The Uttarakhand government had laid out the red carpet for filmmakers in the hill state ensuring single window clearance, subsidy and charging no shooting fee. The state had attracted big production houses. But the latest Bollywood release Kedarnath has forced the state government to rethink its friendly approach and put some checks.
Owing to protests from different groups, the screening of Kedarnath has been banned in seven districts of Uttarakhand. In the remaining six districts not a single cinema hall operates.
Uttarakhand tourism minister Satpal Maharaj said, “We can’t ignore public sentiments. Considering the protests over the film, the state government will formulate norms for film shooting in Uttarakhand. We will also ask filmmakers to sign a bond.”
The screening of the Sushant Singh Rajput and debutante Sara Ali Khan starrer film is banned in Dehradun, Haridwar, Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar, Pauri, Tehri and Almora. In the past cinema halls used to operate in Uttarkashi and Chamoli districts (three each), but all of them closed over a decade back. The same is the condition of Rudraprayag and other three districts.
A meeting regarding Kedarnath was held by Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat at his residence on Thursday. The committee headed by Satpal Maharaj submitted its report to the CM. District magistrates were asked to take decisions on their own keeping the ground situation of districts in mind.
The Uttarakhand government indirectly imposed a ban on the movie, through the district magistrates. The Kedarnath film controversy will provide hurdles to filmmakers as they will have to share their scripts and undergo various checks to shoot in the hill state. A major portion of the shoot of Kedarnath was done in Rudraprayag district.
The controversy embarrassed the BJP government in the state assembly on Friday, with a Congress legislator asking the Trivendra Rawat government to apologise to Hindus for hurting their sentiments.