‘Malaysia, India should work together for economic growth’

Kuala Lumpur, June 6 (IANS) With its natural beauty and colonial architecture, Malaysia can serve as a perfect destination for Indian filmmakers, says a senior official of Malaysia-based film agency National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS), adding that joining hands would boost the economy of both countries.

Given the cultural similarities and historical background of India and Malaysia, it can be a fruitful partnership, Amir Mutalib, senior director at FINAS, said.

At the FICCI-IIFA Global Business Forum at the three-day International Indian Film Academy (IIFA) Weekend and Awards, which started here on Friday, Mutalib encouraged Indian filmmakers to consider Malaysia, host country of the 16th edition of IIFA gala that celebrates Indian cinema in various parts of the globe annually, as an ideal filming location.

Mutalib shared that around 50 Bollywood films like “Yaadein” and “Don” have been shot in Malaysia so far and he wants more Indian filmmakers to explore the naturally endowed country.

“We have such beautiful islands and are naturally endowed. We also have buildings which were constructed during the British era,” Mutalib told IANS when asked why should filmmakers shoot in his home country.

“We have good neighbours. Since we have cultural similarities and historical background, I think countries like India and Japan should work with us instead of going to the West. Our partnership will be good for economic growth,” added the official of FINAS, which was established in 1981 and is a statutory agency under the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia.

Responsible to promote, preserve and facilitate the development of the film industry in Malaysia, FINAS is the first point of contact that provides information, advice, support services and incentives for creative content production in Malaysia.

It is also the agency that facilitates all foreign film production work in Malaysia, which consists of approximately seven percent Indian community.

“It’s not difficult to take permission for shooting here. They need to submit their script to government body PUSPAL, they look into it and issues permits and our agency helps foreign producers to get that,” said Mutalib.

Cash rebate is also given for shooting in Malaysia.

“There is an incentive of 30 percent for any foreign projects in Malaysia. But they need to spend five million ringgit for a particular project,” he said.

“Partner” director David Dhawan, who has shot films on international lands like Switzerland and London, has also given a thumbs up to filming here.

“I have shot in Malaysia before. Back then there were no incentives. Now there is, so yes filmmakers should consider Malaysia for their films. It is relatively cheap here. (But) in Kuala Lumpur, it is difficult. The city’s traffic is amazing. You can’t move. So, you have to be careful in choosing locations,” said Dhawan, who was one of the speakers at the business forum.

Another Bollywood filmmaker Sajid Nadiadwala is set to shoot his next film in the Asian country.

“I am planning to shoot my next production venture ‘Baaghi’ in Malaysia,” said the filmmaker, who has given hits like “Kick”, “Heropanti” and “Highway”.

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