New Delhi, Sep 27 (IANS) You'd think filmmakers are flocking to the capital to shoot against historical locales like the Red Fort and Qutb Minar, but guess what appears to be more popular and the most expensive place to film in? The Delhi Metro.
Shooting in Delhi Metro is not only expensive but tedious as well because it involves a lot of paper work.
'We generally don't allow anyone to shoot films in the Metro that easily. Producers have to get permission and it takes around 15 days to check documents, scripts and other details,' Anuj Dayal, chief public relations officer of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), told IANS.
The fee is Rs.100,000 per hour to shoot at a station.
'Then there's a Rs.500,000 bank guarantee which is a sort of safeguard amount so that we can make up for any damage to metro property during the shooting,' said Dayal.
The producer also has to give in writing that DMRC is not liable for any injury or mishap suffered by anyone during the shoot.
The producer is also charged a maximum fare (Rs.44 per passenger) applicable to the return journey of the standing capacity of the train, which is 1,506 passengers.
The shootings are mostly between noon and 4 p.m., considered the lean hours.
Films that have been shot so far in the metro premises include 'Bewafaa' and 'Black & White'. Upcoming movies in which the metro will feature are 'Dilli 6' and 'Dev D'.
On the contrary, shooting at monuments, old markets, parks, malls and the university campus is cheaper and easier.
In a year, on an average 10 films are shot at Delhi monuments. The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) charges Rs.5,000 per day per monument with a refundable security deposit of Rs.10,000 for accidental damage to the property.
Now it is planning to hike this fee.
'We should market our monuments like in the West. There has been no hike in the nominal fee for film shootings since 1959 and I am going to submit a proposal that the producers be charged a hefty amount,' said Muhammed K.K., the ASI officer who is in charge of Delhi monuments.
'We aren't marketing our monuments and hence not generating revenue out of them. There is no specific number of days now when filmmakers are allowed to shoot. I will propose to restrict that as well,' he added.
The Metro and monuments apart, the other locations in the capital sought after by filmmakers are its wide roads that are available free of cost.
'There is no charge for shooting on Delhi roads as it is public property. The producers are charged only when they raise any specific demands like protection from Delhi Police or manpower and equipment,' said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) S.N. Shrivastava.
'Shoots on the road is a commercial venture, so we make sure nobody should suffer because of that. The shooting schedule should not cause any obstruction in the flow of traffic and if they satisfy the norm, we allow them to shoot,' Shrivastava told IANS.
Shrivastava added that the favourite spots of filmmakers are the roads 'in and around India Gate'.
In the past, films like 'Tere Ghar Ke Samne', 'Ab Dilli Door Nahin', 'Nau Do Gyarah', 'Dilli Ka Thag', 'New Delhi Times', 'Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon' and 'Ek Shriman Ek Shrimati' were shot in Delhi.
Yash Chopra too had a special fascination for Delhi and shot extensively for films like 'Silsila', 'Kabhi Kabhi', 'Chandni' and 'Lamhe'.
The audiences also saw glimpses of the city in offbeat movies like 'Rajnigandha' and 'Chashme Buddoor' in the early 1970s.
Delhi was also shown extensively in films shot in the last decade like 'Monsoon Wedding', 'Dil Se', 'Sarfarosh', 'Ek Haseena Thi', 'Delhii Heights' 'Fanaa', 'Rang De Basanti', 'Cheeni Kum', 'Sunday', 'Nayak' and 'Swades'.
Directors like Imtiaz Ali and Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra are now in town to shoot their films in and around Delhi.
Some parts of Akshay Kumar's 'Chandni Chowk to China' have been shot in the capital and Aamir Khan Productions' next, 'Delhi Belly', is also set in the city.