The 10th edition of the India International Foreign Tourism Conclave (IIFTC) witnessed the renowned Indian film director, R. Balki, sharing invaluable insights on the art of filmmaking and its close association with the right locations. Balki, a visionary filmmaker with a passion for authenticity, emphasized the significance of ideal locations and highlighted how he shot Padman in Madhya Pradesh.
In a thought-provoking address on the second evening of the three-day mega film tourism event, Balki made a compelling case for filmmakers shying away from touching subjects that are considered taboo. In a fireside chat, he mentioned, “When I thought of MP as a location for Padman, I and Swanand Kirkire went to Ujjain and Bhopal and didn’t find them to be the right fit for the script. Finally, the local production unit guy asked us about our vision and took us to a distant place where we could see the Narmada flowing right outside our hotel. I immediately realized that this was the location that I had visualized – that place was called Maheshwar.”
Balki further mentioned “Many times, we had to shoot particular scenes and we were puzzled as to how the locals would react. Narmada is considered to be a holy river. We had a scene wherein Akshay would toss a buffalo blood-covered sanitary pad into the river. This was a part of the story wherein the real-life Coimbatore-based creator of the low-cost sanitary pad-making machine Arunachalam Muruganantham – wanted to test the sanitary pads. There was a crowd gathered to watch the shoot. We called a few women from the crowd to discuss and they told us that we are indeed doing a noble deed by making a film on a subject that could eventually help the entire womenfolk and Narmada being a Goddess would understand the endeavour of ours. They asked us to shoot the scene as it is. This gave us a lot of confidence and we were free from all our worries.”
A delegation from Madhya Pradesh Tourism, led by the Secretary of the Tourism and Culture Department and the Managing Director of MP Tourism Board, Mr. Sheo Shekhar Shukla (IAS), met with film industry stakeholders at the event and shared the highlights of Madhya Pradesh’s film policy. The state’s dense forests, rolling hills, serene lakes, majestic forts, and ancient temples have already served as exquisite backdrops for numerous Bollywood and international film productions.
The inaugural evening of IIFTC featured over 50 international companies from more than 20 countries coming to Bollywood and Mumbai to woo Indian filmmakers. Participating countries included Azerbaijan, South Africa, the USA, Spain, Lithuania, Kenya, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Serbia, the UK, Australia, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Netherlands, and Ukraine, among others.