Pressure is on DTI to sign two films

2013-12-24 00:00

PRESSURE is mounting on the Department of Trade and Industry to make a decision as to whether two high-budget Bollywood films, with star-studded line-ups, could be filmed in Durban.

The confirmation could spell one of the biggest deals in Bollywood history, if the department signs off, Durban film producer Javed Aboobaker says.

Aboobaker, owner of Mindblowing Productions, claims that early next year a pack of Bollywood legends including Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra are scheduled to fly to the KwaZulu-Natal coast.

The deal is being held up as Aboobaker wants a larger rebate from the Department of Trade and Industry — the standard rebate is 20% to 25% on foreign productions — and the DTI is refusing to budge.

Aboobaker says if the megastars get to Durban they will stay here for several weeks while shooting Happy Anniversary and Aankhen 2. Aankhen, which was filmed in South Africa with Aboobaker’s company, sparked the current deal with Aboobaker, who is anxious to bring another seven Bollywood movies to the country.

“This is an unbelievable deal which could map Durban as one of the biggest places to shoot Bollywood movies in the world,” Aboobaker said.

Aboobaker says there was much interest from Durban film bodies, which had offered to try to help raise the extra percentage being requested.

The incentive scheme rewards foreign producers with a rebate that is a percentage of a film’s budget as a way of attracting their projects to the country.

Department spokesperson Sidwell Medupe said that the department was doing its best to process the request that was higher than the usual percentage offered to foreign productions.

“The figure is outside our scope but we are working, and doing our best to confirm the deal,” he said.

Aboobaker said that the deal could create potential jobs as well as garner tourism interest and inject massive capital into Durban’s film industry.

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