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Festival to boost Darjeeling for films
- Union ministry to organise event, writes to GTA for plan

Darjeeling, Nov. 2: The information and broadcasting ministry has written to the GTA saying it wants to organise a film festival and workshop with directors and producers in Darjeeling to promote the hill town as a shooting location.

The event is likely to be held in February next year.

Earlier this year, the district administration had spoken to the Union ministry about promoting Darjeeling as a shooting location.

Recently, Saumitra Mohan, the principal secretary of the GTA, received a letter from Indrani Bose, deputy director (programmes), directorate of film festivals.

The letter says: “A centenary film festival along with a workshop on the subject “Queen of the Hills — a filming destination for all seasons” to promote Darjeeling as a filming destination for Indian and foreign films can be organised tentatively in February 2013.”

Sources said the film festival would be held to mark 100 years of Hindi cinema.

The letter also said: “The directorate will provide films for screening and air fares for film personalities to attend the festival and workshop. Accommodation, hospitality and other logistic may be provided by the state government. Expenses for publicity and promotion of the festival will be shared.”

The directorate of film festivals has asked the GTA to prepare a proposal for the event.

Among the latest films to be shot in Darjeeling was Barfi! starring Ranbir Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra.

Binay Tamang, an executive member of the GTA, said: “We are looking at attracting at least 20-25 shooting crews a year. We will extend all possible help to the Union ministry.”

He added: “A (Hindi) film named Yaarana, which will be directed by Dibya Kumar and has Gulshan Grover, will be shot at St Joseph’s School, Tiger hill and Darjeeling Gymkhana Club from November 7. They (the production house) had sought permission to shoot in the GTA area and we have given them the nod.”

He added that a Tamil production house was in touch with the GTA to seek permission to shoot in mid-December. “They plan to shoot for 10-15 days.”

Darjeeling has attracted filmmakers since 1954 and Tamang said the GTA had started a Rs 12 lakh project to put up signages in the locations where films have been shot earlier.