Thursday, March 30, 2006

Offshoring Bollywood to NI

Towards the end of an article in tonight's Belfast Telegraph about the potential for Bollywood films to be shot in Northern Ireland, there's a startling sentence:
"Surveys also suggest that as many as one in five visitors to the UK come as a result of seeing the country on screen."
So, I wonder what the average viewer around the world has seen of Northern Ireland on their screens? Even post-ceasefire(s), and post-Good Friday, there's still plenty of shameful pictures broadcast around the world each summer.

One Indian colleague has worked in Northern Ireland a couple of times over the last few years. Each time she arrives, there is a major incident that makes it onto the front pages of Indian newspapers and onto their evening news - causing her family great worry, and generating calls home to calm stressed nerves. Coincidence, but telling.

My memory of a balmy Sunday afternoon spent at a hill station outside Pune (100 miles east of Mumbai) was that it looked very like County Antrim. Green fields stretching up the hills. A big lake - that we motored across. A large damn generating power for the city of Pune. The only thing missing were sheep.

So if Bollywood film producers are happy to chase the sheep out of their shoots, and the actors can put up with our all-year round monsoon season, then they'll have a lot of success making Bollywood classics here.

And it'll be a bit of competition for Richard Attenborough who is filming Closing the Ring in Belfast, through the new Titanic Studios - based in the defunct Maysfield leisure centre.


Caroline said...

The bad news on screens around the world is probably what's saved Norn Iron (so far) from being over-run by an influx of gold diggers from various places. I can't blame those who come from beleaguered countries, in the least for trying to seek out a better life for themselves but it does bring it's problems to whatever country they decide to invade. We who live here know that the picture painted by the media worldwide isn't the most positive representation of a wonderfully diverse wee country.

Investment from outside sources like the film industry can be no bad thing.

Alan in Belfast said...

I agree - and hope that the sounds of Bollywood extend from the occasional showing in the QFT (often specially requested prints for the local community), and can be heard around the province. The local film industry along with the caterers, B&Bs, etc could do with the trade.

All investors in the economy and infrastructure must be welcomed. Gold diggers mightn't be so well received!