Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has announced a Film City on 1000 acre identified in Gautam Buddh Nagar by Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA). The dedicated infotainment zone at Noida, Greater Noida and Yamuna Expressway region is an ambitious project by Yogi Government that will be set up with world class civil, public and technological facilities.
CM Yogi conducted a virtual meeting with Indian filmmakers, actors, singers and screenwriters. Anupam Kher, Vivek Agnihotri, Om Raut (Tanhaji fame), Udit Narayan, Kailash Kher, etc, were some of the prominent names who attended the meeting. Kher is known for his nationalist stand and backing the central government for its pro – development initiatives. Agnihotri created an alternate narrative on the representation of politics and society in Indian cinema. His film ‘Buddha In A Traffic Jam,’ was a creative disruptor as it challenged the pro Naxal agenda in educational institutions and popular media. From there the filmmaker coined the term Urban Naxals for those intellectuals and artists who support the cause of terrorism, riots, anarchy and separatism through literature, cinema, theatre or journalism. The filmmaker went on to name all those who have been working with an agenda driven mindset that encourages civil unrest within the country.
CM Yogi is known for his firm approach when it comes to handling criminals and rioters. Since, Mumbai based Bollywood is under scrutiny for its links with Mafia, ISI and drug peddlers; there has been a nationwide public outrage against the Hindi film industry located at Maharashtra. With regional politics of Shiv Sena threatening and harassing North Indians while Mumbai based actors remain mute spectators, it was high time Indian film industry witnessed a change. The aspiring actors, filmmakers and screenwriters from small towns must feel secure at the workplace. The middle class North Indian families have always been skeptical about allowing their kids to pursue their careers in cinema. Yogi’s vigil and strict administration post the Vikas Dubey shootout incident has sent a strong message regarding law enforcement in UP. So, any kind of drug peddling, divisive agenda through art or any link to terrorism suspects or mafia would not go unpunished under Yogi’s regime.
Bollywood has been accused for creating an anti – India narrative through art. Just like art and entertainment acts as a nation’s soft power. Similarly, cinema or art could be used to wage a cultural war against a country. Many PR firms, film production companies, news organizations have investors who’re directly or indirectly linked to Chinese companies, Dubai based firms or Turkish businessmen who’re often under the radar of investigative and intelligence agencies. Mostly the investors are liked to those countries that are not Indian allies or are allies of China and Pakistan. In storytelling there’s a huge impact of such lobbies creating false propaganda against India among its citizens. There’s been a malafide attempt to paint a picture about India in popular culture as a country that is an oppressor of its minorities. Overlooking India’s civilization history as being one of the most diverse nations, the hate mongers disguised as fearless independent filmmakers are hell bent on projecting India as a country known for human rights violations. All the greatness of Indian saints and Yogis like Sri Ramkrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda, Paramhansa Yogananda, Raman Maharishi, Srila Prabhupada and Neem Karoli Baba to name a few, is yet to be explored on the celluloid.
As Yogi mentioned of the richness and positive influence of legends like Ramayana, Mahabharta and Chanakya, the film city in UP could be the breakthrough in Indic renaissance for Indian cinema. The South film industry already took the nation by storm with Baahubali franchise. The Purvanchal region has equally culturally rich stories of our ancient treasure. The greatest icons Ram, Krishna, Buddha and legends of Ramayana and other regional folklore, all belong to Purvanchal. Bhojpuri cinema has for long become a caricature of 80s Bollywood with loud acting, raunchy songs and obscene portrayal of women with sexist lyrics. It’s time to rediscover Bhojpuri cinema in its entirety. Not just commercial entertainment but authentic representation of Bharat is the need of the time. The new wave of cinematic renaissance in Noida could be a landmark opportunity to reclaim our glorious heritage.
As an ideal business model the film city would facilitate retention of state talent. Earlier, the aspiring youth of Purvanchal didn’t have a choice. So, they had to migrate to Mumbai for work. Now, with a large scale film studio in UP, there are immense possibilities. However, we also need to have an alternative to National School of Drama (NSD) and FTII (Film and Television Institute of India). Only then, the film studio at Noida would be able to successfully execute its grand vision. This move by UP Government shall inspire and compel other developing states to come up with film studios as well. CM Yogi must be aware of the rising population scenario in UP. In such a case the filmmakers cannot rely on one film studio. Hence, there must be a future plan for film studios in cities like Lucknow, Kanpur, Varanasi and Allahabad. This could bring long – term benefits. But for that to happen infrastructure, sanitation and healthcare, job and startup opportunities, etc in these cities require rapid development and transformation policies. The same needs to be implemented by the state government. Not just employment and business, but UP needs to be known as a media and entertainment hub as well. Ever since, Yogi took over the state administration, UP has been in constant news. When Bollywood is losing its credibility every single day, this is the perfect time to use the untapped potential of youth who wish to be aspiring writers, actors or directors. UP needs to be self – reliant as per PM Modi’s Aatmnirbhar Bharat initiative in the field of theatre, cinema and journalism. The move by CM Yogi has created optimism among cinephiles as everyone looks forward to the ambitious film studio getting started in UP. Noida film studio has generated a lot of expectations towards dawn of a new Bharat through cinematic revolution.