By Daniel Hunter
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson today (Thursday) announced that two new Indian films are to be shot in London in 2013, as he met with top film and TV producers in Mumbai.
The third film in India's hugely successful Housefull franchise - Housefull 3, starring Akshay Kumar - will be entirely filmed in London and the Mayor has also invited the film's producer Sajid Nadiadwala to shoot his directorial debut Kick, starring Salman Khan, in the UK capital. Post-production on both films, which have a combined budget of £35m, will be in London's Soho.
The Mayor, who is on a visit to India to strengthen economic and cultural links with the country, today met with top level Indian filmmakers and producers in the film-making capital Mumbai and urged them to make London their movie set of choice.
The Mayor said: "I'm thrilled that Sajid Nadiadwala has chosen London as the backdrop for not one, but two of his brand new blockbusters. As our recent World Cities Culture Report shows, London and Mumbai are major players on the international stage for creativity and the arts. Filmmaking is massively important to both our cities and we need to build on the momentum that already exists.
"2012 has been another bumper year for movie-making in London and I want to make it as easy as possible to film in the city, whether you want to feature an iconic landmark as a backdrop, take advantage of our second to none post-production facilities, or be amongst the first to use our incredible Olympic Park as a location."
London is the third busiest production city in the world, with studios in and around the capital making up 75 per cent of the UK film industry, and every day an average of 40 crews is out filming on the city streets. London is home to some of the world's best post-production companies, offering award winning, state-of-the-art facilities that are in demand for the world's biggest effects movies. The industry supports almost 117, 500 jobs and contributes over £4.6 billion to the UK economy. The new James Bond movie Skyfall and Ridley Scott's The Counselor were both filmed in the heart of the capital this year, while last weekend iconic Trafalgar Square became the setting for action scenes from All You Need is Kill, Warner Bros Pictures' new film starring Tom Cruise due for release in 2014.
London and India already have a healthy creative relationship, with a steady stream of Indian films being shot in the UK over the last decade. Earlier this month saw the premiere of Jab Tak Hai Jaan, the final film of revered Bollywood director Yash Chopra, who died in October at the age of 80. Starring Shah Rukh Khan, much of the film was shot in London, taking in many city landmarks, with significant assistance from Film London, the capital's film and media agency, to ensure the shoot was as smooth as possible. British filmmakers have also been busy in India over the last few years, not least Danny Boyle who directed the Oscar winning Slumdog Millionaire.
At today's summit with film and television executives, the Mayor outlined the UK's new Creative Sector Tax Relief, which comes into force in 2013 and is aimed at international companies producing TV, animation and games. This will complement the tax relief already available to filmmakers and a film co-production agreement that is in place between India and the UK. The Mayor hopes Indian film-makers and TV producers, who can benefit from the new tax relief, will find working in the capital even more attractive.
Also taking part in today's summit was David Parfitt, the renowned British producer (Parade's End and Shakespeare in Love) and Chair of Film London. As the capital's film and media agency, Film London offers a one-stop shop for film crews wanting to shoot in the city, helping them to gain access to locations, as well as highly skilled crews and cutting edge facilities that are amongst the best in the world. As well as a dedicated online guide for Indian productions filming in capital, Film London also runs a number of successful international business events, including the Production Finance Market, which connects international financiers and producers, and the London UK Film Focus, an export event for British film and sales agents.
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