Fiji looks to Bollywood to boost its beleaguered economy

Suva: Bollywood is all set to generate millions of dollars for Fiji’s beleaguered economy, as three Indian films are to be shot there over the next year.

Several Bollywood productions have been shot in Mauritius, Britain and Australia in the past, but this is probably the first time that the industry has extended its reach to Fiji, The Telegraph reports.

Florence Swamy, head of the Fiji Audio Visual Commission, said that these Bollywood films would hopefully lead to other valuable film projects being based there.

"We are very excited, we hope this will lead to employment opportunities for Fijians and really boost the local economy," she said.

"Once one Bollywood production has been successful that will also lead to other productions because the industry is small and people will be talking to each other about how easy it is to film here," she added.

However, Brij V Lal, professor of Pacific and Asian History at the Australian National University, said that the productions would only bring short-term gain to the country, which had suffered from an exodus of investors.

"This sort of thing won``t fill the coffers of the state," he said.

Tax rebates and incentives brought in by Fiji’s interim government, which is run by self-appointed Prime Minister Commodore Frank Bainimarama, helped lure Indian director Prem Raj to film Bombay Mumbai, Kia and Let``s Talk Love in the Pacific state of Fiji, the paper said.

Pre-production on Bombay Mumbai has already started and the other films are expected to start shooting from July, and reports suggest that the three films could generate ten million dollars (£6.4m) in revenue for the country.

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