The state government approved the Haryana film policy, which will accord filmmaking the status of an industry, and grant 50 percent of the state's budget to its growth
At a time when regional films from across the country are making a mark not only on their home turf but also in the overseas market, films from Haryana are going unnoticed. Filmmakers in the state are unhappy because of low turnout and less screen space for Haryanvi films, as well as minimal support from the state government.
To change the face of the industry, the Haryana government recently undertook a slew of measures. It approved the Haryana film policy, which will accord filmmaking the status of an industry.
The Haryana film industry can now enjoy benefits available under the Enterprise Promotion Policy of the state.
According to the policy, 50 percent of the state's total budget will be granted to Haryanvi films. In a year, not more than 12 films will be given financial assistance. Also, a film cannot avail more than one financial benefit.
The policy also mentions organizing awards in three categories – Awards of Excellence for Haryanvi Films; Best film promoting Haryana as a destination; and special acknowledgment for technical excellence in Haryanvi filmmaking.
Besides, the policy has a provision of safety and security to filmmakers and their crew during shoots. The policy also includes organizing film festivals and classifying films under seven categories – Haryanvi film, non-Haryanvi film, international film, mega project, short film, documentary film or debut film and incentives will be provided on credit point system.
The film policy is a welcome change for the film industry in Haryana. Apart from commercial failures, the industry has been also pulled down due to sub-standard content. This has resulted in Haryanvi films getting less or no critical appreciation. Very few films have been able to win accolades like the 2000 release Laado and the 2015 release Pagdi, which also won a National Award.
One of the biggest challenges for Haryanvi films is a theatrical release. Industry players have been urging the government to make it mandatory for theatres to play at least one film made in Haryana on their screens.
Recently, West Bengal made it mandatory for cinema halls and multiplexes to screen Bengali films for a minimum of 120 days in a year during prime time.
Haryanvi films are largely based on redundant themes, a problem that the audiences also encounter with the music in Haryanvi films.
In addition, language is a barrier for the film industry in Haryana. People in the state speak in many dialects which makes it difficult for filmmakers to impress a large audience.
There is also the dominance of Bollywood films which not only eclipse Haryanvi films in theatres but also outnumber them.
Another hurdle for the industry is the acute dearth of shooting studios in the state. There has been a demand by members of the industry for a 'film city' where facilities for constructing labs, dubbing, recording and editing studios, among others are available.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar recently announced that a 'film city' will be developed in the State in public-private-partnership mode so that the people associated with the world of cinema can operate from a single place.
While the industry has not seen many achievements over the years, the release of the 1984 drama Chandrawal did bring about a change. Not only did the film manage to keep the cash registers ringing, it also got the women to step out of their house to watch a film.
The industry needs to replicate Chandrawal’s success for a better and brighter future.The Haryana film industry may grow with the infrastructural and the financial support the government is providing now. However, for the industry to revive and receive the recognition that it longs for, it needs more than that – compelling storylines and quality content that will strike a chord with the audience and keep them engaged.