Editorial: Bolly good idea to woo Indian film-makers

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The benefits to this country of overseas film-makers shooting here is usually exaggerated.

The economic boost is not enough to justify the incentives that lured them to New Zealand.

Such will almost certainly be the case with the extravagant tax breaks granted to Warner Bros after they threatened to shift the filming of The Hobbit elsewhere. Yet now, John Key is at it again, throwing the country open to Bollywood in the hope of gaining film revenue and jobs, as well as more tourists.

At least this time, the potential benefits are imposing. One statistic stands out: the number of movies shot in India is about three times that produced by the American industry.

Already, a number of Bollywood films have featured New Zealand's outstanding scenery. There is clearly scope for a significant increase as India looks increasingly outwards.

There is also good cause to believe in a tourism spin-off. More than 30,000 Indians visited New Zealand over the past year, double the number of 2004.

Bollywood films have played a part in this jump. As much was confirmed by the noticeable increase after last year's release of a blockbuster, I Hate Luv Storys, which was partly shot here.

On that basis, Bollywood should not be the only winner from the film co-production agreement signed by John Key in Delhi.

Its film-makers will be on the same footing as national film-makers when they are in this country. That sort of welcome mat makes more sense than the largesse extended to Hollywood.

- NZ Herald

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