years.

The city of Mumbai is central to the India’s film industry and leads the way when it comes to
revenue and value, but is well supported by other film hubs across the country.

Whilst creatively stimulating, India does have a reputation of place that provides logistical challenges
for international filmmakers. An example of this is evident in relation to obtaining permits and
shooting permissions from the many different government agencies who often work in isolation. The
lack of cohesion often results in poor transparency and slow turnaround times meaning multiple
shooting locations can take months for permissions to be granted.

That said, improvements have been made. Since the beginning of 2016 there has been significant
changes, driven by the launch of the Film Facilitation Office by India’s Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting. Operating as a central department across all states, their role is to assist producers
and help speed up the permit process. In addition, the FFO have now launched an online portal
ensuring international and domestic producers can apply for permits and provide information about
locations within the country, facilities and production agreements.

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs have also played their part in attracting overseas production with
the introduction of the special F-Visa for film crews, valid for up to a year the visa entitles multiple

Even prior to improvements of access and permits, India’s skilled and experienced workforce, low
costs and the country’s diverse landscapes, has always seen a continuous flow of overseas TV and
film productions.

Another consideration to filming in India is the infrastructure and facilities across the country are
variable, and although Mumbai boasts a number of world class studios, these are often fully booked
with domestic productions. More often than not, international productions focus primarily on
filming, using the iconic country for shooting scenes, whether it be in the Himalayas, deserts, the
jungle, beaches or the backdrop of iconic and historic cities.

Sourcing skilled English-speaking production crew does not pose a problem in Mumbai, but may
cause more complications the further afield you go. Also, although India has always been positioned
as a lower cost option, costs for international film production are increasing.

That said the film and TV industry continues on its path of incredible growth. As relations on the
global scene with Hollywood and others are nurtured, investment into the country’s infrastructure, crew and facilities, India’s continued rise and impact within the industry looks set to continue for
years to come.